Status Report

NASA JSC Solicitation: Constellation Program Rescue and Recovery Methodologies

By SpaceRef Editor
May 2, 2007
Filed under , , ,
NASA JSC Solicitation: Constellation Program Rescue and Recovery Methodologies

Synopsis – May 02, 2007
General Information
Solicitation Number: NNJ07ZTA005L
Posted Date: May 02, 2007
FedBizOpps Posted Date: May 02, 2007
Original Response Date: May 25, 2007
Current Response Date: May 25, 2007
Classification Code: B — Special studies and analysis – not R and D
NAICS Code: 541710 – Research and Development in the Physical, Engineering, and Life Sciences

Contracting Office Address

NASA/Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, Houston Texas, 77058-3696, Mail Code: BT


This notice is issued by the NASA/JSC to post a Request for Information (RFI) via the internet and to solicit information from Industry regarding the Constellation Program’s Rescue and Recovery Methodologies.

This document is for information and planning purposes and to allow industry the opportunity to verify reasonableness and feasibility of the Government needs, as well as broaden industry participation in meeting Government requirements.

The Constellation Program is being designed by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to replace the Space Shuttle in providing the capability for manned space exploration. The initial missions will support the International Space Station (ISS), to be followed by missions to the moon as early as 2018. The intent of this request is to solicit input from the commercial community regarding means and methodologies through which the Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV) Crew Module (CM) and potentially the Flight Crew may be safely recovered following a landing in the water. These data obtained through this RFI will then be evaluated in trade studies to derive the most efficient support plan.

The CEV CM will have the same conical shape of the Apollo capsule, but scaled up in size to accommodate a crew of six. In landing configuration, the vehicle will weigh approximately 20,000 pounds, and have a height of approximately 11 feet and a diameter of 16.5 feet. The CEV will not contain any toxic commodities, but will contain high pressure systems including gaseous oxygen and methane. There may also be some pyrotechnic devices that will be ‘safed’ at landing.

The CEV is designed to be able to land nominally at a designated landing site in the Western United States, but the possibility of a contingency following launch or upon reentry requires the spacecraft be able to land on water and provide the crew a 36-hour safe haven until rescue forces arrive. Currently, a wide range of rescue and recovery methodologies are being considered to safeguard for contingencies which would result in the need to recover the CEV in the Atlantic Ocean in the event a malfunction necessitates a launch abort. Such an abort would likely place the CEV in the Atlantic Ocean offshore of the Eastern Seaboard of North America from Florida up to Newfoundland for missions intending to reach the International Space Station (ISS), or out to the more moderate but potentially more distant waters east of Florida to the west coast of Africa for lunar mission trajectories. There is a remote possibility that a failed ascent along the trajectory to the ISS could place the CEV in the cold and high sea-state waters of the North Atlantic.

Industry response to this inquiry shall support a comparative analysis of baseline and valid alternate recovery methodologies for launch abort scenarios. The specific objective of this RFI is to request information on available assets, technologies, and/or services which could effectively and affordably conduct the in-water recovery operations following an ascent abort. Responses are requested to any or all of the following topics:

1. Methodology. How would the recovery operation be performed and with what assets? Please include the resident location of existing assets, potential response zone(s), and recovery times within that zone.

2. Performance of Recovery Assets. Please comment on relevant performance aspects (e.g. cruising speed, hoisting capability, etc.) as a function of various sea state and wave form for any vessel involved. Please also include the resident location of existing assets, potential response zone(s), and recovery times within that zone.

3. Risk associated with recovery operations. Please comment on methods through which risk associated with recovery operations may be mitigated both to the flight crew and to any potential ground operators (e.g. divers, helicopter crew if applicable). Also, how does this risk change with sea state?

4. Incapacitated Crewmembers. What would be the recommended method to rescue injured crewmembers? Would a different recovery methodology be required if any or all of the crew is incapacitated?

5. Night Recoveries. What would be the recommended method as well as the risks involved in conducting recovery operations at night or in poor visibility?

6. Inshore versus Offshore Recovery. Most launch vehicle faults would cause the launch escape system to place the CEV within 500km from the Eastern Seaboard. A slight possibility still exists that the CEV could be placed in high sea-state waters between Newfoundland and Ireland. Would a different recovery methodology be required if a recovery needed to be performed in the North Atlantic?

7. Costs. Please estimate any acquisition, maintenance, and/or operations costs.

8. Affordability and Acquisition Strategies. NASA seeks the most affordable way to acquire recovery capabilities for an average of two launches per year. Affordability includes the cost to acquire the capabilities sought. As these proposed operations are contingency safeguards for two launch operations per year, would there be more affordable acquisition strategies, such as asset sharing with industry or other governmental organizations, .

9. Maturity of Technologies or Concepts. What operational experience exists with the proposed assets? Have similar services been provided to prior customers? If no direct analogies exist, what testing would need to be done to mature a prototype for this specific application? What would be the cost, risk, and time to mature such technology?

Additionally, responses must include the following: name and address of firm; size of business.

Industry is invited to submit written comments or questions to Lisa Spence no later than May 25, 2007. Responses shall not exceed 30 pages and shall reference NNJ07ZTA005L. Comments may be forwarded to Ms. Spence via electronic transmission at or by facsimile transmission to (281) 483-6092.

All information received in response to this RFI that is marked Proprietary will be handled and protected accordingly. NASA will likely provide proprietary information to its support service contractors who are under an obligation to keep third-party Proprietary information in confidence. By submitting a response to this RFI, the responder is deemed to have consented to release of Proprietary information to such NASA support service contractors. Responses to the RFI will not be returned.

No solicitation exists; therefore, do not request a copy of the solicitation. If a solicitation is released it will be synopsized in FedBizOpps and on the NASA Acquisition Internet Service. It is Industry’s responsibility to monitor these sites for the release of any solicitation or synopsis.

This is a request for information only and does not constitute a commitment, implied or otherwise, that the NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC) will take procurement action in this matter. Further, neither NASA JSC nor the government will be responsible for any cost incurred in furnishing this information. Respondents will not be notified of the results.

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.

An ombudsman has been appointed — See NASA Specific Note “B”.

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/JSC 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.

Any referenced notes may be viewed at the following URLs linked below.

Point of Contact

Name: Keith D. Hutto
Title: Contracting Officer
Phone: 281-483-4165
Fax: 281-483-0503

Name: Keith D. Hutto
Title: Contracting Officer
Phone: 281-483-4165
Fax: 281-483-0503

SpaceRef staff editor.