Status Report

Lunar Science Program: International Lunar Network Mission Subsystem Component

By SpaceRef Editor
May 1, 2008
Filed under , , ,

Synopsis – Apr 29, 2008

Appendix J. Technology Readiness Levels (TRLs) – Posted on Apr 29, 2008 New!

General Information

Solicitation Number: N/A
Reference Number: RFI-04-28-2008
Posted Date: Apr 29, 2008
FedBizOpps Posted Date: Apr 29, 2008
Original Response Date: May 14, 2008
Current Response Date: May 14, 2008
Classification Code: 99 — Miscellaneous
NAICS Code: 334511 – Search, Detection, Navigation, Guidance, Aeronautical, and Nautical System and Instrument Manufacturing

Contracting Office Address

NASA/George C. Marshall Space Flight Center, Procurement Office, Marshall Space Flight Center, AL 35812


This notice is issued by the NASA/MSFC to post a Request for Information (RFI) via the internet, and solicit responses from interested parties. This document is for information and planning purposes and to allow industry the opportunity to verify reasonableness and feasibility of the requirement, as well as promote competition.

The NASA Science Mission Directorate (SMD) has directed the Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) and the Johns Hopkins University’s Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) to implement one of what is expected to be a series of missions to put in place an International Lunar Network (ILN). Hence, the Government is requesting information pertaining to existing subsystems and/or other component elements that are capable of transporting and delivering science instrument packages to the lunar surface. The term “existing” refers to hardware development levels equivalent to flight spares, engineering units, and/or high technology readiness level (TRL3 or greater) hardware that could be flight qualified and flown as part of the ILN, anticipated for launch in the 2012-2014 time-frame. In the event that flight spares or engineering units are not available, the Government is also interested in “build to print” or “scaleable” possibilities from existing flight hardware. Hardware that would deliver science instrument packages to the lunar surface, hereafter referred to as “landers”, would include such things as penetrators and hard or soft landers. The Government is also interested in other innovative existing hardware solutions extensible to the placement of science instrument packages on the lunar surface.

The short development schedule and limited budget preclude extensive lander or technology development. Hence, NASA mission planners must focus on mature, functioning hardware, including flight spares from other missions, engineering units of existing flight hardware, or high TRL hardware that can easily be flight qualified, “built to print”, or that require limited additional development. Please see the document (NPR 7120.8 App J – TRL Definitions.pdf) accompanying this RFI on FedBizOpps for definitions of hardware and technology readiness levels.

The ILN represents a series of US and International Partner provided surface packages (sensing nodes), which act as common science nodes in a lunar geophysical network that will address Agency science goals. The NASA SMD expects that each node in ILN will provide a minimum core suite of two instruments and will include a lander to deliver these nodes to the lunar surface. Additional measurements and/or instruments may be accommodated provided adequate mass, power and budget margins exist. The mission addressed by this RFI encompasses two landers (i.e., anchor nodes). These first two nodes of the ILN will likely be placed at high lunar latitudes.

The landers are expected to be small. For planning and RFI purposes, the following represent approximate anticipated payload/instrument accommodation considerations and constraints that will be used to assess lander capability and sizing applicability.

Mass: 25-50 kg Power: 1 W continuous, 2 W peak G-Load: 40 g Data Rate: 100 Mbits per Earth day (transmitted or stored)

Note: This RFI ONLY pertains to delivery/lander hardware. Information on potential science instruments is NOT requested.

The total life cycle budget for this ILN mission, through phase E, is based on a low cost small class launch vehicle. However, the specific launch vehicle for this mission has not yet been determined. Therefore, the precise mass available for landers and payloads is not yet known, as this will depend on specific launch vehicle capabilities. Trade studies of payload delivery options are currently underway.

The NASA/MSFC has issued this RFI to survey the planetary science community and other commercial or government interests for existing flight or near flight subsystem and/or component hardware that can support the science objectives of the ILN mission.

It is not NASA’s intent to publicly disclose proprietary information obtained during this RFI. To the full extent that it is protected pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act and other laws and regulations, information identified by a respondent as “Proprietary or Confidential” will be treated as such. Personnel from the Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) at Johns Hopkins University may be involved in activities related to this RFI. Any APL personnel given access to information provided to NASA in response to this RFI will be bound by Non-Disclosure Agreement.

This RFI is for information and acquisition planning 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. This is NOT a request for proposals or notice of solicitation – no solicitation related to this RFI currently exists. If a solicitation is released, it will be synopsized in FedBizOpps and on the NASA Acquisition Internet Service.

Depending on the response, NASA may consider a one-day workshop for responders to present and discuss their submissions both in an open forum and, potentially, in a confidential setting.

Requested Information

Responses to this RFI shall be in the form of a PDF document that is emailed to Responses should not exceed five (5) pages in length and must contain the following information:

1. Name of respondent and contact information (institutional affiliation, email address, phone number, etc.); 2. Capabilities and qualifications statement that addresses the respondent’s ability to actually provide the hardware as identified above; 3. A description of the hardware, how it functions and how it supports the objectives of the ILN mission; 4. A color photograph of the hardware (brassboard, engineering unit, flight unit, etc.); 5. A description of the hardware volume, and power requirements and any relevant constraints or limitations; 6. A description of payload accommodations – mass, volume and power and any other relevant constraints or limitations; 7. The current status of the hardware, including TRL, the conditions/environments under which the hardware has been tested and/or used. (e.g. radiation hardened, life limited, qualified to industry/company standards or hybrid, special infrastructure required)

Comments may be forwarded to Melnda E. Dodson by email at or by facsimile transmission at 256-961-7723.

This presolicitation synopsis is not to be construed as a commitment by the Government, nor will the Government pay for the information submitted in response. Respondents will not be notified of the results.

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/MSFC Business Opportunities home page is It is the offeror’s responsibility to monitor the Internet cite for the release of the solicitation and amendments (if any). Potential offerors 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.

Point of Contact

Name: Melinda E. Dodson
Title: Contracting Officer
Phone: 256-961-7454
Fax: 256-961-7524

Name: Melinda E. Dodson
Title: Contracting Officer
Phone: 256-961-7454
Fax: 256-961-7524

SpaceRef staff editor.