New Space and Tech

JSC Wants To Build A Replicator

By Keith Cowing
April 8, 2013
Filed under , , , , ,

NASA JSC Solicitation: Hardware and Software Supporting the Maker Project

* Background – The Crew and Thermal Systems Division, EVA Tools Branch (EC7) at the Johnson Space Center seeks to acquire contract support for a software/hardware development project for NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, TX. The project supported is entitled “MAKER” and is pursuing an advanced manufacturing concept being developed and evaluated for deployment in future space exploration architectures requiring manufacturing capability in the spaceflight/mission environment. The specific need to be addressed by replies to this effort is for control software and interface hardware for a capable of operating a kinematically unique 3 axis robotic arm subsystem within the MAKER system. The implementation of this software/hardware solution is currently limited to a laboratory environment at the Johnson Space Center, and does not require “Enterprise Resource Planning” (ERP) level implementation.
* Discussion – This effort seeks to procure a software solution capable of converting standard Pro-Engineer Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM) generated codes (gcode) into motion commands that will move the unique arm through the proper path. This product may be similar to a conventional “post processor” in nature in that it takes CAM generated code and interprets/modifies it to drive the unique arm geometry. For the purposes of this quote, the arm geometry is described as such:

Configuration – As shown below in Figures 1 and 2, the X & Y coordinates are achieved through manipulation of a pair of joints on the “arm”, the shoulder of which is mounted to a Z axis orthogonal to the XY plane. Thus, the Z motion commands are the same as with an orthogonal 3 axis system such as a conventional milling machine (and should not need modification). However, the X & Y coordinates must be achieved through rotation of serial joints, a motion system fundamentally different from standard machine tools. ‘ * Summary – Ultimately, the vendor must supply a software/computer/hardware solution capable of the above requirements to fully communicate the interpreted commands from the Vendor provided laptop to the robotic manipulator, resulting in a coherent path followed by the NASA provided manipulator from code generated within a native Pro-E CAM environment. This interface should also have physical switches/knobs/Emergency Off buttons as well for critical operator inputs.

The full integration/assembly/demonstration of the vendor supplied products with the NASA owned robotic manipulator will occur at the Johnson Space Center in Houston Texas and will represent “delivery complete”.

NASA JSC Solicitation: Hardware and Software Supporting the Maker Project

Synopsis – Nov 03, 2009

Solicitation – Posted on Nov 05, 2009

General Information

Solicitation Number: NNJ10316425Q
Posted Date: Nov 03, 2009
FedBizOpps Posted Date: Nov 03, 2009
Recovery and Reinvestment Act Action: No
Original Response Date: Nov 04, 2009
Current Response Date: Nov 13, 2009
Classification Code: A — Research and Development
NAICS Code: 541330 – Engineering Services
Set-Aside Code: Total Small Business

Contracting Office Address

NASA/Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, Houston Texas, 77058-3696, Mail Code: BH


NASA/JSC plans to issue a Request for Quote (RFQ) for HARDWARE AND SOFTWARE SUPPORTING THE MAKER PROJECT, previously synopsized under NNJ09298123Q.

This procurement is being conducted under Simplified Acquisition Procedures (SAP).

The Government does not intend to acquire a commercial item using FAR Part 12. See note 26.

This procurement is a total small business set-aside. See Note 1.

The NAICS Code and Size Standard are 541330 and 27 million, respectively.

The anticipated release date of RFQ NNJ10316425Q is on or about November 4, 2009 with an anticipated quote due date of on or about November 13, 2009.

All responsible sources may submit a quote which shall be considered by the agency.

An ombudsman has been appointed – See NASA Specific Note “B”.

The solicitation and 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/JSC Business Opportunities home page is

Prospective offerors shall notify this office of their intent to submit an offer. It is the offeror’s responsibility to monitor the Internet site for the release of the solicitation and amendments (if any). Potential quoters will be responsible for downloading their own copy of the solicitation and amendments (if any). Any referenced notes may be viewed at the following URLs linked below.

All contractual and technical questions must be submitted in writing via email to not later than 4:00 pm on November 4, 2009. Telephone questions will not be accepted.

Point of Contact

Name: Adrian D. Clayton
Title: Contract Specialist
Phone: 281-483-8498
Fax: 281-244-0995

SpaceRef co-founder, Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA, Away Teams, Journalist, Space & Astrobiology, Lapsed climber.