More space projects using ESA non-conformance tracking tool

NCTS screenshot
NCTS screenshot
9 July 2009

Currently applied to 11 major ESA projects, the ESA Nonconformance Tracking System (NCTS) has more than 1,300 ESA and industrial users who have logged more than 3,200 separate nonconformances to date.

NCTS was first released in 2005 under ESA contract by UK-based Sapienza Consulting as a user-friendly nonconformance reporting system that replaced existing paper-based records and increased the visibility of nonconformances among all partners of a given project. Since then, it has continued to evolve with regular major (8) and minor (10) releases.

"NCTS is developed, supported and promoted by ESA as the corporate tool for nonconformances management as it is compliant with relevant ECSS standards, in particular ECSS-Q-ST-10-09C." explains Raffaele Campagnuolo, NCTS Release Manager. "Once a project has decided on its use, all ESA suppliers are requested to interface their own internal reporting system with the NCTS tool. Of course, they may decide to take advantage of the NCTS also for internal use”.

Accessible through a secure web-based login, the tool incorporates an XML interface so companies can import or export records from their internal nonconformance systems. Reports can also be downloaded as PDF files, while records can also be easily bulk created using a spreadsheet format, increasing its ease of use for smaller firms in particular.

As users log on to the system, NCTS determines which part of a project's 'product tree' they are involved with, and therefore which other users require access to their report data. Nonconformance reviews involving these users can then be performed online through NCTS, resulting in the disposition of the nonconforming item (repair, rework, use-as-is etc.) and assignment of follow-up actions.

July marks the start of development on the next NCTS release, R2.8, with improved search, traceability and real-time collaboration functions. A periodic newsletter keeps users informed on NCTS technical development as well as future planned activities, such as ESA's Directorate Technical and Quality Management Directorate adopting NCTS on an operational basis later this year.

Galileo, CryoSat-2 and Bepi-Colombo are among major projects already employing the software. High-profile missions set to use NCTS in future include the Sentinel and Proba series and the ExoMars rover.

Contact: Raffaele.Campagnuolo @ esa.int

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