Fuentek's Tech Transfer Blog

NASA’s Reliability-Centered Maintenance Pilot Program Saves Over $300,000 in Taxpayer Money

Fuentek conducted vital background research

Implementing RCM in the cooling towers at NASA’s Central Air Station extended heat exchanger performance, reduced water consumption, and eliminated waste water disposal.

Many of Fuentek’s blog posts discuss technologies available for licensing from NASA. And yet, technology transfer at NASA involves not only the “pushing out” of innovations for technology commercialization, but also the “pulling in” of technologies, expertise, and even what might be considered “competitive intelligence”—that is, making use of the knowledge gained at other organizations.

Here’s an example. NASA’s Rocket Propulsion Test (RPT) Program Office launched several initiatives to address the challenge of aging equipment within critical testing facilities across NASA centers. In response to this RPT directive, NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center initiated a reliability-centered maintenance (RCM) program for its pressurized systems. In order to ensure the success of the program, the space agency gained valuable insights from industry leaders in RCM—thanks to research conducted by Fuentek.

“What we’re trying to focus on is how best to maintain our equipment and test structures so that they can be operationally ready without having to spend money reconditioning, rebuilding, or replacing equipment,” said aerospace engineer Leonard Nicholson. “Ultimately, the bottom line is cost savings and return on investment.”

Fuentek’s research helped project leaders at Marshall anticipate the challenges of implementing RCM on pressurized systems; identify key performance indicators; and develop a set of best practices for the development, integration, and implementation of RCM in the pilot program.

The objective of RCM is to decrease maintenance and operating costs, extend the life of aging equipment, minimize hazardous work conditions, manage risk, decrease energy consumption, and reduce environmental impact. The Marshall project managed to achieve all of those goals, and it provided an impressive return on investment. The pilot project alone saved over $300,000 in taxpayer funds.

The program has been so successful that RPT offices at other NASA centers have reached out to Marshall’s RCM team for assistance in setting up their own programs.

You can learn more about this by reading the success story or by contacting us at or (919) 249-0327. Also, check out our other work and successes.

–By Danielle McCulloch