Developing a NASA Lead-free Policy
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is not required by United States or international law to use lead-free electronic systems but international pressure in the world market is making it increasingly important that NASA have a lead-free policy. In fact, given the international nature of the electronics market, all organizations need a lead-free policy. This presentation will describe the factors which must be taken into account in formulating the policy, the tools to aid in structuring the policy and the unanticipated and difficult challenges encountered. NASA is participating in a number of forums and teams trying to develop effective approaches to controlling lead-free adoption in high reliability systems. The activities and latest status of the work being done by these teams will be described. NASA also continues to gather information on metal whiskers, particularly tin based, and some recent examples will be shared. The current lack of a policy is resulting in "surprises" and the need to disposition undesirable conditions on a case-by-case basis. This is inefficient, costly and can result in sub-optimum outcomes.