Aerospace Performs Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Certification for Flight Readiness (CoFR)

Corporate Staff
posted November 30, 2012


The MSL is the next-generation Mars rover. The spacecraft was launched Nov. 26, 2011, and is scheduled to arrive at Mars in August 2012. Researchers will use the rover’s 10 science instruments during the following two years to investigate whether the landing area has ever offered environmental conditions favorable for microbial life. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) manages the Mars Science Laboratory Project for the NASA Science Mission Directorate. Launch management for the mission is the responsibility of NASA’s Launch Services Program at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. The MSL carries a host of geochemistry instruments that will enable better understanding of the history and processes that shaped the surface of Mars.

Value Added:

Aerospace completed the planning for the MSL CoFR process, and received JPL approval to proceed with implementation of the plan. CoFR, which is similar to Aerospace’s own launch mission assurance process, is a multitiered approach to certifying that institutional systems engineering and mission assurance processes were adequately followed, that all risks have been identified and correctly dispositioned, and that the flight system is ready for launch. As part of the CoFR process, Aerospace completed a number of prerequisite systems engineering products, including an audit of the system and subsystem requirement suites, finalization of the incompressible test list, exceptions to flight project practices and design principles, and finalization of the system verification plan. The CoFR plan and the completed products were successfully presented to members of the project and JPL Executive Council, including managers of Engineering and Science Directorate, Mission Assurance Directorate, Mars Program Office, Office of Safety and Mission Success, and Office of the Chief Engineer.