Status Report

NASA JSC Solicitation: Constellation Space Suit System (CSSS)

By SpaceRef Editor
August 3, 2006
Filed under , , ,
NASA JSC Solicitation: Constellation Space Suit System (CSSS)

Synopsis – Aug 02, 2006
General Information
Solicitation Number: NNJ06161022R
Posted Date: Aug 02, 2006
FedBizOpps Posted Date: Aug 02, 2006
Original Response Date: Sep 18, 2006
Current Response Date: Sep 18, 2006
Classification Code: A — Research and Development
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: BH


The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)/Johnson Space Center (JSC) may issue a Request for Proposal (RFP) for the design, development, certification, production, and sustaining engineering of a space suit system to meet the needs of the Constellation Program. Industry is invited to submit a response to this inquiry to assist NASA in the planning for the Constellation Space Suit System (CSSS) acquisition development. The contemplated CSSS procurement is not a follow-on effort to any existing contract. The Government does not intend to acquire a commercial item using FAR Part 12. See Note 26.

The initial Constellation Program missions to the International Space Station (ISS) are planned to begin as early as 2012, but no later than 2014. The elements required for this phase include the Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV), Crew Launch Vehicle (CLV), necessary ground systems and a space suit system providing at least launch, entry and abort (LEA) and zero-gravity extravehicular activity (EVA) capability. Lunar sortie missions are planned to begin as early as 2015, but no later than 2018. The additional elements required for the lunar sortie phase include the Lunar Surface Access Module (LSAM) and any additional space suit system elements required to support surface EVA.

The Constellation Program will require the following space suit capabilities: 1) Crew protection and survivability during LEA scenarios (including spacecraft depressurization, egress mobility and water survival), 2) Zero-gravity EVA for in-space EVA (including contingency crew transfer between vehicles), 3) Surface EVA capability for lunar sortie missions (less than two weeks), 4) Surface EVA capability for lunar outpost missions (up to six months), and 5) EVA capability for Mars missions.

While the capabilities above are similar to those that were provided by the Apollo suit, there are significant differences in the objectives for the Constellation Program. Some of the objectives being contemplated include: minimize life cycle cost; minimize system operational overhead over the entire suit use cycle; minimize system mass, volume, and work-efficiency overhead; maximize unpressurized mobility to allow crewmembers to operate vehicle systems and to perform in emergency situations; maximize EVA capability while limiting impact on unpressurized suit volume, weight, comfort, and other attributes necessary to fulfill the crew survival function; maximize quick donning capabilities; accommodate the full-range of flight crew anthropometries while minimizing the required suit logistics; maximize reliability and minimize maintenance requirements; minimize operational/design constraints for conducting lunar surface operations with respect to geographical location and solar/thermal conditions. Incorporate, where appropriate, design flexibility and modularity to allow for efficient incorporation of upgrades. The Government believes that the packaging and inherent technologies of current or heritage flight systems will not adequately achieve these objectives. The Government anticipates that new technologies and new schemes for packaging subsystems will be necessary for development of a multi-capability suit and has begun performing trades and maturing certain key technologies.

NASA is considering a single space suit system to provide the space suit capabilities outlined above. A single space suit system has the potential for savings in development, certification, and sustaining engineering costs, as well as reductions in required upmass and volume through commonality between the various elements of the space suit system. The development of the space suit system will require several trades between use of common elements versus use of hardware designed uniquely to meet specific performance objectives.

The initial effort, referred to as Block I for ease of reference, would consist of the design, development, certification, production, and sustaining engineering for elements of the space suit system necessary to provide LEA and zero-gravity contingency EVA capability for the CEV at a minimum. The next phase of the effort, referred to as Block II, would consist of the design, development, certification, production, and sustaining engineering for any additional elements of the space suit system necessary to support lunar sortie missions, as well as Block I mission capabilities. The required capabilities include LEA (including long term survival in a depressurized spacecraft), zero-gravity contingency EVA and lunar surface sortie EVA capabilities. Later phases of the space suit system effort will consist of the design, development, certification, production, and sustaining engineering for elements necessary to support lunar outpost missions, as well as Block I and II mission capabilities. Later phases/blocks may be developed to support Mars exploration. If this approach is adopted, each block upgrade would be considered complete, in that the Government intends to only sustain one block version of the suit system at a time.

Additionally, the Government is contemplating including the ability to provide EVA capability to the ISS as a part of the Constellation Space Suit System. This effort, referred to as Block IA, would provide zero-gravity EVA capability to support ISS maintenance and utilization EVAs similar to that currently provided by the Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU). Block IA will only be pursued if it offers advantages over the EMU in terms of cost or technical performance. In order to maximize the potential cost benefits, Block IA should be targeted for delivery as soon as possible after Block I.

NASA may issue a Request for Proposal (RFP) to support Block I and II in the second quarter of calendar year 2007. NASA is contemplating requesting an option to provide the Block IA capabilities as a part of this RFP. The Government may issue a solicitation or solicitations for a contract or contracts to support lunar outpost and Mars mission space suit capabilities at a later time.

The Government is currently considering the following schedule for Blocks I and II:

Block I and II System Readiness Review (SRR) Apr 2007

RFP Release May 2007

Contract Award Nov 2007

Block I First Flight Ship Set Delivery Feb 2013 Goal of 2011

Block II First Flight Ship Set Delivery Jun 2018 Goal of 2015

The Block I date of Feb 2013 represents the Government’s need date to support the planned first CEV mission to the ISS. The goal date of 2011 represents the Government’s desire to accelerate the planned schedule for the first CEV mission to the ISS. The Block II date of Jun 2018 represents the Government’s need date to support the planned first CEV lunar sortie mission. The goal date of 2015 represents the Government’s desire to accelerate the planned schedule for the first CEV lunar sortie mission. The Government has significant capabilities that could be utilized throughout the development of the space suit system. These include expertise in EVA and LEA suit design and operations. NASA continues to maintain a significant amount of in-house expertise specifically in the areas of advanced suit development, human rating testing, crew evaluation, sustaining engineering, and flight processing. This experience also includes that of the ultimate end-user, the crew. As opposed to other space flight hardware procurement efforts, suit development may be unique in that many aspects of the design are subjective and therefore development may require additional iterations to adequately incorporate crew considerations. Also, the Government has unique facilities such as human rated vacuum chambers and ground test articles that might be utilized by the Contractor in support of human rating certification and training. Further information pertaining to facilities that NASA can provide will be incorporated in the industry day presentations and published to the procurement website.

The Government is considering structuring the initial contract for the space suit system in a manner that will allow full and open competition for any follow-on contracts. Therefore, it is expected that the contractor will provide to the Government all system drawings, construction documents, procedures, etc. developed under the contract. While the Contractor shall be responsible for configuration management of all documents, copies of the documents shall be submitted to JSC’s document and drawing system upon approval. The Government is expecting that all data and procedures developed under the initial contract will be owned by the Government and that there will be no proprietary designs or processes owned by the Contractor or its subcontractors for this suit system.

The Government is seeking input on how to best implement the strategies outlined above. Parties are asked to provide information on:

1) Responder’s technical capability to design, develop, certify, produce, and sustain a space suit system to provide the multiple capabilities needed to support the Constellation Program.

2) The technical feasibility and challenges in meeting the objectives for the space suit system.

3) The recommended approach to developing and initially delivering at minimum the LEA and zero-gravity EVA and lunar sortie EVA capabilities.

4) Comments and recommendations on the strategy to maintain system commonality including thoughts on elements of the system which might be common between the capabilities and comments on a strategy for certification of an evolving system.

5) Comments on approach to maturing and infusing technologies needed to meet program objectives.

6) Suggestions on the optimal contract structure, including fee structure and optimal period of performance.

7) Suggestions on how the capabilities resident in the Government would be utilized.

8) Suggestions on how to implement the Government owned drawings and processes plan.

9) Suggest a schedule that would provide the required suit capabilities to meet the planned ISS missions and lunar sortie missions, including interim milestone dates (i.e. CDR, certification, unit delivery, etc.). Include discussion of the feasibility and risk assessment of accelerating the schedule to meet the Government goal dates (including comments on how early a lunar sortie capability meeting the program objective could be delivered).

10) Contractor owned physical assets and facilities that could be used to meet the objectives.

11) Comments regarding geographical location of Contractor products and services, and how you would interface with the project office and user located at JSC Houston, Texas during sustaining and processing project timeframe.

12) Comments on general approach, cost savings, schedule, and risks associated with delivery of ISS based zero-gravity EVA suit system).


All responses shall be received no later than September 18, 2006. Responses should be no more than 40 pages in length. Responses may be submitted via electronic mail (e-mail) to the Contracting Officer, Jim Gips, at the following address:

A procurement website has been established for the CSSS requirements at: . This website will be updated by the Government to provide information regarding the potential procurement as it arises. The website will provide access to such data as the tentative procurement schedule, the Procurement Development Team list, a library for applicable documents as they are determined to be necessary, draft documents such as operations concepts, statements of work and solicitations as they are published, and a method for providing responses to the public for questions asked anonymously. This system allows companies to submit anonymous questions and ideas, to the Contracting Officer, for consideration by the Government. All such questions and the Government’s responses will be published on the website.


The CSSS Industry Day will be held on Friday, August 25, 2006, from 8:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m., Central Standard Time (CST), at the Gilruth Recreational Center, Alamo Ballroom, adjacent to NASA Johnson Space Center, Houston, TX.

Goals of Industry Day:

a. Promote competition, subcontracting, and contractor teaming opportunities on the proposed CSSS acquisition strategy.

b. Develop industry understanding of the current requirements for the potential CSSS Contract including current operation concepts and the capabilities resident in the government.

c. Allow NASA to utilize industry input to improve the CSSS acquisition strategy.

Sign-Up Requirements:

Interested parties are requested to RSVP no later than 4:30 p.m., CST, Wednesday, Monday, August 22, 2006 by e-mail to the Contracting Officer, Jim Gips at: Interested parties are limited to four attendees per company. The RSVP should include the following information:

a) Please use the following subject line: “CSSS Industry Day RSVP”.

b) Include the Point of Contact’s name, phone number, and company.

c) Include the names of all the attendees from your company.

Questions and Answers for Industry Day:

A question and answer (Q&A) period will follow at the end of the Industry Day presentation. Oral questions may be answered, however this event is an open exchange with Industry and no answers given will be considered official or binding on the part of the Government.

Directions to the NASA JSC Gilruth Recreational Center may be found at the CSSS procurement website.

Additional information regarding Industry Day will be posted to the CSSS procurement website as it becomes available. Additional information describing the Agency’s vision for space exploration and its plans for the acquisition and development of each major system can be found on the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate website ( ).

To facilitate further open communications with industry, interested parties are invited to meet with NASA/JSC CSSS Procurement Development Team (PDT) members. Information and instructions regarding these meetings will be posted to the CSSS procurement website as they become available. The CSSS planned procurement schedule will include issuance of a draft RFP, including a draft statement of work. Industry will be given an opportunity to review the draft RFP before a Pre-proposal Conference is held. During this period, Industry will be offered the opportunity to comment on the draft RFP and ask questions specific to the draft RFP. The questions must be submitted in writing to the Contracting Officer, Jim Gips through the CSSS procurement website. Oral questions will not be answered. The Government will provide answers through postings to the CSSS procurement website. The posted answers shall be considered official.

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

This pre-solicitation synopsis is for planning and information purposes only. It is NOT to be construed as a commitment by the Government nor will the Government pay for the information solicited. Parties responding to this pre-solicitation synopsis will not be notified directly of the results, answers and/or any determination that the Government makes. Comments may be forwarded to Jim Gips via electronic transmission only.

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 for the NASA/JSC Business Opportunities homepage is: . 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 the amendments, if any.

Point of Contact

Name: James P. Gips
Title: Contracting Officer
Phone: (281) 244-7878
Fax: (281) 483-6336

Name: Julie K. Karr
Title: Contract Specialist
Phone: (281) 483-9782
Fax: (281) 244-0995

SpaceRef staff editor.