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inactive, Most Current
Publication Date: 24 August 2017
Status: inactive
Page Count: 75


The purpose of this Handbook is to provide information on product data and life-cycle management (PDLM) and general guidance to adapt the methods needed to implement the requirements in NPR 7120.9, NASA Product Data and Life-Cycle Management (PDLM) for Flight Programs and Projects. This Handbook also addresses elements to consider when developing the PDLM Plan (refer to the template in NPR 7120.9, Appendix D) so that enablers and users of the product are better equipped to recognize lessons learned and avoid pitfalls that might otherwise be experienced.

The creation, management, and usage of product-related data across a cradle-to-grave life cycle are daily events at NASA. The integration and sharing of electronic product data among Centers, across programs/projects, and with primes and subcontractors have become mission critical. Multi-disciplinary teams (such as systems engineering, product engineering, manufacturing, purchasing, etc.), as well as remote participants (e.g., local or globally disbursed suppliers, subcontractors, etc.), need quick access to (1) the product data on which they are working, and (2) the associated information that better defines product performance, functionality, form, and fit. The amount, type, and fidelity of the data generated and requiring storage increase over the program/project life cycle. The scale and complexity of the storage and retrieval system have to respond to meet the challenges as shown in figure 1, Data over the Program/Project Life Cycle (Sample Only-Not All Inclusive). The linkage between first managing product data at the Center (or authoring stage) during the key activities of design engineering and manufacturing before extending its communication and sharing across the longer life cycle has led to the adoption of the phrase "product data and life-cycle management," or PDLM, as shorthand for the more cumbersome product data management/product life-cycle management (PDM/PLM) label. (Definitions of PDM and PLM in Section 3.2 explain these terms individually.) PDLM includes configuration management (CM), requirements management, risk management, and other artifacts developed within the product life cycle; therefore interoperability from beginning of life to end of life is a staple and a requirement of PDLM.

Product data management (PDM) provides key capabilities that underlie product life-cycle management (PLM) and is widely considered a precursor requirement to effective PDLM. PDLM does not negate product data management. A process for management of technical data is required by NPR 7123.1, NASA Systems Engineering Processes and Requirements, for ensuring that the data required are captured and stored, data integrity is maintained, and data are disseminated as required. PDLM augments PDM and addresses the acquisition and storage of all program/project data-not just technical data used in the life cycle of a system.

PDLM consists of disciplined, collaborative processes and systems that plan for, acquire, and control product definition data (PDD) and associated product-related data, including engineering, design, test, procurement, manufacturing, operational, and logistics information throughout the product and data life cycles. PDLM is the set of processes and associated information used to manage the entire life cycle of product data from its conception, through design, test, and manufacturing, to service and disposal. To do so requires managing the creation and changes to product definition, product configurations, affiliated engineering data, data on the performance of the product components in mission environments, and product software and hardware.

As indicated in figure 2, PDLM Framework, PDLM is the framework that integrates data, processes (elements), tools, and business systems to provide users with a product information backbone for NASA programs/projects. A life-cycle-oriented approach to PDLM is intended to reduce or eliminate redundant development activities, increase collaborative design and analysis, and reduce time to complete informed decision making throughout the program/project life cycle. PDLM can be implemented using the traditional document-centric approach or with a hybrid approach where both modeling and documents are combined to meet the program's/project's PDLM needs. To achieve the highest level of collaboration, interoperability, efficiency, and data availability, the implementation of a fully digital PDLM environment, referred to as a PDLM Collaborative Environment (PCE), as defined in this Handbook, is necessary.

PDLM requires that information technology (IT) systems across NASA be made interoperable or integrated to the extent needed to provide a secure, readily accessible environment to enable required collaborative PDLM capabilities. PDLM is intended to increase the probability of mission success by increasing the availability, effectiveness, and efficiency of data interchange and integration across disparate systems and the availability of the right data for the right people at the right time, thereby reducing risk.


This Handbook is applicable to the following:

a. Current and future NASA space flight single-project and tightly coupled programs and their projects subject to NPR 7120.9.

b. It is also recommended that this Handbook be considered for guidance in all other NASA programs/projects.

This Handbook is approved for use by NASA Headquarters and NASA Centers, including Component Facilities and Technical and Service Support Centers. This Handbook may also apply to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory or to other contractors, grant recipients, or parties to agreements only to the extent specified or referenced in their contracts, grants, or agreements.

This Handbook, or portions thereof, may be referenced in contract, program/project, and other Agency documents for guidance. When this Handbook contains procedural or process requirements, they may be cited in contract, program/project, and other Agency documents.

Document History

August 24, 2017
Purpose The purpose of this Handbook is to provide information on product data and life-cycle management (PDLM) and general guidance to adapt the methods needed to implement the requirements in NPR...