NASA's White Sands Test Facility (WSTF) in Las Cruces, New Mexico has added a National Board Inspection Code (NBIC)-certified Valve Repair Facility to its array of spacecraft, component and propulsion system test and evaluation capabilities.
The test facility's new Component Services Section (CSS) Valve Repair Facility has received the National Board's certification to repair and refurbish code-stamped pressure relief valves. Only facilities certified by the NBIC can perform this type of refurbishment of relief valves and retain the valve's code stamp.
Pressure relief valves can prevent catastrophic failure of a vessel or system by venting pressure buildup caused by a chemical reaction, failed pressure regulator, or human error. Relief valves being used in aerospace fluid applications require specialized cleaning and handling due to the nature of the fluids and their reactivity.
The NBIC certification allows the facility to test pressure relief valves "as-received" and then disassemble and replace interior components such as soft goods, orifices, or springs if necessary, and clean the valves at the part level. The cleaned components can then be reassembled and functional tests performed to ensure that the valve is operating properly.
The ability to repair relief valves used in aerospace fluid application makes the White Sands new capability critical to NASA operations.
The purpose of the valve repair facility is to ensure relief valves and other components are operating within manufacturer's specifications and ensure compliance with the requirements of American National Standards Institute (ANSI)/NB 23, American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Code, Section VIII, Div. 1, and the NBIC.
"This important certification proves WSTF is committed to maintaining the integrity of the pressure-relieving devices used by NASA," said Clifford Madrid, Technical Services Manager, NASA Hardware Processing Office. "This capability gives us a truly unique facility because we are the only facility where relief valves can be refurbished and then certified afterwards in a clean environment, providing a better product."