SLS Flight Software Safety Issues at MSFC (Update)

Keith's 31 October update: NASA MSFC Internal Memo: Key Personnel Announcement -Teresa Washington is retiring, NASA MSFC

"Upon the upcoming retirement of Teresa Washington, I am pleased to announce the appointment of Marcus Lea to the Senior Executive Service (SES) position of Director, Office of Human Capital (OHC). As OHC Director, Mr. Lea will be responsible for the entire scope of the Center's workforce strategy and planning, organization and leadership development, academic affairs, training and incentives, federal labor relations, and employee services and operations."

SLS Flight Software Safety Issues at MSFC (Update), earlier post

Keith's 21 October update: According to sources an internal assessment of SLS software safety activities at QD34 has been conducted at NASA MSFC. The main outcome is an admission that communication between NASA and its safety contractor - and within NASA itself - was not happening. Upper management had no idea what their employees were actually doing - or not doing. In some cases contractor employees were told by NASA not to work on things that they were supposed to be working on. The assessment also found that the use of contractor employees by NASA for what amounts to personal services activities has gotten out of control. As a result of this assessment reassignment of NASA civil servants is being planned. Also, as a direct result of this mess, the current support contractor is likely to be eliminated from future contract consideration.

Keith's 17 October update: Last Friday a safety advisory team visited NASA MSFC to talk about ongoing SLS software safety issues at QD34. NASA MSFC management continues to try and convince people that things are not as bad as have been reported - but the facts speak for themselves. In addition, the way that NASA MSFC civil servants have been treating contractor employees who raise issues continues to be a concern.

Keith's 14 October update: Recently all NASA SM&A QD34 employees had to take a breathalyzer test - however no drug test was administered (at least not yet). As for checking for software problems, the primary way that NASA MSFC is verifying SLS flight software is by CSCI execution time. This approach is something like verifying a word processing program on your PC works based upon how long it takes to open. Many employees feel that this is a useless test that is designed *not* to find any problems. Apparently the "test what we fly and fly what we test" approach is not being followed at MSFC.

Reducing Risk is Lifelong Pursuit for New NASA Marshall Center Safety Chief, NASA MSFC

"[Rick] Burt was previously chief safety and mission assurance officer for SLS, the massive rocket that will take humans on exploration missions farther into deep space than ever before, and a journey to Mars. In his new assignment he is responsible for safety, reliability and quality engineering for the programs and activities across the entire Marshall Center."

Keith's 13 October update: Senior MSFC management seems to feel that this whole SLS safety/software issue has gone away since no one has been talking about it publicly. That's not the impression I get from talking to people at NASA Headquarters since they remain very concerned. What will be interesting is seeing how SLS program management explains these problems and the 8% risk of SLS launch failure that the program accepts when it comes time to brief members of the new Administration's transition team.

Keith's 29 September update: Sources report that a substantial portion of the contractor staff working for the SLS safety contractor at NASA MSFC QD34 want out and are asking for reassignment to other programs. Many are openly looking for new jobs elsewhere. The prime contractor has been told by NASA MSFC management that if anyone leaves SLS safety support without permission or by other than NASA-directed termination that the incumbent contractor risks not receiving consideration during the contract re-competition next year. SLS safety risks under development are being deleted. People are scared to come forward with issues. SLS management was at Michoud and Stennis for an AOA yesterday and today. This was reportedly a topic for discussion.

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This page contains a single entry by Keith Cowing published on October 31, 2016 11:08 AM.

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