This page no longer updated from 31 October 2001. Latest version can be found at Soviet Space Quality Assurance

Spacecraft Quality Assurance

The 16 February 1961 decree 'On measures to improve military technology' laid the basis for institution of quality control by the military to improve the reliability of space systems. Prior to this the quality of space systems was assured primarily through the efforts of the Chief Designers - Korolev personally supervised shop work for the first Sputniks and cherry-picked the best components for the Vostok manned spacecraft.

Position RK-75 in 1975 set forth new standards of reliability and addressed standardisation issues. This addressed the problems that plagued numerous important satellites and piloted craft of the 1960ís (Zenit-2, -4, etc). From the beginning of the 1970's, in response to resolution of the VPK Military-Industrial Commission, lessons from the RVSN missile forces and VMF naval forces in their missile programs were applied to improve space systems. This work was carried out by TsNIIMASH, 4 NII and 50 TsNII KS.

The steering committee Position RK-75 was founded on 1 July 1975, including Afanasyev, Karass, and Keldysh. RK-75 abolished the positions Zenit-2 and Zenit-4 confirmed by the VPK in 1965 and Position P and PRKK confirmed in 1969. Position 75 was authorised to consider:

This work continued until 1988 when Position 88 was formed. The group issued OTT-75 (Common Technical Specification), which replaced OTT-70. NA-76 revised the organisation of the AN Academy of Sciences, the MO Ministry of Defence, the construction bureaux, and TsNIIMASH. Standard documents were promulgated for environmental and electromagnetic specifications for equipment. Specifications for satellites were Moroz-2 (1962), Moroz-3 (1968), and Moroz-5 (1976). These set forth reliability factors and trials requirements. By 1976 satellites were required to have a three to five year operational life. The groups sponsored development work on statistical reliability methods.

Launch Vehicle Reliability

At the beginning of the 1970's Soviet launch vehicle reliability was 89.4% compared to 84.3% in the USA. During the 1970's, intensive work improved booster reliability to 92.4% in the USSR versus 91.5% in the USA. There were many reasons for failures: design defects, development problems, materials used, assembly, etc. All had to be tackled. However technical politics blocked many improvements.

The first QA System was the Zero Defect Completion System, BIP, and was developed in 1953 to 1955 at Saratov for IRBM development. In 1957-1958 the KANARSPI "Quality, Reliability, Resources in First Article' system was developed at Gorkiy and applied in Moscow, Yaroslavl, Kasmatorsk, Tashkent, and Lvov. An August 1975 decree established new complex quality assurance systems, and these were implemented by the end of 1975 by the MO. The system was developed by the NII of Technology for Factories and TsNIIMASH for application to design bureaux and research institutes. This was the KSYKP - Quality Controls for Complex Problems, which addressed quality assurance throughout the life cycle of the end product.

The standard OST 92-0200-72 Quality Assurance System (SOBT) covered development and production phases. This was part of SMPKT - System for Increased Quality Assurance.

From 1968 standardisation of development documentation according to state standards was imposed. PN-76 was the sub-unit for reliability engineering. By 1976 launch vehicle reliability was 95.1% and space systems had high levels of availability, resulting in reduced spares and reserve satellites.

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Last update 12 March 2001.
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© Mark Wade, 2001 .