The Design and Data Management System (DDMS) was developed to automate the NASA Engineering Order (EO) and Engineering Change Request (ECR) processes at the Propulsion Test Facilities at Stennis Space Center for efficient and effective Configuration Management (CM). Prior to the development of DDMS, the CM system was a manual, paper-based system that required an EO or ECR submitter to walk the changes through the acceptance process to obtain necessary approval signatures. This approval process could take up to two weeks, and was subject to a variety of human errors. The process also requires that the CM office make copies and distribute them to the Configuration Control Board members for review prior to meetings. At any point, there was a potential for an error or loss of the change records, meaning the configuration of record was not accurate.

The new Web-based DDMS eliminates unnecessary copies, reduces the time needed to distribute the paperwork, reduces time to gain the necessary signatures, and prevents the variety of errors inherent in the previous manual system. After implementation of the DDMS, all EOs and ECRs can be automatically checked prior to submittal to ensure that the documentation is complete and accurate. Much of the configuration information can be documented in the DDMS through pull-down forms to ensure consistent entries by the engineers and technicians in the field.

The software also can electronically route the documents through the signature process to obtain the necessary approvals needed for work authorization. The workflow of the system allows for backups and timestamps that determine the correct routing and completion of all required authorizations in a more timely manner, as well as assuring the quality and accuracy of the configuration documents.

This program was written by Elizabeth Messer and Brad Messer of Stennis Space Center, Judy Carter of Computer Sciences Corp., Todd Singletary of Lockheed Martin, Colby Albasini of SAITECH, and Tammy Smith of ERC Incorporated.

Inquiries concerning rights for the commercial use of this invention should be addressed to the Intellectual Property Manager at Stennis Space Center (228) 688-1929. Refer to SSC-00208-1, volume and number of this NASA Tech Briefs issue, and the page number.


NASA Tech Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the December, 2007 issue of NASA Tech Briefs Magazine.

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