Defense Innovation Unit Solution Brief Solicitation: Orbital Outpost

Status Report From: Department of Defense
Posted: Friday, July 5, 2019

Source document

Orbital Outpost: 

The Department of Defense (DoD) seeks solutions for a self-contained and free flying orbital outpost.  The solution must be capable of supporting space assembly, microgravity experimentation, logistics and storage, manufacturing, training, test and evaluation, hosting payloads, and other functions.  Prospective bidders are invited to submit their proposals (“Solution Brief”) per the guidelines below.

Minimum Desired Specifications

  • Internal volume: 1 m3
  • Payload capacity: 80 kg
  • Power (continuous): 1 kW
  • Communications: 100 kbps
  • Pressurization: 0 to 1 Atmosphere

Solutions must be established in low Earth orbit within 24 months of award and have guidance, navigation and control for sustained free-flight operations. Favorable characteristics include modularity and scalability.  This prototype effort does not include the cost of launch.

This effort will be multi-phased. The first phase will include engineering and design work. The subsequent phases will focus on the fabrication and test of the prototype, based upon the availability of FY20 funding. 

Desired future capabilities (available as options for initial or future implementation) include:

  • Common berthing mechanism
  • In-space assembly using one or more robotic manipulators and interfaces accepting standard flight fixtures
  • Temporary or permanent attachment to other similar modular outposts (manned or unmanned)
  • Servicing or re-provisioning to extend flight operations for a longer duration
  • Human-rating
  • Orbit transfer
  • Radiation hardening for beyond LEO applications
  • Other unique features contributing to national security or defense.  

The government may facilitate teaming arrangements among submissions offering complementary capabilities to achieve desired effect.  Companies are also welcome to present their own teaming arrangements in their solution briefs.

Awarding Instrument: This solicitation will be awarded in accordance with the Commercial Solutions Opening (CSO) process detailed within HQ0034-19-9-DIU (WHS CSO), posted to FBO in February 2019. Additionally, this document can be found under “Commercial Solutions Opening” within the DIU Library at

Follow-on Production: Companies are advised that any prototype Other Transaction (OT) agreement awarded in response to this Area of Interest may result in the award of a follow-on production contract or transaction without the use of further competitive procedures. The follow-on production contract or transaction will be available for use by one or more organizations in the Department of Defense and, as a result, the magnitude of the follow-on production contract or agreement could be significantly larger than that of the prototype OT. As such, any prototype OT will include the following statement relative to the potential for follow-on production: "In accordance with 10 U.S.C. 2371b(f), and upon a determination that the prototype project for this transaction has been successfully completed, this competitively awarded prototype OTA may result in the award of a follow-on production contract or transaction without the use of competitive procedures.”

Submissions accepted from 06/25/2019 23:15 to 07/09/2019 23:59 PT

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