NASA Request for Information (RFI) to Identify Interest in Studies/Analyses of Space Shuttle Columbia Debris May 9, 2003

Status Report From: Kennedy Space Center
Posted: Friday, May 9, 2003

General Information

  • Document Type: Special Notice
  • Solicitation Number: NASA-SNOTE-030509-001
  • Posted Date: May 09, 2003
  • Original Response Date:
  • Original Archive Date: May 09, 2004
  • Current Archive Date:

Contracting Office Address

NASA/John F. Kennedy Space Center, Procurement, Kennedy Space Center, FL 32899


Purpose: This is a "Request for Information" (RFI) only. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) seeks information related to academia, civil government, or industry interest to advise and propose relative to materials analyses and studies of Space Shuttle Columbia Debris. This RFI is for planning and information purposes only and is NOT to be construed as a commitment by the Government to enter into a contractual agreement, nor will the Government pay for information solicited hereunder. Upon review of the information provided to NASA, it may be determined that it is in the best interest of the Government to issue a "Request for Entrepreneurial Offers" which could lead to a "Space Act Agreement" or a Request for Proposal (RFP) which could lead to a contract.

OVERVIEW OF NASA'S NEEDS: A substantial amount of the Space Shuttle Columbia has been recovered. In establishing an enduring legacy for Space Shuttle Columbia and her crew, NASA seeks to enhance spacecraft design and flight safety by analysis of Shuttle debris through qualified and approved research. Among the engineering or scientific disciplines that may wish to conduct research are metallurgy, hypersonics, thermodynamics, carbon fiber materials, chemistry and atmospheric science. NASA is also interested in ideas on how to best curate, preserve and manage the debris. This includes both historical preservation as well as overseeing the use of Space Shuttle Columbia debris for research and analytical purposes. More specifically, this entails:

  • Long-term cataloging, storage and preservation of Space Shuttle Columbia debris
  • Review, assess and recommend research proposals for the analysis of debris in order to better understand system and structural response to the failure
  • Conduct research and analysis
  • Configuration management and control of debris loaned to researchers and principal investigators
  • Security and protection to ensure respect for the debris and the Space Shuttle Columbia crew

NASA created a database for cataloging and tracking each piece of Space Shuttle Columbia debris. The database includes information such as part numbers, material description, latitude and longitude of where material was found, digital images, schematic location of where material was installed on the Orbiter, storage location, etc. This database may be made available for research, analyses & configuration management, subject to software license and Export Control restrictions.

Terms: Subject to negotiation. NASA seeks to leverage the efforts and expertise of potential partners who may already have the capability in place to perform the required management and distribution of debris in a secure, respectful, purposeful and timely fashion. Responses should identify facilities or resources that the government is expected to provide.


Organization 1. What organization, institution, company or other Government agency do you represent? 2. Briefly describe any past/current analogous experience. 3. Describe your organization's technical merits 4. Describe established distribution channels 5. Company Information & Management Team a. Ownership b. Location of relevant facilities c. Services to be provided d. Points of Contact (business & technical) e. Top-level Organization Structure Implementation Approach and Facility Considerations 6. How would you manage and oversee the use of Space Shuttle Columbia debris? 7. Describe general requirements, approach and planned operations. 8. Identify facility requirements and availability for storage of debris. 9. Identify requirements for transporting, shipping and receiving material. 10. Describe security approaches, data control, and configuration management approaches. 11. Describe any hardware/software/IT services required. 12. Describe how you intend to publicize and communicate the opportunity to study and analyze debris and how you will identify and qualify potential researchers. Analysis and Testing 13. Identify types of analysis and testing candidates. 14. Identify criteria or processes for loaning and retrieving Space Shuttle Columbia debris. 15. Identify techniques for cataloging and managing debris 16. Identify risks to your institution or industry, perceived problems, etc. 17. Describe the target audience. Financial 18. Describe the extent to which your institution or firm can accept responsibilities for analyses or management of debris without cost to the government. 19. Discuss any services or capabilities required from the government or NASA. 20. Provide a rough order of magnitude and basis of estimate for any costs deemed necessary. 21. Identify any cost sharing or cost limiting approaches to accomplish the tasks. 22. Discuss the benefits to the government, NASA and the general public. Schedule 23. Provide a notional top-level project schedule Agreement 24. Provide a draft of any specific terms and conditions deemed necessary for a contractual agreement.

Responses Due: Responses to this RFI are due no later than 4:00 PM on June 1, 2003. All interested parties should send their response via an official letter to NASA on the institution or firms letterhead to: NASA/John F. Kennedy Space Center Attn: S. Parker, Code OP-MS Kennedy Space Center, FL 32899 Fax (321) 867-2825

Email your questions to Steven E. Parker at

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