Status Report

NASA GSFC Special Notice: Partnering for a Visitor Center

By SpaceRef Editor
December 30, 2002
Filed under , ,

General Information

  • Document Type: Special Notice
  • Solicitation Number: NASA-SNOTE-021227-001
  • Posted Date: Dec 27, 2002
  • Original Response Date:
  • Original Archive Date: Dec 27, 2003
  • Current Archive Date:

Contracting Office Address

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


REQUEST FOR OFFERS for Space Act Agreement For Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) Visitor Center

BACKGROUND: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) intends to collaborate with prospective partners specifically to seek creative and innovative approaches aimed at satisfying the Agency’s objectives related to its Visitor Center functions, to be described in a Space Act Agreement. Your attention is directed to Sections 203(c) (5) and (11) of the National Aeronautics and Space Act of 1958, as amended, which may serve as authority for a resulting agreement.

This effort is aimed at more adequately serving as a vehicle for inspiring the next generation of scientists and engineers. The costs of maintaining the Visitor Center, as well as those of operating a quality program have escalated to the level that it is no longer feasible for the Center to operate in the traditional manner. Therefore, we are seeking to establish a public/private venture that is inclusive of GSFC, namely, to incorporate the GSFC Visitor Center functions within an aerospace context larger than NASA alone. The location of GSFC in the Washington-Baltimore metropolitan area makes this an attractive solution since the area is replete with attractions, many of which have aerospace ties.

As the operator of the GSFC official Visitor Center, the successful vendor will provide intensive and extensive outreach and education programs to both formal and informal education communities, space related business endeavors, as well as to a tourist audience, with special attention focused on stimulating interest in science, mathematics and technology/engineering related to NASA enterprises. GSFC will play an active part in this effort. Visitor Center functions may or may not be located solely within the immediate GSFC campus. Therefore, the focus of the resulting agreement should be to provide visitor functions.

ANNOUNCEMENT OBJECTIVES: The objectives of the Visitor Center effort are: 1) to develop a creative approach to implementing Visitor Center functions independent of, or in combination with operations at the current building; 2) to provide a venue for development and validation of exciting NASA enterprise-related education products and programs for students and adults; 3) to provide a venue for improving local economic potential by stimulating new collaborations with formal and informal education organizations; and 4) to promote high visibility and understanding of NASA’s role.

COMPONENTS NASA sees the creative effort as having the following components:

a. A partnership with a consortium of aerospace education interests that creates a magnet causing other organizations to come together to provide an integrated approach to aerospace, Earth and space science education and visitor services. NASA visitor services functions are incidental and an integrated component of a larger network to include technology-based delivery of information.

b. A possible lease arrangement whereby the partner would lease the current Visitor Center structure and agree to all maintenance, utility, and facility improvement costs.

c. A site(s) for hosting GSFC symposia, conferences, and other special events in addition to provision of non-NASA related services to other customers in the interest of dissemination of information to audiences consistent with NASA policy.

d. Management and operation of a site(s) for hosting a GSFC Educator Resource Center (ERC) and coordination of the Northeastern states Regional ERC network. ERCs are governed by separate Space Act Agreements.

e. Displays and exhibit programs to include development, fabrication, installation, storage of displays, and management of loaned units, including those of a high tech, interactive, and engaging nature depicting the uniqueness of NASA.

f. Provision of tour opportunities for audiences using approved access to Center facilities.

g. Possible provision of a venue for badging of visitors in conjunction with the GSFC Security Division, consistent with NASA policy.

h. Provision for the partner to charge nominal fees for services provided to both GSFC and its external customers for services rendered.

GSFC will become a customer with specific needs ordered from the vendor. The vendor will be free to develop additional commercial relationships external to GSFC within the limits set forth in the agreement.

REQUIREMENTS TO BE PERFORMED: The vendor will be expected more specifically to: Develop, implement, and manage innovative and creative public programs, in partnership with GSFC and both formal and informal educational and community-based organizations that share NASA’s commitment to increasing scientific literacy, to enhance GSFC’s presence in the local community, and to share information about GSFC’s missions and discoveries with the public.

These programs include but are not limited to: Traveling exhibits, Special events, both on-site at GSFC and off-site, Presentations to civic, community, business and special interest organizations, Model rocket launches, Responses to public mail requests for general information related to NASA . Lectures/programs for school age students, youth groups, and the general public Tours Provide tours and conduct lectures about GSFC for school age students, youth groups and the general public. Develop and enhance walking and driving tours of the Center by relating the tours to the GSFC enterprises, past and future missions, and scientific and engineering accomplishments. Develop tour themes, which are linked to the Earth science, space science, and technology enterprises. Provide groups with both pre and post-tour information on the GSFC enterprises. Conduct tours for distinguished guests upon request. Traveling Exhibits Develop, display, and interpret a comprehensive traveling exhibit program for the general public that reflects the mission of GSFC linked to the Center’s Earth science, space science, and technology enterprises. Update or enhance exhibits, and provide manuscript text and concepts for label scripts for these exhibits. Coordinate a Traveling Exhibit Loan Program.

Special Events – Conduct Special Events, such as the GSFC Open House, Community Day, and Anniversary activities. Special Events may also include, but are not limited to, special evening and weekend programs and special exhibits or programs, such as model rocket launches. Presentations Develop and conduct outreach efforts to civic, community, special interest and business groups with information linked to the Center’s Earth science, space science, and technology enterprises. Meeting/Conference Facility Develop collaborations and partnerships with commercial, academic or other governmental organizations to create expanded meeting/conference space. ERC and Network Manage and operate the GSFC ERC and provide extensive outreach to the local community with special attention provided to the youth of the region–to stimulate their interests in mathematics, science, and technology, as well as in America’s space program and related careers.

Services shall include, but are not limited to providing to the adult educational community the following: a. Conducting educator instructional programs based on aerospace educational materials for teacher groups when deemed appropriate; b. Providing visiting educators materials available in the ERC and training the educators on their use; c. Assisting visiting educators in the use of audio, visual and printing/duplicating equipment, the cataloging system, the reference shelves, and computers; d. Maintaining a computer lab for use by visiting educators; e. Collaborating with state, local, and district educational organizations, systems, and educators; and f. Administering the GSFC lunar/meteorite loan program.

Copies of an existing ERC Space Act Agreement and the current Statement of Work are available upon request. Point of Contact: Dr. Robert E. Gabrys Education Officer NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Code 130.3 Greenbelt, MD 20771 Phone: (301) 286-7205 Fax: (301) 286-1655 e-mail:

Email your questions to Lourdes F. Carson at

SpaceRef staff editor.