Joint Team of NASDA Contractors and Vendors Established to Check the Manufacturing Process

The H-IIA Launch Vehicle No.1 experienced significant problems in its quality stemming from the issue of foreign objects debris (FOD) and contaminations while it was in the factory and during the launch operations.

The National Space Development Agency of Japan (NASDA) has set three anti-contaminant slogans to prevent such contamination: "don’t generate, don’t bring in, and don’t leave." It also established a team with contractors and vendors to review the each steps of manufacturing process in order to uncover the potential problems and suggestions that could be applied toward the later vehicles to be launched. The team reviewed the process from both technical and management perspectives. In order to inform about the finding and recommendations of the review, and to increase the motivation towards the prevention of contamination and FOD, NASDA Safety and Reliability Department and the H-IIA Project Team held "Spacecraft Contamination and FOD Workshop" at NASDA Headquarters on March 28, 2002.

Very Fruitful Workshop with Lively Exchange of Views

The workshop was held as a response to the suggestion from the second H-IIA Development Completion Review, which was to confirm the vehicle readiness for shipment to the launch site. The review had pointed out the necessity for improving knowledge and motivation towards the contamination issue. As a part of the effort, NASDA held a workshop and invited the contractors and the vendors to participate. Approximately 110 people, including engineers and quality assurance personnel in NASDA and 35 vendors and contractors, participated the workshop and actively exchanged the information and the opinions. NASDA presented "Result of H-IIA Contamination and FOD Issue Review Team", and the rocket manufacturer presented "Improvement made in the H-IIA Contamination and FOD Issue", "Quality Assurance Problems Related to the Contamination and FOD, and their Back Ground Cause", "Manufacturer’s Activities to Achieve the Goal of Three Anti-Contaminant Slogan", and "Report of a Contamination Related issue."

A satellite systems manufacturer also presented a case study of the preventive measures taken on satellite avionics in the presentation titled "Contamination Prevention for Spacecraft Electronics." They also presented he proactive measures taken in non-space fields (electric power facility).

A survey compiled after the workshop indicated that many participants felt the workshop was a useful opportunity to better understand the problems and activities currently being implemented to tackle practical problems in both space and non-space fields.

  • A scrap of the filler wire (15 mm long and 0.5 mm diameter.) used for welding was discovered in the outlet port of the LOX tank when the LOX feed pipe was attached to the LOX tank.

  • During the checking of the valve operations after a propellant filling test, a malfunction was detected in the pressure control valve of the second LH2 tank. The failure was caused by particles of silicide leaking from the filter attached to the valve and affecting opening and closing of the valve.