Appendix D
Definitions of Technology Readiness Levels

Table D.1, “Technology Readiness Levels (TRLs),” is reprinted from Appendix J of NPR [NASA Procedural Requirements] 7120.8, “NASA Research and Technology Program and Project Management Requirements.” (That document is still in draft form, but the definitions in it will supersede the previous TRL definitions.)

TABLE D.1 Technology Readiness Levels (TRLs)

TRL

Definition

Hardware Description

Software Description

Exit Criteria

1

Basic principles observed and reported.

Scientific knowledge generated underpinning hardware technology concepts/applications.

Scientific knowledge generated underpinning basic properties of software architecture and mathematical formulation.

Peer reviewed publication of research underlying the proposed concept/application.

2

Technology concept and/or application formulated.

Invention begins, practical application is identified but is speculative, no experimenal proof or detailed analysis is available to support the conjecture.

Practical application is identified but is speculative, no experimental proof or detailed analysis is available to support the conjecture. Basic properties of algorithms, representations and concepts defined. Basic principles coded. Experiments performed with synthetic data.

Documented description of the application/concept that addresses feasibility and benefit.

3

Analytical and experimental critical function and/or characteristic proof of concept.

Analytical studies place the technology in an appropriate context and laboratory demonstrations, modeling and simulation validate analytical prediction.

Development of limited functionality to validate critical properties and predictions using non-integrated software components.

Documented analytical/experimental results validating predictions of key parameters.



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Appendix D Definitions of Technology Readiness Levels Table D.1, “Technology Readiness Levels (TRLs),” is reprinted from Appendix J of NPR [NASA Procedural Requirements] 7120.8, “NASA Research and Technology Program and Project Management Requirements.” (That document is still in draft form, but the definitions in it will supersede the previous TRL definitions.) TABLE D.1 Technology Readiness Levels (TRLs) TRL Definition Hardware Description Software Description Exit Criteria 1 Basic principles Scientific knowledge Scientific knowledge generated underpinning Peer reviewed observed and generated underpinning basic properties of software architecture and publication of reported. hardware technology concepts/ mathematical formulation. research underlying applications. the proposed concept/application. 2 Technology Invention begins, practical Practical application is identified but is Documented concept and/or application is identified but is speculative, no experimental proof or description of the application speculative, no experimental detailed analysis is available to support the application/concept formulated. proof or detailed analysis conjecture. Basic properties of algorithms, that addresses is available to support the representations and concepts defined. Basic feasibility and conjecture. principles coded. Experiments performed benefit. with synthetic data. 3 Analytical and Analytical studies place the Development of limited functionality to Documented experimental technology in an appropriate validate critical properties and predictions analytical/ critical context and laboratory using non-integrated software components. experimental results function and/or demonstrations, modeling and validating predictions characteristic simulation validate analytical of key parameters. proof of prediction. concept. continued 0

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 APPENDIX D TABLE D.1 Continued TRL Definition Hardware Description Software Description Exit Criteria 4 Component A low fidelity system/ Key, functionally critical, software Documented and/or component breadboard is built components are integrated, and functionally test performance breadboard and operated to demonstrate validated, to establish interoperability and demonstrating validation in basic functionality and begin architecture development. Relevant agreement laboratory critical test environments, environments defined and performance in with analytical environment. and associated performance this environment predicted. predictions. predictions are defined Documented relative to the final operating definition of relevant environment. environment. 5 Component A medium fidelity system/ End-to-end software elements implemented Documented and/or component brassboard and interfaced with existing systems/ test performance breadboard is built and operated simulations conforming to target demonstrating validation to demonstrate overall environment. End-to-end software system, agreement in relevant performance in a simulated tested in relevant environment, meeting with analytical environment. operational environment with predicted performance. Operational predictions. realistic support elements environment performance predicted. Documented that demonstrates overall Prototype implementations developed. definition of scaling performance in critical areas. requirements. Performance predictions are made for subsequent development phases. 6 System/ A high-fidelity system/ Prototype implementations of the software Documented subsystem component prototype that demonstrated on full-scale realistic test performance model or adequately addresses all problems. Partially integrate with existing demonstrating prototype critical scaling issues is built hardware/software systems. Limited agreement demonstration and operated in a relevant documentation available. Engineering with analytical in an operation environment to demonstrate feasibility fully demonstrated. predictions. environment. operations under critical environmental conditions. 7 System A high fidelity engineering Prototype software exists having all key Documented prototype unit that adequately addresses functionality available for demonstration test performance demonstration all critical scaling issues is and test. Well integrated with operational demonstrating in an built and operated in a relevant hardware/software systems demonstrating agreement operational environment to demonstrate operational feasibility. Most software bugs with analytical environment. performance in the actual removed. Limited documentation available. predictions. operational environment and platform (ground, airborne, or space). 8 Actual system The final product in its final All software has been thoroughly debugged Documented completed configuration is successfully and fully integrated with all operational test performance and “flight demonstrated through test hardware and software systems. All user verifying analytical qualified” and analysis for its intended documentation, training documentation, and predictions. through operational environment and maintenance documentation completed. All test and platform (ground, airborne, or functionality successfully demonstrated in demonstration. space). simulated operational scenarios. Verification and Validation (V&V) completed. continued

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2 A CONSTRAINED SPACE EXPLORATION TECHNOLOGY PROGRAM TABLE D.1 Continued TRL Definition Hardware Description Software Description Exit Criteria 9 Actual system The final product is All software has been thoroughly Documented mission flight proven successfully operated in an debugged and fully integrated with all operational results. through actual mission. operational hardware/software systems. successful All documentation has been completed. mission Sustaining software engineering support is in operations. place. System has been successfully operated in the operational environment. NOTE: Generic TRL descriptions are found in NASA, NASA Systems Engineering Processes and Requirements, N PR 7123.1, Table G-19.