Status Report

NASA GSFC Soliciation: Goddard Institute for Space Studies Follow On

By SpaceRef Editor
December 4, 2010
Filed under , ,

Synopsis – Nov 23, 2010

DRAFT STATEMENT OF WORK – Posted on Nov 23, 2010

General Information

Solicitation Number: NNG11321993R
Posted Date: Nov 23, 2010
FedBizOpps Posted Date: Nov 23, 2010
Recovery and Reinvestment Act Action: No
Original Response Date: Jan 05, 2011
Current Response Date: Jan 05, 2011
Classification Code: A — Research and Development
NAICS Code: 541519 – Other Computer Related Services
Set-Aside Code: Competitive 8(a)

Contracting Office Address

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


NASA Goddard Space Flight Center intends to issue a Request for Proposal (RFP) for specialized science support services to the Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS). This is a competitive follow-on to contract NNG06HX21C. The procurement will provide scientific programming and analysis in support of specific GISS research programs and performing computer facility operations, systems programming, technical library operations, and overall logistical support for the GISS research facility as described in the attached draft Statement of Work (SOW).

The scientific programming and analysis functions are integral parts of the respective research programs. The other support functions are required to maintain and operate facilities used in performing the research. This effort will be performed on-site at the Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York, New York.

The government does not intend to acquire a commercial item using FAR Part 12.

This procurement is a total small business set-aside limited to 8(a) business concerns and will be conducted via SBA’s 8(a) program. The NAICS Code and Size Standard are 541519 and $25M, respectively.

All responsible sources may submit an offer which shall be considered by the agency.

The anticipated release date of the RFP is on or about February 1, 2011 with an anticipated proposal due date of on or about March 17, 2011.

A draft SOW for the GISS procurement has been posted on the World Wide Web. 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 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 offerors will be responsible for downloading their own copy of the solicitation and amendments (if any).

All contractual and technical questions must be submitted in writing (e-mail) to Russellyn R. Hart at not later than January 5, 2011. Telephone questions will not be accepted.

NASA Clause 1852.215-84, Ombudsman, is applicable. The installation Ombudsman is Nancy Abell, or 301-286-5867.

Point of Contact

Name: Russellyn R Hart
Title: Contract Specialist
Phone: 301-286-3947
Fax: 301-286-5373


1.0 Introduction

The Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) is a laboratory in the Earth Sciences Division of the Science and Exploration Directorate of the Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) and its primary mission is research that emphasizes a broad study of global change, an interdisciplinary research initiative addressing natural and man-made changes in our environment which occur on various time scales from decades to millennia and affect the habitability of our planet. The research combines analyses of comprehensive global datasets with global models of atmospheric, land surface, and oceanic processes that includes study of past events on Earth such as paleoclimate change and the study of other planets as a aid to prediction of future evolution of Earth on a planetary scale. Established in 1961, GISS is located in New York City near the campus of Columbia University in order to facilitate cooperative research programs with New York area universities and research organizations. A joint GISS-Columbia University graduate program in Atmospheric and Planetary Science provides the opportunity for students to perform their thesis research on GISS programs and many of the full-time on-site personnel at the GISS facility are university research scientists and post-doctoral fellows. Another important educational outreach mission of GISS has been the New York City Research Initiatives (NYCRI), a program dedicated to increasing the pool of interested and academically qualified underrepresented minorities who are successfully completing science programs in the New York area high schools and colleges. The NYCRI program attempts to create an environment where students and their faculty mentors acquire a vested interest in scientific discovery and progress by having them become fully contributing participants in real research projects. While the participation in GISS research programs by the university personnel as described above is key, GISS requires a support services contractor to perform specific functions that are not inherently governmental. This Contractor shall provide support services to GISS in the following functional areas: scientific programming and analysis, computer facility operations, systems programming, technical library services, publications services, logistical support, and assistance in project management.

The GISS research programs to be supported can be conveniently grouped into three broad areas: Global Climate Modeling, Earth Observations, and Planetary Atmospheres. The following brief descriptions of these areas illustrates in a general way, the nature of the research efforts. Global Climate Modeling: The climate modeling program at GISS is primarily aimed at the development of three-dimensional general circulation models (GCMs) for simulating the Earth’s climate system, although research efforts include the development and use of two-dimensional energy balance models and on-dimensional radiative-convective models. Primary emphasis in the use of the GCMs is placed on investigation of climate sensitivity, deduced in part on the basis of paleoclimate studies, and on projections of climate change for the next 10-100 years. GCM developmental research focuses on sensitivity to parameterizations of clouds and moist convection, boundary-layer turbulence, ground hydrology, and ocean-atmospheric-ice interactions, as well as investigations of more accurate numerical methods. A major focus of GISS GCM simulations is to study the potential for humans to impact the climate as well as the effects of a changing climate on society and the environment including natural ecosystems. The results of GCM simulations can be stored and used in off-line tracer models that provide consistent and realistic simulation of the transport of chemical constituents and aerosols in the atmosphere as a principal component of modeling atmospheric chemistry and aerosol radiative effects.

Earth Observations: Accurate data are necessary for characterizing the Earth’s climate and for monitoring trends in the average state of the atmosphere. Satellites provide the obvious potential of observing changes of the Earth system on a global scale. One important component of GISS research is the effort to help define which satellite observations are most needed in the near terms and intermediate future and the study of how satellite data relates to and supports data acquired using more conventional techniques. Satellite observations are analyzed to obtain information on the Earth’s surface, atmosphere, and global cloud systems, especially the latter. Clouds are potentially the most powerful feedback mechanism in the climate system, but that feedback is still only moderately well characterized. GISS serves as the Global Processing Center for the International Satellite Cloud Climatology Project (ISCCP), a program established in 1982 to collect and analyze satellite radiance measurements to infer the global distribution of clouds, their properties, and their diurnal, seasonal, and interannual variations. The resulting archived datasets and analysis products are used to improve understanding and modeling of the role of clouds in climate. The Global Aerosol Climatology Project (GACP) was established in 1998 as part of the NASA Radiation Sciences Program and the Global Energy and Water Cycle Experiment (GEWEX) to: (1) analyze satellite radiance measurements and field observations in order to characterize global distribution of aerosols and (2) perform advanced global and regional modeling studies of the aerosol formation, processing, and transport. GISS serves as the GACP processing center for developing and maintaining a global aerosol climatology compiled from analyses of channel-1 and -2 AVHRR data. The Glory Mission, with launch slated for late 2010, includes the Aerosol Polarimetry Sensor (APS), which will make measurements of the radiance and polarization of scattered sunlight that can be analyzed to deduce microphysical and optical properties of aerosols and their spatial and temporal distributions. Most of the science team for the Glory APS instrument is located at GISS and will take the lead in the science data processing for those measurements.

Planetary Atmospheres: Although limited in number, the atmospheres of the other planets of the solar system provide a nonetheless broad range of conditions and regimes for which NASA GSFC can test the basic understanding of atmospheric processes, including the greenhouse effect, aerosol and cloud physics, and atmospheric chemistry and dynamics. GISS research programs involve the observation and/or modeling of the atmospheres of Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, and Titan. Prior mission activity included the GISS Photopolarimeter/Radiometer instrument on the Galileo Orbiter spacecraft that provided visible and near-infrared photometry-polarimetry and thermal infrared radiometry observations used to infer vertical temperature profiles and the vertical and horizontal distribution and particle microstructure of the clouds and haze in the Jovian atmosphere and to map the photometric, polarimetric, and thermal properties of the surfaces of the Galilean satellites. Current mission involvement includes GISS staff members on the Cassini Mission Imaging Science Subsystem team and on the Doppler Wind Experiment on the Cassini Huygens Titan Probe.

1.0 Scope of Work

The basic objectives of this contract are to provide scientific programming and analysis in support of specific GISS research programs and to perform computer facility operations, systems programming, technical library operations, and overall logistical support for the GISS research facility. The scientific programming and analysis functions are integral parts of the respective research programs, whereas the other support functions are required to maintain and operate the facilities used in performing said research. Owing to the evolutionary character of most research programs, the discrete work to be performed by the Contractor shall entail both standing requirements and efforts refined on the basis of periodic service forecasts.

To fulfill the support requirements, the Contractor shall furnish comprehensive support services that include management, operations, and coordination. The Contractor shall have full authority and responsibility to manage the support services in accordance with the specified performance requirements and to run the entire operation in a coordinated and responsible fashion. As a consequence, the Contractor shall be responsible for ordering and maintaining an inventory of supplies used in these various operations, and authority to perform travel necessary to render support at off-site locations and to obtain necessary professional information by attendance at professional meetings and conferences.

1.0 Performance Requirements

The performance requirements for this contract are defined both by functional service areas and by discrete work specified in periodic service forecasts prepared by the technical monitor and issued by the Contracting Officer. Description of the functional service areas in the following section provides the general context of the type of support services required, while the service forecasts will identify specific tasks, deliverables, and schedule milestones.

0.01 Functional Service Areas

0.01.1 Scientific Programming and Analysis

The Contractor shall perform scientific programming and analysis in support of the specified research programs at GISS. The work involved in the specified research areas requires substantial use of computers and appropriate numerical techniques and processing methods. Some of the research areas entail mathematical representations of linear and nonlinear physical systems expressed in terms of partial differential or integral-differential equations that are solved by numerical computations. Other areas involve data processing and visualization development, numerical simulation or remote sensing observations using radiative transfer modeling, and interpretation of measurements to analyze spacecraft instrument performance. The work of the Contractor shall include the consideration of the numerical stability and accuracy of the solutions and model simulations. Development of appropriate numerical methods for the various applications shall emphasize the most efficient use of the computational facilities available to GISS personnel.

Scientific programming and analysis extends into programming techniques and detailed understanding of computer usage. When a mathematical formulation of the physical problem is completed, the analyst works with the programmer in carrying the solution through to the final numerical or visual display, including all details of programming and coding. The function includes the design, coding, detailed flow charting, debugging, and documentation of scientific programs, as well as the construction of final program systems for production running. Programs shall encompass such areas as pattern recognition, numerical modeling and simulation of physical systems, image data analysis, dynamic interaction with graphic displays, processing and maintenance of large information libraries on magnetic tape or other storage media, and data reduction and archiving. Coding is done primarily in the FORTRAN language, with some use of C and C++ for special applications.

The programming function also includes the running of production programs, the development of scripts and running procedures, the monitoring of the status of the various physical models as they progress through their computational cycles, and the communication of results of these runs to the scientific staff. If in the course of this work, problems arise due to changing experimental evidence or to changing theoretical scientific emphasis, the Contractor shall respond to the needs of the research project by expanding and modifying programs to meet the new situation and to ensure the timely completion of these efforts by utilizing additional project support where appropriate.

Scientific programming includes the maintenance and documentation of completed codes adequate to assure mission continuity. Included in the area of program maintenance are the responsibility for incremental changes in established programs, the creation of minor utility programs needed for larger production jobs, and the assistance in improving and updating, where necessary, the documentation of established programs.

0.00.1 Computer Facility Operations

The Contractor shall have full responsibility for the operation of the GISS computer facilities. The key components of the current GISS computer facility are a 96-processor SGI Origin3000 computer and approximately 70 single-processor workstations, all networked using a Fast Ethernet local area network (LAN). Attached to the LAN are approximately 12 network printers such as HP LaserJet 8000dn, LaserJet 9050dn, and Xerox Phaser 7300 and two STK Timberwolf DLT magnetic tape min-silos and three Overland LTO Ultrium2 tape loaders, as well as four individual DLT7000 tape units and four Exabyte 8500 tape units, all used for tape backups. Approximately 40 single SCSI external disk units, ranging in capacity from 9GB to 143GB are attached either to specific workstations or to the LAN to provide additional mass storage. In addition, a 32-processor HP-Compaq AlphaServer ES45, previously managed by the NASA GSFC Center for Computational Sciences (NCCS) is physically located at the GISS facility. Joint use of both Government-owned and University-owned computer hardware making up the GISS computer facility is specified in Cooperative Agreements between GISS and Columbia University, with responsibility for overall management placed with GISS, which then delegates the responsibility for the facility operation to the Contractor through the contract.

In the course of operating the GISS computer facility, the Contractor shall monitor all computing equipment and the LAN to ensure proper functioning. Monitoring of computing equipment shall include identifying any problems with the operating systems that control the computer hardware. In view of the distributed nature of the computing facility, the Contractor shall maintain a reporting system that facilitates rapid and accurate reporting of suspected hardware, software, and network problems or malfunctions are identified, the Contractor shall assess the nature of the problem and determine the appropriate course of action to remedy the problem. For hardware malfunctions that require remedial maintenance or repair, the Contractor shall notify the respective maintenance contractor(s) in a timely fashion and ensure that appropriate access and a complete description of the problem is provided to the hardware maintenance contractor.

The Contractor shall be responsible for purchasing and maintaining an appropriate inventory of all supplies necessary for the operation of the computer facilities. These supplies include, but are not limited to: paper for printers, magnetic tapes and other storage media, and printer cartridges. These materials must be organized for rapid access, for accurate inventory, and for secure storage. Over a period of a year, approximately $90K is spent for such supplies.

A key aspect of the operation of the computer facility is systems programming support. The Contractor shall provide systems programming support capable of installing, maintaining, operating, and monitoring the specific operating systems for the computers in the GISS facility. The current operating systems are IRIX on the SGI Origin3000, AIX/UNIX on the single-processor workstations, and Microsoft Windows 2000 and XP and Mac OS X on desktop machines. In addition to the assurance of proper operating systems functioning on the respective computer platforms, the systems programming function includes ensuring that these computers and their operating systems provide for attachment to the LAN and appropriate functional interaction with other network devices as well as access to the NASA Science Network and Internet through the present DS-3 wide-area network (WAN) link to GSFC. This DS-3 WAN connection is the link for remote usage of GSFC NCCS computers, with of order 90 percent of the total computing effort supporting GISS research performed on NCCS machines.

As part of the systems programming functions, the Contractor shall to maintain a thorough knowledge of operating systems, compliers, and system utility programs for all of the computers in the GISS facility and to conduct evaluations of the configurations of such software-hardware combinations including new releases in order to provide recommendations regarding changes or new implementations needed to maintain compatibility and optimal performance. The Contractor shall also be responsible for evaluating potential changes and/or additions in computing hardware for the GISS facility and making appropriate recommendations to the contract technical monitor for consideration by GISS management. After any basic set-up and installation that may be provided by the OEM or hardware vendor for new hardware obtained for the GISS facility, the Contractor shall be responsible for completing the hardware installation including attachment to the LAN if appropriate, and for the installation of any operating system and other requisite software.

The Contractor shall be responsible for informing users of the features and capabilities of the GISS computing facility through the maintenance of a library of manuals and documentation as well as appropriate on-line information and help functions. Systems programming and technical support staff are expected to assist scientific applications programmers in diagnosing program execution problems that appear to be attributable to hardware, operating system, or network problems. The Contractor shall also assist in evaluating and optimizing the efficiency of applications programs running on current GISS facility computers and is responsible for operational testing and assistance in reprogramming codes for newly acquired computer systems.

The Contractor shall be responsible for developing and maintaining appropriate procedures to insure the security of the GISS computing facility. Standard procedures for authorizing GISS personnel for use of the computing facility will be developed and maintained. The Contractor shall be responsible for maintaining the firewall and associated procedures for ensuring minimal risk of the GISS computing facility being compromised through outside network connections. The Contractor shall report to the contract technical monitor and to the GISS staff member designated as the Computer Security Officer (CSO), any situation, incident, or actual violation that may or does not constitute a threat to the GISS Computer facility. In addition, the Contractor shall assist the CSO in preparing required reports and certification documents regarding the GISS computer facility IT security plans and procedures as well as any security incident or violation reports.

0.00.1 Library and Publication Services

The Contractor shall manage, staff, operate, and provide specialized services for an earth and space science reference and circulation library that services the GISS research staff. The library has approximately 8,000 specialized books in science ad mathematics, a modest number of current technical reports, and about 6,000 bound volumes of back journals. Current journal subscriptions number about 100. The library is staffed from 9:00 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. weekdays. Library functions include purchasing new books, keeping an active file on borrowed books, providing interlibrary loan services, assisting staff in on-line searches, and preparing current publications lists of GISS reports for use by GISS staff on various aspects of the research programs.

The Contractor shall be responsible for operating, duplicating, and printing equipment provided by the Government and/or Columbia University in the GISS facility and shall support GISS requirements in several related areas of publication services. These include assistance in the preparation and editing of manuscripts, illustration and drafting services, revision and existing material, and the duplication and reproduction of scientific materials. These products must meet the standards as required by the COTR and the GISS publications activities. In addition, the Contractor shall order and provide payment for out-of-house publication services that are beyond the capability of the in-house facilities. The Contractor shall be responsible for monitoring the performance of the duplicating and printing equipment and for notifying the equipment maintenance contractor(s) when remedial maintenance is needed. The Contractor shall keep complete usage and maintenance records, provide a proper inventory or supplies, and ensure that an appropriate job scheduling system is in place.

0.00.1 Logistical and Utility Support

The Contractor shall be responsible for providing several logistical and utility functions in support of the operation of the GISS research facility. These include: mail handling and pick-up and delivery within the facility and delivery of outgoing mail to USPS Post Officers; equipment inventory; intra-building movement of equipment and office furniture; logistical arrangements for conferences, meetings, and seminars; and other routine utility activities necessary in the Contractor areas of the GISS facility. Outgoing mail is collected once a day from one or two deposit receptacles on each floor of the facility, prepared for mailing using a government postage meter, and taken to the USPS Post Office near the GISS building, with an average of fewer than 100 pieces per day. Incoming mail averaging approximately 500 pieces per day is received at the GISS facility lobby, sorted, and distributed once per day to individual employee mailboxes located on each floor of the facility. Contractor Project Manager is designated as the Property Custodian for the GISS government-owned property and is thus responsible for ensuring that newly received equipment is tagged and entered into the inventory database; that inventory has at present approximately 300 accountable items. The Contractor shall be responsible for ensuring that the property inventory is updated as necessary and assists GSFC personnel in the triennial inventory validation. Movement of equipment and office furniture associated with office assignments or re-assignments are performed as needed, typically no more than 10 times per year.

The GISS facility has one conference room that can hold approximately 120 people and a smaller conference room appropriate for smaller groups of order 20-30. GISS typically hosts meetings or conference of 1-3 days duration that require the larger conference room several times per year. The Contractor is responsible for logistics of audio-visual equipment set up, room layout, registration procedures including badge preparation, and coordination with lobby security personnel for visitor clearances. The smaller conference room is used for various meetings, estimated at 15-20 per year, many of which require similar logistical support, although often at a much reduced level compared to the large conferences. In addition, the Contractor shall provide logistical support for occasional off-site experimental and observational research activities, with such support requirements to be specifically identified and described in the appropriate service forecast in anticipation of the activity. Such off-site logistical support is required rather infrequently, probably averaging once every 1-2 years.

0.00.1 Program Management

The Contractor shall provide overall program management for the contract effort. This support shall entail the appropriate planning and coordination necessary for the Contractor staff to perform the various functional support activities for specific contract work required. The routine administration in support of the contract effort shall include assignment and tracking of actions and preparation of reports as required by the contract. The Contractor shall prepare and submit an appropriate personnel safety and health plan as required by the contract and shall ensure that all elements of the work in this contract are performed in accordance with that plan.

0.01 Service Forecasts and Operating Plans

The nature of most research programs is such that many of the efforts in support of such programs should evolve and adapt in response to the ongoing results of the research if an optimum utilization of support resources is the desired goal. As a consequence, specific work assignments will often necessarily vary in scope and complexity and the prediction of the specific work required will be optimally valid for periods shorter than the total term of the contract. Accordingly, this contract shall use service forecasts to refine the efforts to be performed by the Contractor for each 12-month period. At the inception of this contract and 15-days prior to the start of each 12-month period thereafter, the Contracting Officer shall provide a forecast of the Government’s requirements for the prospective 12-month period. Whereas the functional support areas described in section 3.1 above describe the nature of the support performance requirements, the service forecasts will identify specific tasks, deliverables, and schedule milestones for the prospective 12-month period. Refinements in any assumptions that were provided as a potential basis for estimating service levels during prior periods shall be presented in sufficient detail so that necessary adjustments can be made.

For this contract, each of the service forecasts will be organized into six forecast areas; (1) Global Climate Modeling, (2) Earth Observations, (3) Planetary Atmospheres, (4) Computer Facility Operations, (5) Library and Publication Services, and (6) Program Management and Logistical Services. This grouping of the forecast into six areas of logically related activities is intended to be a convenience to the Government in preparing the forecast and to the Contractor in responding to it. The service forecasts shall in addition to specifying the detailed support requirements, describe the corresponding performance criteria, standards, and measures that will be used by the Government to evaluate the Contract’s performance. While specific performance criteria will address the specific tasks, deliverables, and schedule milestones in each of the six areas, it should be emphasized that the performance evaluation by the Government will cover the overall contract effort, combining the assessment of performance in each area on the basis of the relative importance to the entire mission.

Upon receipt of each annual mission forecast from the Contracting Officer, the Contractor shall use the forecast to determine an estimated staffing level and projected work assignments, including any projected overtime, which will allow the forecast work requirement to be met over the period of the forecast. The Contractor shall prepare an operating plan on the basis of these estimates that covers the period of the forecast, identifying direct support levels by labor category and indicating estimated costs by calendar month. This operating plan shall be delivered within 15 calendar days after the receipt of each forecast as specified in the contract.

0.01 Electronic Information Technology Accessibility Compliance

Since the performance requirements for the Contractor include support for developing and maintaining the GISS web site, the Contractor shall be required to meet the appropriate standards for Electronic Information Technology (EIT) Accessibility (Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973) Compliance. Section 508 requires that when Federal agencies develop, procure, maintain, or use EIT, Federal employees with disabilities have access to and use of information and data that is comparable to the access and use by Federal employees who are not individuals with disabilities. It also requires that individuals with disabilities, who are members of the public seeking information or services from a Federal agency, have access to and use of information and data that is comparable to that provided to the public who are not individuals with disabilities. Since it is presumed that one of the purposes of the GISS web site is to provide information about GISS and the research programs being performed as well as in some cases making available data and information accessible, the Section 508 standards certainly apply. In its performance of the support services defined in the mission forecasts, the Contractor shall meet the EIT Accessibility standards for services in support of the GISS web site. Specific requirements for Section 508 compliance associated with the web-based intranet and internet information and applications are: (a) A text equivalent for every non-text element shall be provided; (b) Equivalent alternatives for any multimedia presentation shall be synchronized with the presentation; (c) Web pages shall be designed so that all information conveyed with color is also available without color, for example from context or markup; (d) Documents shall be organized so they are readable without requirement an associated style sheet; (e) Redundant text links shall be provided for each active region of a server-side image map; (f) Client-side image maps shall be provided instead of server-side image maps except where the regions cannot be defined with an available geometric shape; (g) Row and column headers shall be identified for data tables; (h) Markup shall be used to associate data cells and header cells for data tables that have two or more logical levels of row or column headers; (i) Frames shall be titled with text that facilitates frame identification and navigation; (j) Pages shall be designed to avoid causing the screen to flicker with a frequency greater than 2 Hz and lower than 55Hz; (k) A text-only page, with equivalent information or functionality, shall be provided to make a web site comply with these provisions, when compliance cannot be accomplished in any other way. The context of the text-only page shall be updated whenever the primary page changes; (l) When pages utilize scripting languages to display content, or to create interface elements, the information provided by the script shall be identified with functional text that can be read by assistive technology; (m) When a web page requires that an applet, plug-in or other application be present on the client system to interpret page content, the page must provide a link to a plug-in or applet that complies with Section 508 technical standards for software applications; (n) When electronic forms are designed to be completed on-line, the form shall allow people using assistive technology to access the information, field elements, and functionality required for completion and submission of the form, including all directions an cues; (o) A method shall be provided that permits users to skip repetitive navigation links; and (p) When a timed response is required, the user shall be alerted and given sufficient time to indicate more time is required.

SpaceRef staff editor.