Press Release

NASA Hosts Media Call on Draft Solicitation for New Class of Launch Services

By SpaceRef Editor
May 7, 2015
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NASA Hosts Media Call on Draft Solicitation for New Class of Launch Services

NASA’s Launch Services Program has issued a draft Request for Proposal (RFP) for a new Venture Class Launch Services (VCLS), which would be commercial launch services for small satellites and experiments on science missions using a smaller than currently available class of rockets.

NASA will host a media teleconference at 1 p.m. EDT Monday, May 11 to discuss this strategic initiative, the RFP and the expectation for this class of launch services.

At present, launch opportunities for small satellites — often called CubeSats or nanosatellites — and small science missions are mostly limited to ride-share type arrangements, flying only when space is available on NASA and other launches. The Launch Services Program seeks to develop alternatives to this approach and help foster other launch services dedicated to transporting smaller payloads into orbit. The services acquired through such a contract will constitute the smallest class of launch services used by NASA.

Participants in the media briefing are:

Mark Wiese, chief, Flight Projects Branch, Launch Services Program Business Office, NASA’s Kennedy Space Center 

Garrett Skrobot, mission manager, Educational Launch of Nanosatellites (ELaNa), Launch Services Program, NASA’s Kennedy Space Center

This solicitation, and resulting contract or contracts, is intended to demonstrate a dedicated launch capability for smaller payloads that NASA anticipates it will require on a recurring basis for future science and CubeSat missions. CubeSats already are used in markets, such as imagery collection and analysis. In the future, CubeSat capabilities will include abilities, such as ship and aircraft tracking, improved weather prediction, and broader Internet coverage.

NASA intends to award one or more firm fixed-price VCLS contracts to accommodate 132 pounds (60 kilograms) of CubeSats a single launch or two launches carrying 66 pounds (30 kilograms) each. The launch provider will determine the launch location and date, but the launch must occur by April 15, 2018.

To listen to the media teleconference, call 321-867-1220, 321-867-1240 or 321-867-1260 or listen online at:

http://www.nasa.gov/newsaudio

Media may participate in the briefing by calling the Kennedy Space Center news center at 321-867-2468 within 15 minutes prior to the start of Monday’s teleconference to obtain a passcode for voice access.

The draft RFP is open for written questions and comments from industry entities until Wednesday, May 20. The final RFP, if issued, is anticipated to be released in June. The draft RFP may be accessed at:

http://go.nasa.gov/1KMTeDR

For more information about NASA’s CubeSat Launch Initiative, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/directorates/heo/home/CubeSats_initiative.html

NASA’s Launch Services Program is focused on assuring the availability of long-term launch services for NASA while also promoting the continued evolution of the U.S. commercial space launch market. The capability anticipated to meet the requirement for a smaller launch vehicle represents an emerging category of launch services. 

For more information about NASA’s Launch Services Program, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/centers/kennedy/launchingrockets/index.html

 

SpaceRef staff editor.