Skip to content

The KhSC Quality Initiatives: 2009 Fall Update

Date of News Item: 
September 13, 2009

The vertical integration of Proton key suppliers under KhSC had prompted efforts to consolidate the various Quality Management Systems (QMS) into the KhSC QMS. These efforts have been broadened in scope and accelerated as a consequence of the latest Proton launch failures. A new position of Deputy Director General for Quality Assurance was created and a extensive, top-down review of the QMS was conducted and resulted in 46 different Quality Initiatives being defined and funded, involving not only quality but also design and production:

•16 immediate Initiatives were defined, implemented and completed prior to the Inmarsat-4 F3 Return-To-Flight mission (RTF). These initiatives reviewed the entire KhSC approach to quality, from design, through manufacturing, and included all launch site facilities and operations. ILS and the Inmarsat Customer were comprehensively briefed before they jointly granted authorization to conduct the successful Inmarsat-4 F3 launch campaign based on the satisfactory completion of these initiatives.

•22 short-term Initiatives complemented the above RTF Initiatives and have for the most part now been completed. The remaining open short term initiatives are on schedule and are due to be completed in 2009.

•8 medium- to long-term initiatives were defined to make sure the launch system quality would continue to improve. These initiatives are in work and are due to be completed in the 4th Quarter 2009.

All of the immediate and most of the short-term initiatives have been completed. They included:

•A series of Audits and Reviews
-Using the Inmarsat-4 F3 launch vehicle as the audit article, Russian independent auditors carried out an extensive examination of the QMS at KhSC and Khimmash (Federal Certification Center for Space Technology) and of the launch vehicle processing at the launch site (Federal Space Center).
-Additional internal reviews of the Proton and Breeze M components, manufacturing processes and key parameters
-Launch site readiness review
-Audit of the Breeze M main engine test facilities
-Expanded vendor audit plan; the audit plan has been defined and implementation is under way with completion expected by the end of the 2009.
-Review of contamination control processes and additional training and certification of the work force.
-Comprehensive analysis of critical operations related to the key performance parameters of the Proton and Breeze M and of the Breeze M main engine.

•Implementation of a single QMS throughout the KhSC group: the first Board was convened in June 2008.

•Increase involvement of the KhSC design bureau in production and testing: the Chief Designer actually supervised the qualification testing mentioned below and organizational changes were completed at the end of 2008 to formalize the Chief designer involvement in launch vehicle production critical operations.

•Completion of the qualification testing to validate the modified engine design and the rework that was carried out on the previously accepted (including test firing) engines (Inmarsat-4 F3, Nimiq 4 and Astra 1M); the Gas conduit thickness was monitored and controlled during all engine testing.

•A complete reevaluation of the Breeze M engine reliability was conducted. The lifetime margin of the engine has more than doubled.

•Creation of a single Quality database: the architecture of the data bank has been defined and its full implementation is expected in the fall of 2009.

•General overhaul of Quality Control tools is under way and is expected to be completed by the summer of 2009.

In spite of the intense scrutiny of the Inmarsat launcher by the independent auditors and of the extent of the remainder of the above reviews and activities, no major escapement was identified in the KhSC and Khimmash QMS. All of the minor findings have been reviewed and corrected.

The medium-long term initiatives will ensure the current drive towards an improved QMS is sustained over the long term. They include:

•A number of certifications or recertifications:
-Recertification of the KhSC QMS to the Russian Federal standard and to the ISO 9001-2008 standard (to be completed by the end of 2009).
-Accreditation of the KhSC metrological services by the Federal Agency for Technical Regulation and Metrology (to be completed by the end of 2009).
-Certification and/or upgrading of the manufacturing processes of critical elements. An independent audit is currently under way; Activities will continue through the end of 2009.

•Improvements to Quality Control:
-Development of methodology to make expanded use of statistical data in validating compliance to requirements (to be completed by the end of 2009)
-Use of state-of-the-art methods and techniques for Quality Control (to be completed in the fall of 2009)
-Verification of key inspection points and associated methods (continuous activity since July 2008)

ILS and KhSC are committed to carrying through this broad undertaking to its completion and to inform customers along the way as progress is made. To that end, ILS/KhSC provide the following expanded insight into Proton M Breeze M Quality:

•Increased scope of PDR and CDR Quality presentations: Standardized PDR/CDR Quality presentations templates and contents have been developed. PDR presentations are focused on QMS processes and procedures, while CDR presentations will focus on the Quality status of mission specific Proton M Breeze M hardware.

•Quarterly Quality Reports: In conjunction with internal ILS/KhSC monthly production and quality reviews, ILS produces quarterly quality reports that are submitted to Customers and Insurance underwriters. This provides insight into hardware status and trends. The first quarterly report was provided in the 4th Quarter 2008.

•Expanded Launch Vehicle Quality Review (LVQR). Prior to the start of the launch campaign, ILS, KhSC and the Customer review the entire Quality Package for the Mission Specific LV hardware. ILS and KhSC have defined the standardized agenda and have created the chart templates. The resulting LVQR presentation is a comprehensive package reviewing the KhSC Quality processes and procedures, all first flight items and their qualification program, LV configuration, and all manufacturing anomalies/non-conformances.

Connect with ILS

Facebook Twitter YouTube Linkedin