January 06, 2015
What A CMMS Can Do For NASA
No one can say for certain whether the great minds at NASA rely upon a computerized maintenance management system or not, but I"d be willing to wager a handsome pile of cash that they do. There are so many working parts to the organization, not to mention their space exploration activities, that it would be mind-boggling to picture their maintenance and asset management tasks without one. If they do use a CMMS, how might that function, and to what end? We take an educated guess at this out-of-the-world topic in today"s blog post.
Asset management, inventory tracking, and preventative maintenance can be stressful for even the most experienced of reliability professionals, so we can only imagine how taxing it can be when part of your equipment is thousands and thousands of miles away, adrift above Saturn, perhaps, or patrolling the terrain of Mars.
So if the National Aeronautics and Space Administration does, indeed, rely upon some sort of maintenance software, what purposes might they utilize it for? Any traditional methods that we Earth-bound dwellers can relate to? Any uses that we might learn from?
For starters, tracking assets that are literally on another planet is definitely beyond the scope of traditional asset management software and something that must be difficult to wrap your head around. However, you can imagine that machinery and parts that can survive in the rugged terrain and harsh environment (or lack thereof) of outer space and otherworldly planets is incredibly expensive and vastly important not only from a business standpoint but indeed from a "future of mankind" mindset.
Keeping tabs on this equipment as it hurtles through space has to be the top priority of any reliability manager. Let's not forget about the hundreds, if not thousands, of satellites hovering in orbit above our own planet, including the International Space Station, and that must be kept track of here on good old terra firma.
Maintenance is another huge factor in the day-to-day operation of NASA. While it must be mind-boggling even here on Earth, planning and scheduling maintenance aboard a space shuttle or on the space station itself must take a bit of creativity. Prioritizing to-do lists and scheduling preventative and proactive maintenance around the movements of orbiting debris requires a special type of maintenance software that ties into some pretty complex systems.
And at the end of the day, like any other organization, even NASA maintenance and facility managers have to stick to a strict budget as well as justify their employees" future employment. With the built-in reporting features of most CMMS software, this could likely be a pivotal tool for the space agency's top reliability pros.
Other features, such as documentation and the ability to track compliance and standards issues, no doubt make maintenance software one of the many unsung heroes working behind the scenes to put Neil and the boys up on the moon and, in the future, maybe send them to a galaxy far, far away.