Status Report

NASA IPP Solicitation: Opportunity Notice for Potential Centennial Challenges Sponsors

By SpaceRef Editor
March 9, 2011
Filed under , ,
NASA IPP Solicitation: Opportunity Notice for Potential Centennial Challenges Sponsors

Synopsis – Mar 08, 2011

General Information
Solicitation Number: NNH11UA002L
Posted Date: Mar 08, 2011
FedBizOpps Posted Date: Mar 08, 2011
Recovery and Reinvestment Act Action: No
Original Response Date: Mar 07, 2012
Current Response Date: Mar 07, 2012
Classification Code: A — Research and Development
NAICS Code: 541712 – Research and Development in the Physical, Engineering, and Life Sciences (except Biotechnology)

Contracting Office Address

NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, NASA Headquarters Acquisition Branch, Code 210.H, Greenbelt, MD 20771


Through this Opportunity Notice (NOTICE), NASA seeks to identify potential Sponsoring Organizations who may be interested in partnering with Allied Organizations to support prize competitions conducted under Centennial Challenges program ( ) of NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C.

The Challenges are:

The Strong Tether Challenge is to create tethers with the highest strength-to-weight ratio and demonstrate a material that is at least 50 percent stronger than the strongest commercially available. This challenge has a prize purse of $2.0 million. The objective is to stimulate innovations in high strength-to-weight materials. Super-strong tethers will enable many great advances in aerospace capability, including reduction in rocket weight, habitable space structures, solar sails, and various tether-based propulsion systems, culminating in the ability to construct a Space Elevator. The Strong Tether Challenge has been managed by the Spaceward Foundation – .

The Power Beaming Challenge is a practical demonstration of wireless power transmission. This Challenge has a prize purse of $1.1 million. The objective is to foster innovations in new power distribution technologies that have applications to many aspects of space exploration, both surface and space based. Near term applications include point-to-point power transmission for robotic and human expeditions to planetary surfaces. This Challenge also supports the development of far-term space infrastructure concepts such as space elevators and solar power satellites. The Power Beaming Challenge has been managed by the Spaceward Foundation – .

The Green Flight Challenge: Teams will fly aircraft they designed to travel 200 miles in less than two hours using the energy equivalent of less than one gallon of gasoline per occupant. This Challenge has a prize purse of $1.65 million. The Challenge objective is to stimulate development and demonstration of a broad spectrum of technologies to achieve very high energy efficiencies in quiet and practical aircraft. The challenge will be held in July 2011. Green Flight Challenge is managed by the CAFE Foundation – .

The Sample Return Robot Challenge is to demonstrate a robot that can locate and retrieve geologic samples from wide and varied terrain without human control. This Challenge has a prize purse of $1.5 million. The objectives are to encourage innovations in automatic navigation and robotic manipulator technologies. The Sample Return Robot Challenge is managed by Worcester Polytechnic Institute – .

The Night Rover Challenge is to demonstrate a solar-powered exploration vehicle that can operate in darkness using its own stored energy. The prize purse is $1.5 million. The objective is to stimulate innovations in energy storage technologies of value in extreme space environments, such as the surface of the moon, or for electric vehicles and renewable energy systems on Earth. An Allied Organization is being sought to manage this Challenge.

The Nano-Satellite Launch Challenge is to place a small satellite into Earth orbit, twice in one week. The prize purse is $2.0 million. The objectives of this challenge are to stimulate innovations in low-cost launch technology for frequent access to Earth orbit and encourage creation of commercial nano-satellite delivery services. An Allied Organization is being sought to manage this Challenge.


Centennial Challenges is a program of incentive prizes to generate novel solutions to problems of interest to NASA and the nation. The mission of the program is to [1] drive progress in aerospace technology of value to NASA’s missions, [2] encourage the participation of independent teams, individual inventors, student groups and private companies of all sizes in aerospace research and development; and [3] find the most innovative solutions to technical challenges through competition and collaboration.

Since 2005, nineteen Centennial Challenges competitions have been held in six technical areas. A total of $4.5 million has been awarded in prizes to thirteen different teams. The competition events, especially in the head-to-head contest format, typically involve public spectators, televised or webcasted coverage and are high-visibility opportunities for public outreach. Additional information can be found at


Allied Organizations are those NASA partners that conduct the Centennial Challenges competitions. NASA provides the prize purse for the competitions, but no funding for the conduct of the competition itself. Allied Organizations may provide additional funding from other sources subject to NASA’s approval. Allied Organizations are selected through a competitive process and agreements are negotiated directly between the Allied Organization and NASA. Allied Organizations cannot compete in the Challenges for which they have responsibility.

Because no NASA funds are provided to fund the conduct of the Challenges, Allied Organizations must administer the Challenges with their own funding or they must acquire the funding needed to administer the Challenges through partnerships with Sponsoring Organizations or through other means. Allied Organizations are also encouraged to supplement the prize purse with funding from outside organizations, such as a Sponsoring Organization.


Sponsoring Organizations are partners of the Allied Organization that contribute funds towards the prize purse, towards the administrative expenses associated with the Challenge, and/or provide in-kind support for the Challenge. Sponsoring Organizations are expected to enter into agreements directly with the Allied Organization administering the sponsored Challenge. These agreements are subject to NASA approval. NASA does not anticipate entering into agreements directly with any Sponsoring Organization. A Sponsoring Organization cannot compete in the Challenge to which it contributes.

Because the success of Challenges hinges on the ability of NASA’s Allied Organizations to successfully administer and conduct the prize competitions, NASA wishes, through this NOTICE, to identify interested Sponsoring Organizations that seek the opportunity to partner with an Allied Organization to support one or more Challenges. NASA expects that individual Challenges will demonstrate technologies or operational capabilities, and produce high profile competition events that may enhance the visibility and reputation of the Sponsoring Organization. In return for its contributions, a Sponsoring Organization would be associated with a specific Challenge. Depending upon the agreement a Sponsoring Organization negotiates with an Allied Organization, a Sponsoring Organization may be entitled to negotiate naming rights or other public-facing acknowledgement and/or provide timely input to the structure and rules of the Challenge to which it contributes. NASA does not anticipate permitting Structure and Rule changes after they have been approved and posted in the Federal Register.

Sponsoring Organizations may include but are not limited to: for-profit companies and corporations, universities and other non-profit or educational organizations, and professional or public organizations, as well as individuals.


Responses to this NOTICE should be no more than three pages in length and:

* Provide all the pertinent identifying and contact information about the potential Sponsoring Organization, and the principal individuals of the Organization; – Name of Sponsor Organization. – Business mailing address and phone number of organization. – Web site of organization (if applicable). – Name, business mailing address, e-mail address, and phone number of primary officer of the organization having authority to enter into an agreement with an Allied Organization – Name, business mailing address, e-mail address, and phone number of organization’s point-of-contact for the proposal (if different from primary officer).

* Identify the Challenge(s) in which your organization may wish to partner with a NASA Allied Organization.

* Identify the type(s) of sponsorship your organization is seeking (Prize Purse augmentation, administrative funding support, in-kind support, or other type)

* Describe your organization’s reason(s) for wanting to be a Sponsoring Organization.

The following individual contact information should be included on any submission in response to this NOTICE:

– Organization and Individual Point-of-Contact Name – Complete Business Mailing Address – Telephone Number(s) – Email Address – Reference document number NNH11UA002L

Responses to this NOTICE should be sent to the Centennial Challenges Program at NASA Headquarters by electronic message to: with the subject line “Sponsorship Opportunity Notice”.


On a regular basis, NASA intends to share information provided by interested, potential Sponsoring Organizations under this NOTICE with current NASA Allied Organizations and other non-profit organizations that have expressed their interest or intent to partner with NASA as an Allied Organization for the Centennial Challenges program. The information may also be shared within NASA and with contractor personnel associated with the Centennial Challenges Program. Information provided by potential Sponsoring Organizations under this NOTICE will not be published or posted on any public website without prior authorization by the submitting entity.


This NOTICE will remain open for a period of one year. Prior to submitting a response to this NOTICE, potential Sponsor Organizations should check the current status (Open/Completed) of a Challenge at to determine if sponsorship opportunities are still available.


This NOTICE does not constitute a commitment, implied or otherwise, that the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) will take procurement or other action in this matter. Further, neither NASA nor the Government will be responsible for any cost incurred in furnishing the information requested in this NOTICE.

Organizations responding to this NOTICE may be contacted by the current or potential Allied Organizations to solicit commitment for sponsorship. Potential Sponsoring Organizations have no obligation to respond but may choose to enter into a sponsorship arrangement with one or more current or potential Allied Organizations.

Potential Sponsoring Organizations are responsible for conducting appropriate diligence prior to entering into any arrangement with an Allied Organization. Selection of an Allied Organization to administer a competition by NASA does not constitute an endorsement of that Allied Organization by NASA.

NASA reserves the right to amend or withdraw this NOTICE at any time.

Point of Contact

Name: Dr. Larry P Cooper
Title: Program Executive for Centennial Challenges
Phone: 202-358-1531
Fax: 202-358-3223

SpaceRef staff editor.