NASA Project Management and Systems Engineering Handbook

Keywords PM project management SE systems engineering handbook


Project management is the function of planning, overseeing, and directing the numerous activities required to successfully achieve the requirements, goals, and objectives of NASA’s customers. Two types of projects managed at MSFC are space flight system projects that may vary from a major stage of a launch vehicle to a small experiment to be flown aboard the National Space Transportation System (NSTS) or housed on the International Space Station (ISS), and technology development projects that develop a particular technology or advance a particular technology to enable future capabilities. Although the scope, complexity, cost, development processes, and specific project management tasks for projects will vary, the basic structure of the project life cycle for the various types of projects and the project management tasks are basically the same. System engineering is the function that systematically considers all aspects of a project in making design choices and is a continuous, iterative process with a built-in feedback mechanism that is used throughout a project’s life cycle to arrive at the best system architecture and design possible. The success of complex space vehicles and space vehicle projects is highly dependent upon the system engineering process being properly exercised at all levels of design and management.

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1.1 Scope

This handbook provides a description of the basic processes and general guidance for managing and implementing the life cycle of all projects managed at Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) and executing the system engineering processes employed at MSFC. Its intended use is for projects that provide aerospace products, technologies, data, and operational services (aeronautics, space, and ground). It also serves as an information source for projects such as non-flight infrastructure, Construction of Facilities (CofF), and Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR), and also for research and analysis projects. Several topics will be repeated throughout the handbook to emphasize their continued importance during the life cycle of the project.

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