NASA Lessons Learned: Space Shuttle Program/Logistics/Cannibalization

Status Report From: NASA Public Lessons Learned System (PLLS) Database
Posted: Wednesday, October 1, 2003

PLLS Database Entry: 1074

Lesson Info

  • Lesson Number: 1074
  • Lesson Date: 01-feb-1998
  • Submitting Organization: HQ
  • Submitted by: David M. Lengyel


Space Shuttle Program/Logistics/Cannibalization

Description of Driving Event:

Increased Cannibalization Trends

Lesson(s) Learned:

As reported last year, long-term projections are still suggesting increasing cannibalization rates, increasing component repair turnaround times, and loss of repair capability for the Space Shuttle logistics programs. If the present trend is not arrested, support difficulties may arise in the next 3 or 4 years.


NASA and USA should reexamine and take action to reverse the more worrying trends highlighted by the statistical trend data.

Evidence of Recurrence Control Effectiveness:

The Space Shuttle Program has recognized the concerns for long-term supportability and is proactively pursuing improvements. Cannibalizations continue to be closely monitored and are well within limits. There have been several concerns during this past year (seals and cryo heater controllers) that are requiring the adjustment of sparing levels. The Logistics organization is aggressively pursuing a solution to specific problems as well as pursuing innovations to keep the rate below the standard.

As mentioned in the response to Finding #9, the NSLD backlog is now decreasing as a result of USA action. This should ultimately reduce the repair turn around time for hardware although short-term increases can be expected. Other initiatives such as the replacement of unserviceable test equipment at vendors are also in progress.

Logistics and Engineering are developing common tools to integrate upgrade actions, resolve supportability issues, and mitigate the loss of repair capability. The Problem Resolution Teams have increased the interfaces with Logistics, Engineering, and management to ensure a proactive and integrated effort in identifying problem areas and identifying solutions. Numerous initiatives are under way.

Finally, NASA has funded through Space Shuttle upgrades the prototyping of a new expert logistics system which shows promise in ranking issues according to severity. This data might then be used to assure that limited funding available is used as economically and wisely as possible in order to minimize risk in the most vulnerable areas.

Applicable NASA Enterprise(s):

  • Human Exploration & Development of Space

Applicable Crosscutting Process(es):

  • Manage Strategically
  • Provide Aerospace Products & Capabilities: Implementation

Additional Key Phrases:

  • Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel
  • Logistics
  • Parts, Materials, & Processes
  • Policy & Planning
  • Risk Management/Assessment
  • Safety & Mission Assurance

Approval Info:

  • Approval Date: 07-jan-2002
  • Approval Name: Bill Loewy
  • Approval Organization: HQ
  • Approval Phone Number: 202-358-0528

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