Press Release

NASA Solicits Input for Commercial Space Transportation Services

By SpaceRef Editor
August 7, 2007
Filed under , ,
NASA Solicits Input for Commercial Space Transportation Services

WASHINGTON – On Tuesday NASA issued a Request for Information soliciting ideas and feedback to help shape the plan to procure safe, cost effective, and reliable logistics services to the International Space Station and other payload launch services.

Sponsored by NASA’s Space Operations Mission Directorate, this request seeks input from companies that are working to provide commercial transportation services to space. This information will be used to help structure future commercial launch services contracts as well as the second phase of the Commercial Orbital Transportation Services initiative to acquire commercial cargo services to the station after the space shuttle’s retirement in 2010.

Responders are asked to provide information and feedback, including:

– a description of the service provider’s current and planned capability,

– existing NASA policies on certification and oversight of launch vehicles,

– any improvements NASA can make in commercial transportation services contract structures that would provide incentives, and

– recommendations on commercial contract terms and conditions.

Comments should be sent to Celeste Dalton at by Sept. 7. To view the Request for Information, visit:

For information about the International Space Station, visit:

NASA HQ Solicitation: Request for Information for Commercial Space Transportation Services

Synopsis – Aug 07, 2007

Reference Documents – Posted on Aug 07, 2007

General Information

Solicitation Number: RFI-HQ-CSTS
Posted Date: Aug 07, 2007
FedBizOpps Posted Date: Aug 07, 2007
Original Response Date: Sep 07, 2007
Current Response Date: Sep 07, 2007
Classification Code: V — Transportation, travel, and relocation services
NAICS Code: 336414 – Guided Missile and Space Vehicle Manufacturing

Contracting Office Address

NASA Headquarters, Office of Procurement, Mail Code LH020, 300 E Street SW, Washington, DC 20546-0001


NASA seeks information from industry to assist in addressing global issues affecting the Agency’s overall strategy for Commercial Space Transportation Services. The information will facilitate acquisition planning for future procurements. The primary purpose of this RFI is to collect information on key parameters that would help NASA refine and mature the acquisition plan for procuring safe, cost effective, and reliable ISS logistics re-supply services. The information will assist in Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) Phase 2 planning. This information will also be used for future acquisition planning for other payloads to orbit.

ISS Requirements:

1. Cargo Delivery and Return/Disposal Capability — Typical missions could include delivery to the International Space Station (ISS) of approximately 2000 – 3000 Kilograms (Kg) of pressurized and/or un-pressurized cargo with the first mission needed as early as last quarter FY2010. Cargo disposal and/or return capability is also desired. A portion of the cargo delivery, return/disposal complement will not be determined until a short period of time prior to launch. Typical cargo characteristics are provided as a reference. NASA is also interested in delivery and return/disposal capability that does not specifically match the described mission.

2. Rendezvous, Proximity Operations and On Orbit attached Operations — Transportation will include rendezvous and proximity operations for docking/berthing to the ISS and on orbit attached operations. The provider will, at a minimum, need to meet the ISS COTS Interface Requirements Document, SSP 50808, for these activities.

3. Launch and On Orbit Support Services — Several mission services will be required for the end to end ISS resupply mission. These will include standard services at the launch and landing sites for manifest specific cargo processing that could include offline laboratories, oxygen, nitrogen, and water; standard ground support equipment required to load pressurized and un-pressurized cargo; flight support equipment to accommodate pressurized and un-pressurized cargo on the vehicle providing resupply services to the ISS; and contractor provided operations control centers needed for launch and on orbit operations.

Future Payload to Orbit Requirements:

— Typical missions could include delivery of approximately 1600 – 3000 Kg payload to a circular sun-synchronous orbit at an altitude of 675 Kilometers. NASA is also interested in delivery capability that does not specifically match the described mission.

Responders are invited to provide information regarding transportation capabilities that meet the NASA requirements noted above. Provide any clarification on cost, technical, or schedule drivers or restrictions, and any suggestions to improve mission flexibility and reliability.

NASA is specifically requesting the following information:

1. Company Information

a. Company name, point of contact name, phone number, e-mail address.
b. Major development activities underway related to this transportation service.
c. Provide sufficient information to determine if your company qualifies as a United States commercial provider of space transportation services as defined in Public Law 105-303, Commercial Space Act of 1998, meets the U.S. National Space Transportation Policy of 2004, and the Iran-Syria Non Proliferation Act.

2. ISS Cargo/Re-supply Transportation Services Capability

Provide a description of current and planned capability:

a. Launch site/infrastructure – include launch and landing sites.
b. Production/annual launch capability – include general description of manufacturing/production template, vehicle processing flows and turnaround, and number of flights and upmass/downmass that optimally may be accommodated in a year.
c. Plan and schedule for demonstrating commercial space transportation services, including orbital rendezvous/proximity operations, and operational readiness to provide these services to the public and private sectors. Indicate whether your interest is as a prime or subcontractor.
d. Estimated lead time from mission authorization to proceed (ATP) to launch.
e. Facilities and corresponding acquisition plans.

3. Safety, Programmatic, and Technical Risk

a. Describe the safety, programmatic, and technical risks you consider to be the drivers from a program execution perspective and any mitigating actions that may be appropriate for NASA to consider in its planning.
b. Provide suggestions for accommodating launch date flexibility (i.e., late determination of launch date, changes in launch date, etc.) and specific cargo manifest changes while minimizing cost impacts.
c. Provide feedback on the application of, or elements within, the following NASA policy directives – NPD 8610.7, Launch Services Risk Mitigation Policy for NASA-Owned and/or NASA-Sponsored Payloads/Missions and NPD 8610.23, Launch Vehicle Technical Oversight Policy ( What is NASA doing, as a result of these policies, that could be changed or eliminated without increasing launch risk? What items are driving service cost without adding significant benefit? Discuss risks and benefits to NASA and the supplier for any of your proposed changes in these oversight/insight policies.
d. Suggest ways NASA can incentivize a service supplier to provide safe, cost effective, and reliable services.

4. Acquisition Terms and Conditions

Responders are invited to provide suggestions on what terms and conditions are beneficial for industry and NASA for this service.

a. Describe and provide rationale for the desired type of pricing in a fixed price service contract (e.g., fixed price by launch vehicle class, fixed price per mass or volume or other unit measure of payload capacity). Address any known or potential risks associated with your recommended arrangement and provide any appropriate mitigation techniques.
b. Suggest terms and conditions to implement the incentive approaches described in your response to Section 3.
c. Provide comments on unique ways mission success could be measured for ISS cargo missions. Note: Due to on orbit timeline constraints, specific cargo condition may not be immediately verified upon receipt on the ISS.
d. Provide recommendations regarding payment schedules, milestone events, and any related cash flow implications.
e. Provide recommendations for commercial service contract terms and conditions (e.g., IDIQ versus firm and/or optional requirements, termination for cause and convenience provisions, liability, insurance, warranties and intellectual property rights).

5. Background

The historical documents listed below reflect NASA activities to date that are related to a wide variety of Space Transportation Services. The documents are listed and attached for reference purposes only and they may be used to obtain additional information on COTS Phase 1, ISS cargo requirements, and NASA commercial launch services.

1. COTS Phase 1 Announcement
2. COTS Phase 1 Space Act Agreements
3. ISS Cargo characteristics
4. NASA Launch Services Request for Proposal, Rev. B

Response Preparation and Transmittal:

This is a request for information only. It is not a procurement, commitment to procure these services, or request for proposals. NASA will not reimburse any costs incurred for preparation or submission of information in response to this RFI.

NASA reserves the right to share all information received in response to this RFI throughout NASA and to use all information submitted in response to this RFI in NASA’s formulation of one or more solicitations seeking competitive proposals on contracts for or related to the requirements described herein. However, any competition sensitive data should be clearly marked. Although information contained herein represents current program content and acquisition planning, it is subject to change.

Questions concerning this RFI shall be submitted via email to Celeste Dalton at Electronic submission of the responses is due close of business September 7, 2007 to Questions and responses shall reference this RFI. Please limit responses to 20 pages or less.

Point of Contact

Name: Celeste Dalton
Title: Procurement Analyst
Phone: 202-358-1645
Fax: 000-000-0000

SpaceRef staff editor.