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NASA Solder Certification – The First Step to Getting Certified

NASA Solder Certification – The First Step to Getting Certified

NASA recognizes the critical nature of sending equipment off into space, which is why they uphold high standards of craftsmanship and performance. NASA solder certification assures that the technicians have the abilities to solder in space-grade environments.

This NASA solder certification assures that soldering processes are in compliance with NASA’s strict standards for security and reliability. Technicians receive intense training and evaluation in order to obtain NASA solder certification.

NASA solder certification demonstrates the ability to handle tasks of soldering essential for aerospace missions.

This program certifies operators and inspectors for printed wiring assemblies and wire harnesses using IPC J-STD-001 Space Addendum standards. Attendees also receive training in hand soldering techniques with an emphasis on Wires and Terminals, Through-Hole Technology, and Surface Mount Technology. NASA solder certification ensures high-quality in electronic assembly of the space-based equipment.

NASA solder certification requires mastering the art of soldering that are specifically designed to handle the challenges of space travel. People who are NASA solder certification certified with this certificate can be trusted to solder parts to spacecrafts, satellites and instruments for science.


Acquiring certification to work on NASA hardware is essential, starting with taking a two-day class on workmanship and inspection principles as well as basic knowledge of working with electronics components. After graduating, attendees must pass an open book exam followed by Solder Sample Inspection with Instructor prior to becoming Certified Hardware Inspectors, Hand Soldering Operators or Level B Instructors.

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The WHMA-A-620 Space Addendum course is an IPC J-STD-001 class that covers inspection requirements when working with soldered electronic and electrical assemblies for space flight hardware. Assemblies must withstand vibrational forces during space travel as well as thermal cycling conditions, but issues not covered in these original standards were not adequately covered in this addendum course.

NASA hardware requires employees to know how to properly handle and store ESD-sensitive equipment, as improper Electrostatic Discharge can severely damage mission critical electronics and cause latent defects that will eventually lead to their failure. Proper handling includes wearing ESD wrist and heel straps when not in use and using test equipment to verify whether ESD personnel grounding systems are functioning efficiently.

Another key part of ESD training involves instructing students on the proper methods for setting up and working in an ESD Protected Area (EPA), or within one meter, of ESD sensitive items. Employees must have an effective personal grounding system in place that prevents static charges from damaging critical items and leading to their failure; this is accomplished by grounding feet, hands and arms along a continuous unbroken grounding path.

NASA offers workshops at its primary Manufacturing Technology Transfer Centers – Jet Propulsion Laboratory on the West Coast and Goddard Space Flight Center on the East Coast respectively – as part of their Manufacturing Technology Transfer Center training offerings. At these training facilities, on-site and local personnel requiring technical instruction receive it; certification through NASA Workmanship Standards program can also take place, with safety being managed by Safety and Mission Assurance division of these Centers.

Practice Kit

STI Electronics offers practice through-hole soldering kits to help students and employees hone their soldering skills. There are two versions of each kit, each equipped with all the components needed for initial or recertification certification testing. These practice kits are particularly beneficial to those working on high-reliability electronics production such as NASA space projects; such products must withstand acceleration, impacts and temperatures well; using such practice kits can ensure these products adhere to industry standards for production.

IPC J-STD-001 is an internationally recognized standard that establishes materials, methods and inspection criteria for producing high quality solder interconnections on printed wiring assemblies and other components. This course equips students with reading and interpreting its requirements while simultaneously building hand soldering skills. It is intended for experienced operators and inspectors with prior hand soldering experience requiring certification as IPC J-STD-001 Certified IPC Specialist.

IPC J-STD-001 GS Addendum training is an optional module of the IPC J-STD-001 Training & Certification Program, offering additional requirements beyond those published in IPC J-STD-001 to ensure soldered electrical and electronic assemblies going into space can withstand vibration and thermal cycling environments encountered while traveling and operating in space. The course features lectures that identify each section of the Addendum before concluding with an open book exam.

IPC 7721/7721B Rework, Modification, and Repair of Electronic Assemblies course is tailored for inspection professionals, leaders, and self-certified shops who perform rework, modification or repair work on electronic circuit boards and assemblies. This course covers requirements, tools, techniques for removing conformal coatings from surface mount components; replacing them when necessary; inspecting for defects as well as identification and identification.


This course is the gateway to working on NASA hardware, providing an introductory primer in terms of IPC J-STD 001 requirements and their space addendum NASA-STD 8739.4. It consists of classroom lectures with hands-on lab exercises and a short quiz designed to build a solid understanding of these standards and addenda.

Students will gain knowledge in identifying components, proper hand soldering techniques, maintaining cleanliness in a working environment and required documentation for inspection of soldered joints. Students will practice and build prototypes during this course to master these essential skills for successfully soldering hand components.

After successfully completing this course, students will become qualified to sit the IPC J-STD-001 examination and earn a certificate upon passing it. Successful participants are then qualified for contracts that require IPC J-STD-001 certification.

This class provides individuals with the qualifications necessary to inspect printed wiring assemblies and soldered connections constructed according to NASA-STD-8739.3. As such, this course serves as a prerequisite for all subsequent IPC operator, inspector, and level B instructor classes.

Crimp, Cable and Harness course is designed to teach methods and techniques for fabricating and inspecting reliable solderless connections and wire harnesses for aerospace hardware, with particular attention paid to IPC/WHMA-A-620 Space Addendum requirements and NASA-STD-8739.4 specifications. Module one presents general process requirements of standard; modules 2-5 concentrate on wire and terminal preparation as well as PCB coating/encapsulation/staking procedures used with through hole technology and surface mount technology technologies. An open book exam follows each module; recertification must occur every two years.

NASA and IPC Assembly Joining and Processes Committee have spent eight years cooperating on an addendum for soldering standards called J-STD-001ES to meet all programs and projects at NASA. Prior standards such as NASA-STD-8739.2 and NASA-STD-8739.3 have been cancelled since October 17th 2011. Furthermore, NASA published NASA-STD 8739.6, Implementation for NASA Workmanship Standards to provide additional instructions regarding implementation of J-STD-001ES on NASA programs.


NASA Solder Certification is required of any employee working on spaceflight hardware, teaching them the standards that must be observed to create reliable soldered connections, printed wiring assemblies and cable harnesses that withstand vibration and thermal cyclic environments of space travel. The adhering to NASA standards on soldering is crucial to avoid malfunctions or failures in space missions.

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The certification process consists of theory and hands-on examinations.

Possessing NASA solder certification boosts credibility and opens the door to new opportunities in the aerospace industry. At NMTTC classes are designed to equip participants with both theoretical and hands-on skills necessary to fulfill NASA Workmanship Standards; currently available courses include:

Printed Wiring Assembly

This class introduces the principles and practices of IPC-WHMA-A-620 Space specification for printed wiring assemblies conforming to NASA-STD-8739.3. Students learn inspection techniques as well as defect criteria and quality assurance techniques before undertaking hand and machine soldered connection inspection and passing an open book exam to attain certification.

Cable Harness and Wire Preparation

This course equips students with the methods and techniques necessary for fabricating and inspecting reliable crimped, soldered and unsoldered connections, interconnecting cables and wire harness assemblies for space flight hardware as well as mission critical ground support equipment elements. This course emphasizes meeting IPC-WHMA-A-620 Standard requirements with regards to solder preparation; wire connector contact preparation/installation techniques as well as crimping backshell installation methods as well as harness manufacturing techniques based upon quality inspection/evaluations/test results.

Hand soldering is the primary method used for soldering hardware on spaceflight vehicles. This course covers both its theory and practices in hand soldering with both lead-based and lead-free alloys. Attendees will solder practice pieces submitted to Instructor inspection for feedback before creating one workmanship piece to evaluate and pass for certification purposes.

Step five involves attending and becoming certified for NASA workmanship standards by taking a Level B Instructor Course, to become eligible to teach courses internally for these standards. This enables those performing hardware inspections to train hardware builders who will be held responsible for meeting these standards without going through traditional training processes themselves.

Frequently Asked Questions

NASA Solder Certification is an internationally recognized process developed in the name of NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) to make sure that the individuals have the abilities and know-how to complete tasks that require soldering in aerospace applications.

NASA typically offers different levels of soldering certificates depending on the difficulty of the tasks involved in soldering and the level of expertise of the person. The levels can differ from basic to advanced levels of certification.

While NASA Solder Certification is tailored to fulfill NASA’s particular specifications, the knowledge and methods learned through the certification process are typically used in other industries with high reliability like aerospace, defense and manufacturing of electronics.

Prerequisites for NASA Solder Certification could differ based on the particular certification program. Candidates generally require an understanding of basic the processes of soldering and electronics prior to seeking certification.


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