NASA GRC Solicitation: Center Innovation Fund

Status Report From: Glenn Research Center
Posted: Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Synopsis - Nov 06, 2012

Cover Page - Posted on Nov 06, 2012

General Information

Solicitation Number: NNC13T000RH
Posted Date: Nov 06, 2012
FedBizOpps Posted Date: Nov 06, 2012
Recovery and Reinvestment Act Action: No
Original Response Date: Dec 01, 2012
Current Response Date: Dec 01, 2012
Classification Code: A -- Research and Development
NAICS Code: 541712

Contracting Office Address

NASA/Glenn Research Center, 21000 Brookpark Road, Cleveland, OH 44135


This notice is issued by the NASA/GRC to post a Sources Sought via the internet, and solicit responses from interested parties. This document is for information and planning purposes and to promote competition. Prospective offerors are invited to submit written comments or questions to:, no later than November 19, 2012. When responding reference NNC13T000RH.

Important Notice: This sources sought notice is open to all interested parties. This sources sought notice will be used to compile a list of parties eligible to compete for a potential NASA contract or cooperative-agreement awarded in conjunction with the NASA GRC's upcoming Center Innovation Fund competition. Only parties that fully comply with the requirements detailed in this sources sought notice and reply within the specified timeframe will be eligible for participation in the competition and, therefore, be eligible for the award of a possible NASA contract or cooperative-agreement. This call follows a NASA Announcement of Opportunity process.

Background NASA Glenn Research Center (NASA GRC) is seeking sources to conduct joint research in support of its annual Center Innovation Fund (CIF) projects. NASA GRC's annual CIF call for proposals is designed to nurture creative and innovative research and technology development among NASA GRC civil-servant employees in the space and aeronautics disciplines. This year, NASA GRC is encouraging its employees to partner with the post-secondary education and research community to further the agency's commitment to science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) outreach and engagement. Specifically, NASA GRC is seeking sources that can provide relevant research capabilities via undergraduate and graduate students, faculty or post-doctoral fellows to support the FY13 CIF research projects. A description of the competition process and the requirements of this sources sought notice follows below.

The Process As described in the important notice above, prospective partners must respond to this notice in order to be considered for participation in NASA GRC's upcoming CIF competition. The process for partnering and participating in the CIF competition is as follows:

1. Interested parties should fully comply with the requirements of this sources sought notice.

2. A roster of eligible partners will be compiled from all interested parties that fully complied with the requirements of this sources sought notice. The roster will then be made available to the NASA GRC civil-servant research workforce.

3. If a NASA GRC civil-servant engineer or scientist is interested in partnering with you, you will be contacted directly by that employee. You should anticipate being contacted by a GRC Principal Investigator (PI) after December 1, 2012 for the purpose of determining joint interest and capability to write a proposal for the CIF. If you and the NASA GRC scientist or engineer agreed to work together, a joint technical proposal will be developed for submission to the NASA GRC CIF competition. Please note, in all cases, the GRC scientist or engineer will serve as PI of the joint technical proposal. At least half of the work for each proposed project will be performed by NASA GRC team members, and it should be anticipated that the partners may need to work often onsite at GRC.

4. Being contacted by a GRC PI or writing a proposal with a GRC PI does not assure funding. Rather, the joint technical proposal will be reviewed and considered as part of the NASA GRC CIF competition.

5. If the joint technical proposal is selected, NASA GRC anticipates issuing contracts or other agreements to the selected partner(s) to perform the proposed research with the GRC principal investigators, partner funding not to exceed $50,000.

Research/Technology Areas of Interest GRC is specifically looking for partners in the following Technical Capability areas (not in any priority order):

1. Aerospace Power and Energy

(i) Fuel Cells and Electrolyzers for space and planetary lander applications: (a) High power density solid oxide fuel cell technology that will enable direct operation with hydrocarbon fuels for spacecraft landers and hydrocarbons generated from in-situ resource processes; (b) Low mass solid oxide electrolyzer for co-electrolysis of carbon dioxide and water to produce oxygen. Technologies of interest include electrode material chemistry and microstructures to increase durability, reliability, life, and performance, as well as oxygen pressurization using solid oxide-based system. (ii) Advanced Energy Storage System and Components for Aerospace Applications: (a) New cathode and anode materials, separators, and electrolytes to address key barriers to current lithium ion battery technology for achieving high specific energy. Technologies of interest include new cathode and anode materials and microstructures, as well as separator and electrolyte materials to increase specific energy, life and performance; (b) Solid state lithium metal batteries with ceramic and polymer electrolytes. Technologies of interest include novel ceramic and solid polymer electrolytes that are stable with lithium metal anode, techniques to enhance interfacial stability for anode-electrolyte interface, and novel microstructural concepts that enable faster transport of reacting species; (c) Supercapacitors with high specific energy (preferably greater than 50 wh/kg) without adversely affecting the high specific power. Technologies of interest include new material combinations, innovative fabrication technologies that can be scaled up, and new architectures for aerospace applications. (iii) Space Nuclear Power: Advancements are solicited in the areas of high efficiency energy conversion devices and low mass thermal radiators for space nuclear power systems. Specific topics of interest include multi-dimensional fluid dynamic and heat transfer modeling of Stirling cycle engines, and development of lightweight composite radiators with embedded heat pipes that operate above 100 deg C. (iv) Photovoltaic Technologies. Advances in photovoltaic technologies offering very high efficiencies and lower mass photovoltaic cells and arrays to be used in the space environment or on planetary surfaces.

2. Aerospace Materials and Structures

(i) Multifunctional Materials and Structures for Aerospace Applications: (a) Advanced structural concepts with load bearing and one or more of the following capabilities (1) thermal management, (2) energy storage capability, (3) thermal protection, (4) radiation protection, (5) micrometeoroid impact resistance, (6) structural health management, and (7) photovoltaic energy conversion. Structural concepts will combine multiple materials in an innovative way to achieve multifunctionality in structure; (b) Multifunctional materials, including fibers, with load bearing and one or more of the following capabilities (1) high thermal conductivity, (2) thermally insulating, (3) electrically conductive, (4) electrically insulative, (5) sensors and health management; (c) Modeling tools to design lightweight multifunctional structures. (ii) Active Structures and Lightweight Actuation Systems Using Smart Materials for Aerospace Applications: (a) Smart materials that will operate at cryogenic temperatures and enable morphing structures and lightweight actuation system by changing the shape of components on demand without the need for heavy hydraulic mechanisms; (b) Novel, lightweight actuation system using advanced smart materials. (iii) Advanced Thermal Management Concepts for All or More Electric Aerospace Systems: (a) Advanced lightweight thermal management concepts for high power density electrical components and energy conversion systems; (b) Advanced thermal management materials. Technologies of interest include high thermal conductivity materials and integration of high thermal conductivity materials with heat source and sinks.

3. In-Space Propulsion

(i) In-Space Propulsion areas of particular interest include Electric Propulsion, Propellant Storage and Transfer, Nuclear Thermal Propulsion, and Micro-propulsion. Technologies for electric propulsion include high-power long-lived thrusters and low specific mass power processing systems. Propellant technologies include subsystems and components to enable long-duration storage in space and low-gravity liquid transfer. Technologies for nuclear thermal propulsion include advanced high temperature fuel forms, innovative testing methods and non-nuclear subsystems. Micro-propulsion technologies include chemical or non-chemical systems for micro-satellites.

4. Advanced Communications Technologies for Aerospace Applications

(i) Advanced antenna and microwave systems, RF (radio frequency) and optical propagation, cryo-electronics and nanotechnologies (ii) Software defined radios and waveforms, FPGA development, model-based signal processing design, simulation and testing and EVA (extravehicular activity) navigation and suit audio (iii) High powered traveling wave tube and solid state power amplifiers (TWTA/SSPA), microwave and wireless components and circuits, 3-D electromagnetic modeling, electronic materials for semiconductor and vacuum electronic devices and radio-frequency photonics. (iv) Communications-network architecture and analysis/modeling/simulation, aeronautical communications, network-centric operations for space and aviation and internetworking protocols/standards/security and demonstrations. 5. Air-Breathing Propulsion (i) Instrumentation for ice crystal measurements. (ii) Fundamental studies for ice accretion physics in engines. (iii) Flow control methods for supersonic inlets. (iv) Sub-system conceptual design for hybrid turbo-electric engines (fan, electric motor, turbine and drive system). (v) Entropy measurement methods for turbomachinery applications. (vi) Particulate measurement instrumentation for engine emissions. (vii) High temperature dynamic pressure measurement without cooling. (viii) Acoustic measurement methods in flows with low source levels (high background noise). Additionally proposed areas of investigation should be aligned with the technology challenges identified in the NASA's Space Technology Roadmaps, and/or the National Aeronautics Research and Development Plan. The Space Technology Roadmaps and NRC's assessment of these roadmaps can be found at:

The 2010 National Aeronautics Research and Development Plan can be found at:

Capability information to be provided Each potential partner is required to provide a capability statement that demonstrates its ability to conduct or provide research and technology development in any of the above areas. Potential partners may provide information on specific research or technology development they would like to conduct with NASA Glenn in any of the above areas. Each capability statement submitted should be limited to four pages. Partners must state clearly in the title of their submission as to which of the five research/technology areas listed above they are responding. Partners may submit more than one capability statement and apply to more than one area; Please indicate all student, faculty or Post-Doctoral Research Fellow to be involved in the work.

Partner Selection Criteria When deciding whether to Partner with an outside entity, NASA GRC civil-servant researchers will be encouraged to consider the following attributes: 1. Innovativeness and potential impact of the proposed specific joint research or technology development in the designated GRC area. 2. Qualifications of the potential partner (faculty member) for generic joint research or technology development in the designated GRC area. This information should be evaluated for currency as well as excellence. 3. Unique, distinctive or propriety methods, codes, or facilities for support in the designated GRC area. This information should be evaluated for currency as well as excellence. 4. Information regarding past performance, e.g. publications, list of contracts, grants and other work completed which are similar to the proposed research/technology topic(s) or the designated GRC research/technology area(s). This information should be evaluated to determine the proposer's responsibility and capability. 5. The proposed use of students and research fellows including the overall opportunity to enhance NASA's STEM outreach and engagement at all levels of the post-secondary research community.

Period of Performance: it is anticipated that GRC PI/Partner-submitted proposals will be reviewed and ranked on or near February 1, 2013, through a NASA GRC internal review process. As such, partners should anticipate that the awards will be made in early spring, 2013, and that the work will commence immediately. The joint work must be completed by September 30, 2013 (i.e. within the fiscal year). Partners must be available to work on joint projects during this timeframe.

RESPONSE INSTRUCTIONS: Due Date and Time: All responses shall be submitted in Word or PDF format to GRC electronically via email by 5:00pm EST on December 1, 2012 to:

Required Information: Complete attached cover page with name and address of organization; name of point of contact, address, email address, and phone number. Which research/technology area (1-5) the responder is interested in. Cover page is not included in the page count. Note: Please write in the email subject line "NASA GRC CIF Sources Sought". GRC Selection Rights: GRC reserves the right to complete its evaluation of responses for each planned announcement in a time frame necessary to support timely submission of any GRC proposal. GRC reserves the right to hold oral presentations or written email exchanges with potential proposal partners to obtain additional information prior to selection.

Information Protection: NASA support service contractors may have access to partner submittals. All information received in response to this notice that is marked Proprietary will be handled and protected accordingly. NASA support service contractors are under an obligation to keep third-party proprietary information in confidence. By submitting a response to this notice, the responder is deemed to have consented to release of proprietary data to such NASA support service contractors.

Return Policy: Responses to this notice will not be returned.

Response and proposal costs will not be reimbursed: This Sources Sought opportunity does not guarantee selection for award, nor is it to be construed as a commitment by NASA to pay for the information solicited. It is expected that the partner(s) selected to develop CIF proposals would provide (at no cost to NASA) conceptual designs, technical data, proposal input, project schedules, and cost estimates as required. NASA will not reimburse organizations for the cost of submitting information in response to this Sources Sought. NASA will not pay for proposal preparation costs incurred by the partners.

No solicitation exists: This is not a solicitation. Please do not request a copy of a solicitation. However, if a prospective partner is selected for participation in the subsequent FY13 GRC CIF solicitation, it will be so notified and all necessary communications will occur at that time by the proposing NASA Glenn PI.

Only parties that fully comply with the requirements detailed in this sources sought notice and reply within the specified timeframe will be eligible for participation in the FY13 GRC CIF process and, therefore, be eligible for the award of a possible NASA contract or cooperative-agreement.

Comments may be forwarded to via electronic transmission.

This synopsis is not to be construed as a commitment by the Government, nor will the Government pay for the information submitted in response.

NASA Clause 1852.215-84, Ombudsman, is applicable. The Center Ombudsman for this acquisition can be found at .

Any documents related to this procurement will be available over the Internet. These documents will reside on a World Wide Web (WWW) server, which may be accessed using a WWW browser application. The Internet site, or URL, for the NASA/GRC Business Opportunities home page is It is the offeror's responsibility to monitor the Internet cite for the release of the solicitation and amendments (if any). Potential offerors will be responsible for downloading their own copy of the solicitation and amendments, if any.

Point of Contact

Name: Melissa A Merrill
Title: Contract Specialist
Phone: 216-433-6359
Fax: 216-433-5489

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