Intermetrics lands $33M IV&V pact

NASA awarded last month a $33 million pact to Intermetrics Inc. to conduct independent assessments of space program software.

The contract requires Intermetrics Warminster Pa. to conduct independent validation and verification (IV&V) analyses of critical in-flight and ground control software to ensure it meets mission-specific requirements for the space shuttle the international space station robotic spacecraft and ground control programs. This software is characterized as critical because if the software contains errors it could result in the loss of life or equipment such as the space shuttle said Bruce Burton Intermetrics' senior vice president for systems and services.

NASA programs are increasingly relying on high-risk software to control or monitor critical functions of space programs which in turn increases the need for the software code to be free of errors.

"If you look at all major software code you always have instances of software errors " said Henry Lum director of the IV&V facility in Fairmont W.Va. which is part of NASA's Ames Research Center. "If there are any software flaws that could result in a catastrophic error then we would pick it up before flight. Generally if you're working close to the project you may not notice the software errors."

Intermetrics has been performing IV&V services for the space shuttle program since 1987 when the Challenger exploded after takeoff and was an incumbent on the shuttle and space station programs.

This contract however consolidates those two programs with software IV&V for robotic spacecraft and ground control system programs. Also NASA plans to consolidate most of its IV&V projects under this contract during its eight-year span said Daryl Wong a contracting officer at Ames.

Wong said software IV&V services for projects such as satellite programs and the next-generation space shuttle are being considered for addition to the scope of the contract.

The consolidation eventually may include software IV&V activities for the offices of Space Flight Safety and Mission Assurance Aeronautics Space Science Space Access and Technology and Mission to Planet Earth.

As part of the contract which has a one-year base and seven one-year options Intermetrics will be providing monthly software status reports software design analysis code analysis analysis of the program contractor's verification and validation test program technical reviews and audits among other services.

Intermetrics also performs IV&V services for the Health Care Financing Administration and for the Immigration and Naturalization Service.

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