Development of Guidelines for Use of Electron (EEEE) Devices Subjected to Long-Term Storage 2014-01-2127
“Today's electronic components rely on principles of physics and science with no manufacturing precedence and little data on long term stability and reliability.”  Yet many are counting on their reliable performance years if not decades into the future, sometimes after being literally abandoned in barns or stored neatly in tightly sealed bags. What makes sense? To toss everything away, or use it as is and hope for the best? Surely there must be a middle ground!
With an unprecedented number of missions in its future and an ever-tightening budget, NASA faces the daunting task of doing more with less. One proven way for a project to save money is to use already screened and qualified devices from the spares of its predecessors. But what is the risk in doing so? How can a project reliably count on the value of spare devices if the risk of using them is not, in itself, defined?
With hundreds of thousands of devices left over from previous missions, the parts bins of NASA hold a wealth of electronic components, (possibly) ready for use many years after their production. These devices are in a stasis called Long-Term Storage (LTS). They represent a resource worth millions if not billions of dollars ready to be tapped if only the risk of doing so were known.
The NASA Electronic Parts Program (NEPP) has funded a survey of Industry, Agencies, and Academia to address the possible development of guidelines for the use of LTS devices: this would identify gaps in the NASA LTS policy and recommend further investigation.