QA Software testing at NASA: When the stakes are high
11 years ago yesterday to the day, the General Assembly declared April 12th as the International Day of Human Space Flight. With that day of celebration approaching, here we look at QA software testing at NASA.
On April 12th 1961, the Soviet Yuri Gagarin completed the first human space flight. This paved the way for space exploration, leading to the first man on the moon and more. eTestware’s software testing experts work across a wide range of sectors, often with some pretty high stakes. The stakes do not come much higher than when testing software designed to maintain life. So then, with that in mind and in light of this impending celebration, let’s take a brief look at testing at NASA.
NASA’s unique testing requirements
There are many departments within NASA that deal with testing and QA. One of these is the Office of Safety and Mission Assurance (OSMA). In their own words, OSMA “assures the safety and enhances the success of all NASA activities.”
There are then also individuals who support OSMA. They are responsible for software development and mission hardware. This article from Functionize.com actually features a Q&A with such individuals. The basis for our own piece, it makes for a very interesting read.
What makes NASA’s requirements unique is the fact that much of the mission software is mission-critical. A lot of the time it is also safety-critical. The challenge then, when faced with the potential repercussions of an error, becomes that much bigger.
Testers at NASA must carry out their work with this added pressure. As part of theICEway, eTestware has delivered software testing for clients in healthcare. There too lies additional pressure from a psychological perspective. Psychology and testing is something one of our own testers covered in a blog from January 2021.
On top of all this, the processes involved with QA software testing at NASA remain largely the same as with other software testing projects. That means the testers still need to pay attention to all initial requirements when preparing test scenarios. They must correctly execute usability tests and apply keen attention-to-detail to then analyse the results. Reports need to be created and communicated back to all interested parties. Quite a lot to keep on top of, then!