Status Report

NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center Partnering for Early Career Inititiave Proposals

By SpaceRef Editor
June 27, 2014
Filed under , ,

Synopsis – Jun 25, 2014

    Modification 01 – Posted on Jun 25, 2014 New! 

General Information

    Solicitation Number: NND14SA43-RFI

    Posted Date: Jun 25, 2014

    FedBizOpps Posted Date: Jun 25, 2014

    Recovery and Reinvestment Act Action: No

    Original Response Date: Jul 07, 2014

    Current Response Date: Jul 07, 2014

    Classification Code: A — Research and Development

    NAICS Code: 541712


Contracting Office Address

NASA/Armstrong Flight Research Center, Code A, P.O. Box 273, Edwards, CA 93523-0273


NASA/AFRC is hereby soliciting information about potential sources for joint technology hardware development in support of the Early Career Initiative (ECI) Program. These partners will create a joint partnership between the best and brightest of NASA’s early career innovators and the best and brightest innovators in industry, academia, and/or other government and non-profit organizations. This partnering synopsis solicits potential partners to participate in a proposal development activity that addresses the technical objectives and development of a hardware-based technology demonstration in response to an Early Career Initiative (ECI) sponsored by NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate.

The Early Career Initiative is an internal NASA call for space technology development and demonstration proposals that fosters the next step in the professional development of early career NASA technologists by providing cutting edge hands on space technology hardware development opportunities. This initiative promotes creative joint partnering within highly collaborative work environments between the best and brightest NASA early career innovators and the best and brightest innovators in industry, academia and other government organizations.

NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center (AFRC) is seeking partner sources to conduct joint technology hardware development, with AFRC, in support of the Early Career Initiative (ECI) Program. These partners will create a joint partnership between the best and brightest of NASA’s early career innovators and the best and brightest innovators in industry, academia, and/or other government and non-profit organizations.

Proposing teams will include a core team consisting of a no more than eight members total, including NASA and external partner members at least half of which must consist of NASA early career employees. Teams must propose innovative space hardware-focused projects lasting no more than 2 years and costing up to $1M in procurement per year. The general approach will be to employ agile systems engineering methods emphasizing working products, collaboration, iterative, hands-on testing, and responsiveness to change rather than formal process and documentation with milestone-based assessments including a continuation review at the development site and a final presentation to NASA Headquarters. A NASA early career employee must lead the project (Project Lead) but other roles (e.g., Project Manager, Project Scientist) can be filled by team members from NASA or partner.

AFRC is specifically looking for partners in the following Technical Capability areas (not in any priority order):

1. Small launch Space Systems Develop small launch space systems such as horizontal rockets that could launch to orbit small free-flying space platforms (e.g., cuestas, nanosats, picosats).

2. Altitude Compensating Rocket Systems Design, build, and test altitude compensating rocket systems or sub-systems designed to operate the rocket efficiently across a wide range of altitudes. Subsystems such as Altitude Compensating Nozzles are being considered.

3. Aero Gravity Assist Systems Design, build, and test an Aerogravity assist system which uses a close approach to the planet, dipping into the atmosphere, so the spacecraft can also use aerodynamic lift to further curve the trajectory.

4. Launch Vehicle and Spacecraft Adaptive Controls Develop and test adaptive controls architectures speci?cally tailored for application to launch vehicles. Adaptive Controls for launch vehicles would include unique features of the aerospace vehicle, such as control-structure interaction, propellant slosh, sensor performance, and actuator dynamics. In addition, the analysis, veri?cation, and ?ight certi?cation framework for the control system must be addressed.

5. Autonomous Systems AFRC is exploring concepts for advanced autonomous systems and collaborative autonomous operations that could be applied across aerospace vehicles to enhance effectiveness, survivability, and affordability.

6. Autonomy in a Safety Critical Framework Armstrong Flight Research Center is interested in the flight demonstration of high level autonomy in a safety critical framework with applicability to man-rated air and space vehicles. This high level of autonomy is enabled through the use of multiple sensor platforms and algorithms with high computational demands. Increased computational capability through embedded high performance computing and implementation of resource efficient algorithms is needed to support this integration. Research into embedded high performance computing using multi-core processors, FPGA, GPU, DSP and associated development of toolchains and algorithms targeted to these platforms is needed in order to reduce the Size, Weight, and Power (SWaP) of the flight vehicles.

7. Space Weather Systems Design, develop, and test measurement systems to provide the capability for on-demand, validated, and archived radiation measurements related to human tissue and avionics silicon upset concerns.

8. Electromagnetically Boosted Rockets One possible solution is to use an electromagnetic linear motor boost system to supplement the use of first stage booster rockets and rocket clusters. China Lake is currently advocating to NAVAIR to initiate a study of long term capital costs and recurring system operational costs of the use of an electromagnetic linear motor booster system for their rocket sled tracks as compared to the long term operational system costs of moving to a newer line of booster rocket production.

Additionally proposed areas of investigation should be aligned with the technology challenges identified in the NASAs Space Technology Roadmaps. The Space Technology Roadmaps can be found at: es/oct/home/roadmaps/index.html

Capability information to be provided: Potential partners are requested to provide information that evidences their ability to conduct or provide technology development in any or all of the above areas. Each capability statement submitted should be limited to four pages. Note: Partners must state clearly in the title of their submission which of the five technical areas listed above they are responding to. Each submission should be limited to one technical area, as defined above. Partners may submit more than one capability statement.

Partner Selection Criteria: Partner selections will be made by AFRC based on the below criteria:

1. Innovativeness and cutting edge impact of the proposed specific joint technology development in the designated AFRC area.

2. Qualifications of the proposer for technology development in the designated AFRC area. This information will be evaluated for currency as well as excellence.

3. Unique, distinctive or propriety methods, codes, or facilities for support in the designated AFRC area. This information will be evaluated for currency as well as excellence.

4. Information regarding past performance, e.g. list of contracts, grants and other work completed which are similar to the proposed technology topic(s). This information will be evaluated to determine the proposers responsibility and capability.

5. Agility of the external partner team, e.g ability to form a small team of no more than 4 people to perform the work.

Period of Performance: it is anticipated that AFRC PI-submitted proposals will be reviewed and ranked by the end of August 2014, through a NASA AFRC internal review process. The selected proposals will be submitted to NASA HQ. Selection of the winning 2-3 proposals is anticipated to be made by NASA HQ by the end of September 2014. As such, partners should anticipate that the awards will be made in October 2014, and that the work will commence immediately. The joint work is for a period of two years, with no more than $500,000 per year to the partner. At the end of the first year a mid-term review of the progress made will be conducted by NASA HQ to assess whether the second year funding should be granted. Partners must be available to work on joint projects from October 2014 to December 2016.

RESPONSE INSTRUCTIONS: Due Date: All responses shall be submitted in Word or PDF format to AFRC electronically via email by 4:00pm PST on Monday July 7, 2014 to

Required Information: Complete attached cover page with name and address of organization; name of point of contact, address, email address, and phone number. Which technical capability area the responder is interested in. Cover page is not included in the page count. Note: Please write in the email subject line NASA AFRC ECI Sources Sought. AFRC Selection Rights: AFRC reserves the right to complete its evaluation of responses for each planned announcement in a time frame necessary to support timely submission of any AFRC proposal. AFRC reserves the right to hold oral presentations or written email exchanges with potential proposal partners to obtain additional information prior to selection.

Information Protection: NASA support service contractors may have access to partner submittals. All information received in response to this notice that is marked Proprietary will be handled and protected accordingly. NASA support service contractors are under an obligation to keep third-party proprietary information in confidence. By submitting a response to this notice, the responder is deemed to have consented to release of proprietary data to such NASA support service contractors.

Return Policy: Responses to this notice will not be returned. Response and proposal costs will not be reimbursed: This Sources Sought opportunity does not guarantee selection for award, nor is it to be construed as a commitment by NASA to pay for the information solicited. It is expected that the partner(s)selected to develop ECI proposals would provide (at no cost to NASA) conceptual designs, technical data, proposal input, project schedules, and cost estimates as required. NASA will not reimburse organizations for the cost of submitting information in response to this Sources Sought. NASA will not pay for proposal preparation costs incurred by the partners.

No solicitation exists: This is not a solicitation, so do not request a copy. However, if a prospective partner is selected for participation in the subsequent FY14 AFRC ECI solicitation, it will be so notified and all necessary communications will occur at that time by the proposing NASA Armstrong PI.

Please direct all questions to: Please advise if the requirement is considered to be a commercial or commercial-type product. A commercial item is defined in FAR 2.101.

All responses shall be submitted to: no later than July 7, 2014. Please reference NNC14ZT0011L and NASA AFRC ECI Sources Sought in the subject line of any response. Any referenced notes may be viewed at the following URLs linked below. es/oct/home/roadmaps/index.html 

Point of Contact

    Name: Rosalia Toberman

    Title: Contracting Officer

    Phone: 661-276-3931

    Fax: 661-276-2904



SpaceRef staff editor.