Mission Assurance

Successfully executing space missions remains a high-risk, unforgiving venture and the impact of these missions only continues to grow in criticality, scope, expense, and visibility. Such highly complex undertakings that are now so central to the nation’s security require a disciplined approach that will assure their success, i.e., mission assurance.

The Delta IV Heavy carrying NROL-32 was launched Nov. 21, 2010, from Cape Canaveral.

The Delta IV Heavy carrying NROL-32 was launched Nov. 21, 2010, from Cape Canaveral. Image courtesy of ULA.

What is Mission Assurance?

Mission assurance is the disciplined application of proven scientific, engineering, quality, and program management principles toward the goal of achieving mission success. It follows a general systems engineering framework and uses risk management and independent assessment as cornerstones throughout the program life cycle.

The Aerospace Corporation maintains a cadre of space subject matter experts and program management professionals skilled in its smart application for national security space mission assurance. To coordinate this across the corporation, the Corporate Chief Engineering Office (CCEO) was established in 2008 and is charged with delivering a disciplined, practical, and accountable approach to mission assurance for all Aerospace customers by developing, codifying, and promulgating common technical best practices and tools. CCEO collaborates closely with the Space and Missile Systems Center and National Reconnaissance Office customers and is supported in these endeavors by the Engineering and Technology Group, program offices, and Aerospace counterparts to government systems engineering organizations.

As Aerospace’s “one voice” on corporate positions related to mission assurance, CCEO:

  • Maintains a common mission assurance technical baseline of best practices for space system acquisition, development, operations, and sustainment.
  • Coordinates mission assurance collaborative activities across the U.S. space enterprise, including internally to Aerospace, among government customers, and within industry and academia.
  • Maintains a corporate quality-management system.
  • Fosters a common approach to mission assurance as well as the establishment of supporting guidance to respond to individual programs’ risk posture and tailoring needs.
  • Facilitates assessments of enterprise technical program execution and readiness.