Retain engineering rights to all designs, analyses, procedures, and test results. While this seems to be common sense, not retaining the engineering rights is a significant and growing problem in the industry.
Description of Driving Event
On a number of different projects, NASA personnel were denied access to designs for NASA spacecraft. This made a review of the adequacy of the design and the resolution of problems either more difficult or impossible. In the instances where access was finally granted, significant design flaws were observed.
A description of a problem in flight is given from the reference below:
The shortcoming with respect to Doppler did not surface during any of the ESA, NASA or independent reviews performed during the project life cycle. On Huygens the normal cycle of project reviews was followed and included NASA/JPL as well as ESA personnel on the review teams. In addition, two independent reviews were carried out in which the reviewers had face-to-face interviews with engineers across the project. The review process on Huygens was better than normal for ESA projects, but still the effect of Doppler shift on the subcarrier and bit data rate was missed. However, not all of the design information on the receiver was made available to NASA/JPL reviewers before the CDR. ESA and Alenia had an agreement that this design information could be viewed at Alenia's premises, but as NASA/JPL had no opportunity to review the restricted documents at Alenia, they could only submit Review Item Discrepancy (RIDS) reports on the documentation sent to them.
With one of the recommendations:
All issues relating to proprietary data should have been resolved at the time of signature of the contract.
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Last Revised: February 03, 2010
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