Status Report

NASA ARC Soliciation: TPS For Mars Entry Descent and Landing Round 2 Phase 1

By SpaceRef Editor
December 4, 2010
Filed under , ,

Synopsis – Nov 24, 2010

General Information

Solicitation Number: NNA11366031Q
Posted Date: Nov 24, 2010
FedBizOpps Posted Date: Nov 24, 2010
Recovery and Reinvestment Act Action: No
Original Response Date: Dec 09, 2010
Current Response Date: Dec 09, 2010
Classification Code: A — Research and Development
NAICS Code: 336419 – Other Guided Missile and Space Vehicle Parts and Auxiliary Equipment Manufacturing

Contracting Office Address

NASA/Ames Research Center, JA:M/S 241-1, Moffett Field, CA 94035-1000


NASA Ames Research Center (ARC) plans to issue a Request for Quotes (RFQ) for Thermal Protection Systems (TPS) materials (Round 2, Phase 1) for the Mars Entry, Descent, and Landing (EDL) Technology Development Project (TDP).

In October 2009, NASA’s Exploration Technology Development Program (ETDP) established the EDL TDP, to be managed programmatically at Langley Research Center (LaRC) and technically at ARC. The purpose of the project is to further the technologies required to land heavy (~40 metric ton) masses on Mars to facilitate exploration. The EDL TDP contains four technical elements. They are 1) Flexible Deployable Thermal Protection Systems (F-TPS) development; 2) Modeling and Tools (MAT) development; 3) Supersonic Retropropulsion (SRP) development; and 4) Rigid Thermal Protection Systems (R-TPS). The primary goals of the EDL TDP TPS elements are to design and develop TPS materials capable of withstanding the severe aerothermal loads associated with aerocapture and entry into the Martian atmosphere while significantly decreasing the TPS mass fraction contribution to the entry system on either a flexible, deployable system or a rigid system. Significant advancements in flexible and rigid ablative TPS materials technology are needed in order to enable heavy mass payloads to be successfully landed on the Martian surface for robotic precursor and subsequent human exploration missions.

In February 2010 NASA released Request for Quotations (RFQ) # NNA10323994Q for EDL TDP TPS materials for NASA testing. As a result of that RFQ, four non-commercial, firm fixed price purchase orders were awarded to four vendors. That round of testing will be referred to as Round 1, Phase 1. TPS materials were delivered to NASA, and testing of those Phase 1 materials is now complete. Depending upon NASA resources, a down-selection process may occur to select some of those materials for Round 1, Phase 2 NASA testing in early 2011.

For Round 2, Phase 1, the subject of this synopsis, NASA intends to conduct another round of Phase 1 testing of promising EDL TDP TPS materials that could ultimately meet the stringent requirements for Mars aerocapture and entry. This procurement will consist of screening tests of multiple flexible and rigid ablative TPS materials from multiple vendors within a detailed trade study framework in order to advance promising concepts to Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 5 or 6 by 2014. All TPS vendors with materials that meet the requirements of the Statement of Work are eligible to submit a proposal for Round 2, Phase 1, including, but not limited to: vendors that submitted a proposal but were not selected for Round 1, Phase 1; vendors that participated in Round 1, Phase 1 and have subsequently modified their Phase 1 TPS material; or new vendors who did not participate in the Round 1, Phase 1 procurement.

NASA plans that Round 1 and Round 2 (and perhaps additional Rounds) will be conducted in parallel, each having several down-selection phases, culminating in a final merging of all late-phase rounds to select the most appropriate flexible and rigid ablative TPS materials required for NASA missions.

For Round 2, NASA intends to conduct a Phased Acquisition Using Down-Selection Procedures in accordance with NASA FAR Subpart (NFS) 1817.73 Phased Acquisitions. This presolicitation notice constitutes the required synopsis for Round 2, Phase 1. The formal solicitation is expected to be released to industry in mid-December 2010. To be considered for a Round 2, Phase 1 award, offerors will demonstrate capability to perform all phases of this Procurement.

In accordance with NFS 1817.7301-4(a) Synopsis, the following information applies to this phased acquisition process:

(1) For Round 2, the Government plans to conduct a phased acquisition involving a competitive down-selection process, as follows:

Round 2, Phase 1 is for delivery of TPS material coupons that will be described in the Statement of Work – Round 2, Phase 1, to be posted with the solicitation. NASA will perform a variety of tests on these submitted coupons, and results of the testing will be evaluated as part of the down-selection to Round 2, Phase 2.

Round 2, Phase 2 is planned for continued testing, development, and extending the TRL for rigid ablator materials and deployable ablator materials. The down-selection to Round 2, Phase 2 is expected to be late FY2011.

Round 2, Phase 3 is planned for continued development and further characterization of rigid ablator and deployable ablator materials. The down-selection to Round 2, Phase 3 is expected to be about FY2012.

Round 2, Phase 4 is expected to culminate in FY2014 with a final merging of all late-phase rounds to select the most appropriate flexible and rigid ablative TPS materials required for NASA missions.

(2) Competitions for subsequent phases of Round 2 will build on the results of previous phases.

(3) The award criteria for subsequent phases of Round 2 will include demonstrated completion of specified previous phase requirements.

(4) The Government expects that only the initial phase contractors of Round 2 will be capable of successfully competing for the subsequent phase(s). Proposals for the subsequent phase(s) will be requested from these contractors.

(5) The Government intends to issue a new, formal solicitation for subsequent phases of Round 2.

(6) Each subsequent phase of the Round 2 acquisition will be synopsized in accordance with FAR 5.201 and 5.203.

(7) Notwithstanding the expectation that only the initial phase Round 2 contractors will be capable of successfully competing for the subsequent phase(s), proposals from all responsible sources submitted by the specified due date will be considered. In order to contend for subsequent phase awards, however, such prospective offerors must demonstrate a design maturity equivalent to that of the prior phase contractors. Failure to fully and completely demonstrate the appropriate level of design maturity may render the proposal unacceptable with no further consideration for contract award.

(8) Each subsequent synopsis during this Round 2 process will identify the current phase contractors.

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

NASA/ARC is planning to award multiple non-commercial purchase orders for Round 2, Phase 1. The Round 2, Phase 1 procurement will be conducted in accordance with FAR Part 13, Simplified Acquisition Procedures. Depending upon NASA resouces, later phases are expected to include more complex requirements, may have higher contract values, with longer periods of performances, and may be conducted in accordance with FAR Part 15, Contracting by Negotiation.

The tentative TPS for MARS EDL Round 2, Phase 1 schedule is: * Issuance of Synopsis – November 24, 2010; * Issuance of RFQ# NNA11366031Q – mid December 2010; * Proposals Due – 15 days following issuance of solicitation; * Multiple Purchase Orders awarded early-mid January 2011.

All contractual and/or technical questions must be submitted in writing (e-mail preferred) by 4:00 pm Pacific Time, December 9, 2010. Telephone questions will not be accepted. Please address any comments or questions to: Marianne Shelley, NASA Ames Research Center. Email: Any responses to questions submitted will be posted at this website as a modification to this synopsis or the resulting RFQ.

The Government does not intend to acquire a commercial item using FAR Part 12. The NAICS Code is 336419 – Other Guided Missile and Space Vehicle Parts and Auxiliary Equipment Manufacturing with Size Standard: 1000 employees.

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

NASA Clause 1852.215-84, Ombudsman, is applicable. The installation Ombudsman is: Mr. Lewis S. Braxton III, Deputy Center Director, P. O. Box 1, Moffett Field, CA 94035-0001. Telephone: (650) 604-5068 Fax: (650) 604-0031 or (650) 604-1668 Email:

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 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).

Information about major upcoming ARC procurement actions is available at

Point of Contact

Name: Marianne Shelley
Title: Contracting Officer
Phone: 650-604-4179
Fax: 650-604-3020

Name: Rachel Khattab
Title: Contracting Officer
Phone: 650-604-5237
Fax: 650-604-3020

SpaceRef staff editor.