Status Report

NASA GRC Solicitation: Seeking Partners for Science Investigations and Research Activities

By SpaceRef Editor
June 6, 2012
Filed under , ,

Synopsis – Jun 06, 2012

General Information

Solicitation Number: NNC12ZRB025L
Posted Date: Jun 06, 2012
FedBizOpps Posted Date: Jun 06, 2012
Recovery and Reinvestment Act Action: No
Original Response Date: Jul 20, 2012
Current Response Date: Jul 20, 2012
Classification Code: A — Research and Development
NAICS Code: 541711

Contracting Office Address

NASA/Glenn Research Center, 21000 Brookpark Road, Cleveland, OH 44135


This notice is issued by the NASA/GRC to post a request for partners 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.

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.

NASA Clause 1852.215-84, Ombudsman, is applicable. The Center Ombudsman for this acquisition can be found at .

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/GRC 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.

NASA Glenn Research Center (GRC) is seeking partners who can perform science investigations, research activities, technology development and demonstrations, and are interested in developing competitive proposals with GRC in response to various NASA and other Government agency solicitations. Information is also sought on potential partners that, in addition to performing substantial research, can provide hardware, equipment or instrumentation necessary to implement future missions. Anticipated solicitations include those issued through the NASA Announcement of Opportunity (AO) process used to implement science investigations and missions, potential solicitations from the Office of the Chief Technologist, and solicitations from other Government agencies.

Under the NASA Announcement of Opportunity process, a single Principal Investigator (PI), Principle or Principal Technologist (PT) or Project Manager (PM) leads a mission/investigation team. The PI, PT or PM may be from any category of Government or non-Government institution, including educational institutions, industry, not-for-profit institutions, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, as well as NASA Centers and other U.S. Government Agencies. Participation by non-U.S. organizations is welcome but subject to NASA’s policy of no exchange of funds, in which each government supports its own national participants and associated costs. GRC may respond to an AO or other agency call in either a lead or support role. A full description of all Announcement of Opportunities can be found at . Additional information about the Science Program at NASA can be found at .

The NASA Office of the Chief Technologist issues solicitations seeking executive summaries, white papers, and proposals for research and development (R&D) as well as demonstration programs under their Early Stage Innovation, Game Changing Technology and Crosscutting Capability Demos. All programs are seeking capabilities that address the NASA draft Space Technology Roadmaps that can be found at .

The NASA Science Mission Directorate issues solicitation through Research Opportunities in Space and Earth Sciences (ROSES) which can be found at {4DF6A47E-EDC1-20F2-11FB-8BDF6890024A}&path=open. The relevant areas of interest to this solicitation include cosmochemistry, planetary geology, planetary atmosphere, and exoplanets research.

GRC is specifically looking to partner in the following areas of materials and structures for extreme environment research and technology development. More information on GRC capabilities in these areas can be found at .

– Multifunctional Materials and Structures: Future lightweight space structures will require structural concepts using advanced materials that will have at least one more capability in addition to carrying the load (e.g., combination of load bearing and thermal management capabilities, or combination of load bearing and energy storage/power generation capabilities, or combination of load bearing and radiation protection capability). Specific areas of interest include design and development of structural concepts with load bearing and one or more of the following capabilities: (1) energy storage capability, e.g., multifunctional batteries, (2) thermal management, (3) thermal protection, (4) radiation protection, (5) structural health management, (6) micrometeoroid impact resistance. It is expected that nanomaterials will play an important role in development of multifunctional space structures. Therefore, multifunctional structural concepts using unique properties of nanomaterials and nanocomposites will be of interest for collaboration. The collaborative opportunities can leverage some of the unique capabilities at GRC, which include synthesis of SiC, BN, and B4C nanotubes and nanofibers, tailoring of composite properties using nanocomposites, structural and flexible aerogels for thermal protection system, nanoengineered thermally conductive composites, microengineered porous structures with metals and ceramics, and use of multiscale modeling tools to design multifunctional structures. Ideas on mission specific applications for multifunctional structures along with quantification of the benefits using system analysis tools are of considerable interest to strengthen the proposals.

– Active Structures and Lightweight Actuation System Using Smart Materials: Many actuation devices in aerospace structures use hydraulic systems and electric motors, which are heavy and add weight to the space vehicle structure. Use of shape memory alloys (SMAs) can simplify the actuation devices and reduce the weight of space structures. In addition, shape memory alloys can be used to create morphing structures by changing the shape of components on demand without the need for heavy hydraulic mechanisms. GRC has developed a series of new shape memory alloys with increased temperature capability, dimensional stability, and work output compared to the state-of-the-art Nitinol SMAs. GRC has extensive capabilities for characterization of the new generation of SMAs as a function of temperature under complex mechanical loading and thermal cycling conditions. Detailed characterization and understanding of SMA behavior has led to development of new training protocols that have reduced training time (time required to stabilize SMA behavior under repeated cycling) from weeks to minutes, enhancing the commercial viability of SMA actuators. Ideas and collaborations are sought on the application of the new generation of SMAs for actuation devices in various space structures as well as the opportunities for application of such alloys to change the shape of structures on demand.

– High Power Density Solid Oxide Fuel Cell and Electrolysis: Solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs) are an option for alternate power source for future gas turbine applications and space power systems. For aircraft applications, hybrid gas turbine-SOFC cycles offer the potential for achieving greater than 60 % efficiency. Furthermore, SOFCs can utilize hydrocarbon fuels directly, eliminating the need for an external fuel reformer. A key challenge of SOFCs for aerospace application is achieving high gravimetric and volumetric power density. GRC has developed an innovative technology for achieving power density on the order of 2 kW/kg and demonstrated the feasibility at the cell level. The GRC-developed SOFC is a structurally symmetrical, bi-electrode supported solid oxide fuel cell where the thin electrolyte is supported equally on both sides. It comprises a sintered monolithic framework having graded pore electrode scaffolds that, upon treatment with metal solutions and heat treatment, acquire respective anodic and cathodic catalytic activity. The invention also encompasses a manufacturing method for making such a solid oxide fuel cell; specifically, the graded pore structure of the electrode scaffolds is achieved by a novel freeze casting process. The GRC-developed fabrication process provides a greater degree of flexibility in selecting the anode materials. Furthermore, this technology eliminates the metallic interconnect and has improved seal design. The same technology can also be used for electrolysis to generate hydrogen from water and carbon monoxide fuel from carbon dioxide. Partners are sought to scale up the process by fabricating stacks and demonstrating the durability at the stack level. New ideas for innovative application of GRC-developed SOFC and electrolyzer for aerospace systems are also solicited. Also, ideas for lightweight balance of plant for the high power density SOFC stack are sought.

– Characterization of Vapors at High Temperatures: GRC has a unique suite of instruments and expertise for measuring and understanding vaporization processes of alloy and ceramic materials systems at high temperatures. The composition of complex vapors can be determined and the rates of vaporization under various conditions can be measured. From these measurements fundamental thermodynamic parameters can be derived. The specific instruments include a high temperature Knudsen Effusion mass Spectrometer (KEMS) for studying equilibrium vaporization in a vacuum to 200 C; a Molecular Beam Mass Spectrometer (MBMS) for studying vaporizing under an imposed gas pressure; and several thermogravimetric analysis (TGA) equipments for quantitative measurement of total vapor flux in a vacuum and under imposed gas pressures. The KEMS instrument is particularly noteworthy in that it has a multi-cell Knudsen vapor source. This allows an in-situ standard to be utilized for accurate measurement of thermodynamic activities and also vaporization coefficients. This allows complete thermodynamic characterization of complex alloys and multi-component oxides. The suite of instruments at NASA GRC is the only such facility in the US and one of the only a few worldwide. Vaporization behavior and fundament thermodynamic measurements are critical to a number of basic and applied research areas. Partners are sought to identify and partner on applications using these unique research capabilities to answer scientific questions in basic materials science, ceramic materials development, glass materials development, metallic materials development, vapor deposition processing, and geochemistry and cosmochemistry research.

Potential partners are requested to indicate in which of the technical areas above they are interested in partnering with NASA GRC. Potential offerors may submit to more than one technical area.

If selected through this synopsis, it is expected that the selected partner(s) will work with NASA GRC scientists and engineers to jointly develop proposals. If a proposal is selected, NASA GRC anticipates issuing contracts or other agreements to the selected partner(s) for performance of proposed tasks.

This partnering opportunity does not guarantee selection for award of any contracts or other agreements, 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 propose, would provide (at no cost to NASA) conceptual designs, technical data, proposal input, project schedules, and cost estimates.

Partner selections will be made by GRC based on the listed criteria in the following order of importance:

(1) Relevant experience, past performance, technical capability, key personnel availability, and demonstration of development in the areas of interest. This criterion evaluates the proposer’s relevant recent experience, past performance in similar development activities, technical capability to perform the development, and key personnel available to support the development. Substantive evidence of successful participation in similar developments should be included.

(2) Cost and schedule control. This criterion evaluates the proposer’s ability to control both cost and schedule. The proposer should provide evidence of successfully controlling cost and schedule for similar development programs and provide evidence of management processes in this area.

(3) Facilities. This criterion evaluates the proposer’s facilities (development, testing, and analysis) to conduct the development or demonstration of the proposed task. The proposer should discuss facility availability, access, and the ability to meet the proposed objectives.

NASA will not reimburse organizations for the cost of submitting information in response to this synopsis. NASA will not pay for technical assessment or proposal preparation costs incurred by the team members.

RESPONSE INSTRUCTIONS: Responses to this partnering synopsis shall be limited to 8 pages in not less than 12-point font. Responses must address the aforementioned evaluation criteria.

All responses shall be submitted to GRC electronically via email by 5:00pm EST on July 20, 2012 to Melissa A. Merrill at and Leslie Greenbauer-Sent at .

Technical and Programmatic questions should be directed in writing to Procurement questions should be directed in writing to

Special Notice Response Instructions.

1. Potential partners are encouraged to submit written questions to the identified POC in writing. Pertinent information from questions and answers will be shared with all interested parties, without disclosing the identity of the sources of the questions. Questions and answers will be posted periodically during the open period of this announcement.

2. Provide a point of contact to address questions from NASA, including name, email and phone number.

3. Potential partners may submit their responses by email to the POCs listed above at any time prior to July 20, 2012. However GRC reserves the right to complete its evaluation of responses for each planned announcement in a time frame necessary to support timely submission of any GRC proposal. GRC reserves the right to hold oral presentations or written email exchanges with potential proposal partners to obtain additional information prior to selection. GRC will maintain the list of potential proposers for approximately one year, from the close of this synopsis.

4. All responders to this notice should be aware that NASA support service contractors may have access to their 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.

5. Responses to this notice will not be returned.

6. 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.

7. All responders shall identify which announcement(s) is appropriate for their capability, however responses will be considered for partnering for any of the opportunities listed above or any future opportunity. Responses to this notice will serve as the basis for selection of proposal partners. Submitted responses will be maintained for possible future opportunities. Submitted responses will be maintained of possible future opportunities.

8. Responses should include the following: Name and address of company or organization; point of contact address, website or email address, and phone number. Which type of partnership the responder is interested in – science investigations, research ideas or technology demonstrations. If responder is a commercial firm, responses should also include: size of business and number of employees; average annual revenue for the past 3 years; ownership information – whether they are large, small, small disadvantaged, 8(a), HUBZone, and/or woman -owned and whether the company is U.S. or internationally-owned; number of years in business, and affiliation information: parent company (US or international), joint venture partners, potential teaming partners. A list of relevant customers covering the past 5 years for similar types of work.

9. No solicitation exists, so please do not request a copy. If a solicitation is released, it will be synopsized in FedBizOpps and on the NASA Acquisition Internet Service. It is the responders’ responsibility to monitor these sites for the release of any solicitation or synopsis. Information about major upcoming GRC procurements is available at .

Point of Contact

Name: Melissa A Merrill
Title: Contract Specialist
Phone: 216-433-6359
Fax: 216-433-5489

SpaceRef staff editor.