Spacecraft Quality Assurance, Integration & Testing

Course length:



From $1,490.00

Course dates

  • Mar 23 2021

    2 days, 08:30 AM EDT - 04:30 PM EDT
    • $1,590.00 excl.
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Quality assurance, reliability, and testing are critical elements in low-cost space missions. The selection of lower cost parts and the most effective use of redundancy require careful tradeoff analysis when designing new space missions. Designing for low cost and allowing prudent risk are new ways of doing business in today’s cost-conscious environment. This course uses case studies and examples from recent space missions to pinpoint the key issues and tradeoffs in design, reviews, quality assurance, and testing of spacecraft. Lessons learned from past successes and failures are discussed and trends for future missions are highlighted.

What You Will Learn:

  • Why reliable design is so important and techniques for achieving it.
  • Dealing with today’s issues of parts availability, radiation hardness, software reliability, process control, and human error.
  • High-payoff software documentation
  • Modern, efficient integration and test practices.

Course Outline:

  1. Spacecraft Systems Reliability and Assessment — Quality, reliability, and confidence levels. Reliability block diagrams and proper use of reliabilityRedundancy pro’s and con’s. Environmental stresses and derating.
  2. Quality Assurance and Component Selection — Screening and qualification testing. Accelerated testing. Using plastic parts (PEMs) reliably.
  3. Radiation and Survivability — The space radiation environment. Total dose. Stopping power. MOS response. Annealing and super-recovery. Displacement damage.
  4. Single Event Effects — Transient upset, latch-up, and burn-out. Critical charge. Testing for single event effects. Upset rates. Shielding and other mitigation techniques.
  5. ISO 9000 — Process control through ISO 9001 and AS9100.
  6. Code walkthroughs. Best practices for space hardware and software.
  7. Software Quality Assurance and Testing — The magnitude of the software QA problem. Characteristics of good software process. Software testing and when is it finished?
  8. The Role of the I&T Engineer — Why I&T planning must be started early.
  9. Integrating I&T into electrical, thermal, and mechanical designs — Coupling I&T to mission operations.
  10. Ground Support Systems — Electrical and mechanical ground support equipment (GSE). I&T facilities. Clean rooms. Environmental test facilities.
  11. Test Planning and Test Flow — Which tests are worthwhile? Which ones aren’t? What is the right order to perform tests? Test Plans and other important documents.
  12. Spacecraft Level Testing — Ground station compatibility testing and other special tests.
  13. Launch Site Operations — Launch vehicle operations. Safety. Dress rehearsals. The Launch Readiness Review.
  14. Human Error — What we can learn from the airline industry.
  15. Case Studies — NEAR, Ariane 5, Mid-course Space Experiment (MSX).


  • Eric Hoffman retired after 40 years of space experience, including 19 years as the Chief Engineer of the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory Space Department, which has designed and built 64 spacecraft and nearly 200 instruments. His experience includes systems engineering, design integrity, performance assurance, and test standards. He has led many of APL’s system and spacecraft conceptual designs and co-authored APL’s quality assurance plans. He is an Associate Fellow of the AIAA and coauthor of Fundamentals of Space Systems.

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SCHEDULING: If this course is not on the current schedule of open enrollment courses and you are interested in attending this or another course as an open enrollment, please contact us at (410)956-8805 or Please indicate the course name, number of students who wish to participate. and a preferred time frame. ATI typically schedules open enrollment courses with a 3-5 month lead-time. To express your interest in an open enrollment course not on our current schedule, please email us at

For on-site pricing, you can use the request an on-site quote form, call us at (410)956-8805, or email us at

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