Status Report

Integration and Operation of the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) Project Ground System

By SpaceRef Editor
February 4, 2003
Filed under ,

General Information

  • Document Type: Sources Sought Notice
  • Solicitation Number: SDO-0003-GDJ
  • Posted Date: Feb 03, 2003
  • Original Response Date: Mar 05, 2003
  • Original Archive Date: Feb 03, 2004
  • Current Archive Date:
  • Classification Code: 99 — Miscellaneous

Contracting Office Address

NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, Code 210.S, Greenbelt, MD 20771


NASA/GSFC is hereby soliciting information for potential sources for the development, integration and operation of the SDO ground system. SDO is the first mission under the Living with a Star (LWS) Program as part of the Sun Earth Connection. SDO will be made up of several instruments seeking to characterize the dynamic state of the Sun, thus enhancing our understanding of the solar process and space weather.

SDO is viewed as a follow on to the highly successful Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) mission. SDO will be a three-axis stabilized satellite in a circular geosynchronous orbit of ~105 degrees longitude, having an inclination of 28.5 degrees, and an orbit altitude of 21,700 miles (35000 Km). SDO will also have a mission life of 5 years. SDO will provide a continuous downlink of high rate data (150-200 Mbps) stream. The science and housekeeping data will be electronically distributed to the Science Operation Centers (SOCs) in real-time.

There will be a temporary data storage capability at the SDO ground station for the purpose of buffering data in cases of equipment failure or other unforeseen problems on the ground. The SDO Project is interested in procuring services for the development, integration, and operation of the SDO Ground System, located at Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC), Maryland, with an extension at the White Sands Complex (WSC), New Mexico. The areas included in this notice include: Mission Operations Center (MOC), RF Compatibility Testing and Verification, Spacecraft Integration and Testing support, Flight Operations, and End-to-End Test support. The Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) ground data system (GDS) will consist of a dedicated pair of ground stations capable of Ka-band downlink and S-band uplink and downlink, a Data Distribution System (DDS), a Mission Operations Center (MOC) and three Science Operations Centers (SOC), one for each of the SDO instrument groups. All science telemetry will be downlinked in the Ka-band frequency and captured at the dedicated ground stations. The DDS, located in the vicinity of the ground stations, will distribute the science data to the respective SOC. Spacecraft and instrument engineering telemetry will be downlinked in the S-band frequency and sent directly to the MOC, located at GSFC. The MOC will be responsible for forwarding instrument engineering telemetry to the respective SOCs. Instrument commands will be generated by the SOCs and forwarded to the MOC for uplink to the observatory. The DDS is responsible for a short-term archive of science telemetry. The MOC is responsible for the permanent engineering archive. The SOCs are responsible for the long-term archive of the science data. The MOC is comprised of several subsystems that exchange products with the SOCs. ? The Telemetry and Command (T&C) system, also referred as the “real-time” system. This is the MOC subsystem that supports the Observatory health and safety functions, receiving housekeeping telemetry, processing it to monitor the spacecraft status, and providing the command generation capabilities. ? The Mission Planning System ingests operating plans (i.e.normal operations or maneuvers) and generates corresponding timelines and commanding sequences. ? Unique to this mission’s operations and integration will be the inclusion of a remote control interface to both the ground station(s) and the data distribution center located outside of GSFC and the GSFC institutional system. ? The Trending System: this subsystem is also primarily used by the FOT to trend and analyze selected telemetry parameters. Reports may also be provided to the SOCs, if desired. ? The Flight Dynamics System (FDS).

This subsystem provides several attitude and orbit data products to the SOCs. The Data Distribution System (DDS), located in the Data Distribution Center (DDC) at the antenna site, in WSC, NM. This system provides the interface for science telemetry, distributing the data to each SOC using a high speed network to Stanford, CA, University of Colorado, and Naval Research Lab, in Washington, D.C. The DDS will support retransmission of data if line outages occur. The SDO Ka/S-band antennas will be located at WSC to support continuous downlink of science and spacecraft housekeeping data. The proposed antennas will support near continuous operations for the life of the SDO mission. SDO plans to use a combined Flight Operations/Integration and Test Team to Maximize the reuse of personnel between the development and operations phases. Integration and Test activities will start during component development and will include: development of test scripts and procedures, development of display pages, assist in development of the command and telemetry database, provide recommendations back to government engineers on viability of tests, and support launch preparations. Operations activities will also start during the development phase, with the FOT participation in health and safety monitoring of the observatory, operations support to maintain mission orbit, command management, analyze telemetry on daily basis, and ensure that anomalous conditions are resolved. The FOT will consist of highly experienced engineers capable of operating, testing and maintaining Observatory and its subsystems. The RF Compatibility Testing may require the contractor to travel between GSFC and WSC, NM. The entire system requires acceptance testing, end-to-end testing and certification of ground system components in preparation for an August 2007 launch data. Many key positions on the MOC, Antenna, and Data Distribution Center development teams may require, at a minimum, a Secret Clearance. The Integration and Operations RFI covers does not cover the implementation of the Antenna Facility and Data Distribution System. No solicitation exists; therefore, do not request a copy of the solicitation.

If a solicitation is released it will be synopsized in FedBizOpps and on the NASA Acquisition Internet Service.

It is the potential offerors responsibility to monitor these cites for the release of any solicitation or synopsis. However, there are some questions that need to be answered in order for SDO to proceed with this procurement:

1) Are there companies that have access to resources or services that provide a complete Development, Integration and Operations service?

2) Does your company have access to commercial network providers for high speed data distribution (i.e. 150Mbps ? 200Mbps)

3) Are there concerns in operating/managing a large development effort such as this and what may be a strategy to implementing the SDO ground system. (Explain)

4) Will a strategy address some of the operational reliability, robustness and allow for flexibility for growth and evolution; and can you describe how your company may incorporate NASA furnished systems into your strategy. (Explain)

5) Will a strategy address how you would automate the MOC for lights out operation or how you would leverage NASA systems to assist you in developing a lights out environment. (Explain)

Sources with information relevant to this request are asked to respond by submitting a white paper of no more than twelve (12) pages which address the above questions. Comments and questions regarding this solicitation are always encouraged and solicited. The SDO Project encourages responses from industry that have expertise in space flight systems integration. The responses should demonstrate the technical feasibility, operability, reliability, and simplicity of their services. T

he information received in response to this announcement will be reviewed and summarized by a panel of government and industry experts. Some or part of the summarized and synthesized recommendations may or may not form the basis of a future NASA solicitation. Interested offerors/vendors having the required specialized capabilities to meet the above requirement should include the following information indicating the ability to perform all aspects of the effort described herein.

Responses must include the following: name and address of firm, size of business; average annual revenue for past 3 years and number of employees; ownership; whether they are large, small, small disadvantaged, 8(a), HUBZone, and/or woman-owned; number of years in business; affiliate information: parent company, joint venture partners, potential teaming partners, prime contractor (if potential sub) or subcontractors (if potential prime); list of customers covering the past five years (highlight relevant work performed, contract numbers, contract type, dollar value of each procurement; and point of contact – address and phone number). If you respond via regular mail or fax, please provide an electronic copy in Microsoft Word format in addition to the printed version of your submission.

Technical and procurement questions should be directed as described below: Technical Questions: William J. Potter Address: Mail Stop 586.0, NASA/GSFC, Greenbelt, Maryland 20771 E-mail: Voice: (301) 614-5343 Fax: (301) 286-7153 Procurement Questions: Carlos R. McKenzie Address: Mail Stop 464, NASA/GSFC, Greenbelt, Maryland 20771 E-mail: All information received from will be combined and used for government procurement and planning purposes. Sources are urged to describe their approach in enough detail so that NASA can plan for subsequent proposal opportunities for which proprietary information is appropriate. Please advise if the requirement is considered to be a commercial or commercial-type product. A commercial item is defined in Internet “Note A”. [INTERNET ONLY (commercial product definition)]

This synopsis is for information and planning purposes and is not to be construed as a commitment by the Government nor will the Government pay for information solicited. Respondents will not be notified of the results of the evaluation. Respondents deemed fully qualified will be considered in any resultant solicitation for the requirement. The Government reserves the right to consider a small business or 8(a) set-aside based on responses hereto. All responses shall be submitted to Mr. William Potter to the address indicated above, no later than date established above. In responding reference SDO-0002-GDJ. Any referenced notes can be viewed at the following URL:

Original Point of Contact

Carlos R McKenzie, Contracting Officer, Phone (301) 286-0599, Fax (301) 286-0214, Email

Email your questions to Carlos R McKenzie at

SpaceRef staff editor.