Status Report

NASA JSC Solicitation: Exploration Flight Test 1

By SpaceRef Editor
November 7, 2011
Filed under , ,
NASA JSC Solicitation: Exploration Flight Test 1

Synopsis – Nov 07, 2011

General Information
Solicitation Number: N/A
Reference Number: NNJ12ZBT001R
Posted Date: Nov 07, 2011
FedBizOpps Posted Date: Nov 07, 2011
Recovery and Reinvestment Act Action: No
Original Response Date: Nov 22, 2011
Current Response Date: Nov 22, 2011
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/Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, Houston Texas, 77058-3696, Mail Code: BT


NASA/Johnson Space Center (JSC) has a requirement for critical performance data from an integrated flight test of the Orion spacecraft as part of the Orion Multipurpose Crew Vehicle (MPCV) Design, Development, Test and Evaluation (DDT&E) phase.

The Exploration Flight Test 1 (EFT-1) is an early flight test, planned for early 2014, of the Orion spacecraft that is currently being developed by Lockheed Martin Space Systems Corporation (LMSSC), Denver, Colorado under contract NNJ06TA25C. The Orion spacecraft is a crew vehicle for missions beyond low-Earth orbit and will be launched on NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS), which is expected to have a first flight in December 2017.

The EFT-1 flight test of the Orion spacecraft is intended to facilitate earlier and more robust testing of critical Orion spacecraft systems that contribute to 10 of the 16 highest risks to crew survivability and exploration mission failure. The requirements of EFT-1 support early risk reduction of Orion’s critical systems by providing information needed for Loss of Crew (LOC) and Loss of Mission (LOM) assessments during an un-manned two orbit, high apogee high-energy entry flight test. This early orbital flight test is key to providing early test data that is critical to influence design decisions and validate Orion spacecraft systems in flight environments that cannot be duplicated on the ground. Conducting this test before the Orion Critical Design Review mitigates spacecraft DDT&E cost and schedule risks, and enables the final Orion spacecraft design to support the Exploration Mission 1 scheduled to occur in December 2017 on the SLS.

EFT-1 flight test objectives are focused on demonstrating beyond low earth orbit (BEO) spacecraft capabilities. The flight conditions required for EFT-1 were selected to demonstrate integrated vehicle performance for ascent, on-orbit flight, and a high-energy re-entry profile of approximately 30,280 feet per second from BEO. This trajectory will provide two orbital revolutions with an inertial entry interface velocity of nearly 84% of lunar re-entry velocity to stress the entry, descent, and landing functions, including the heat shield, propulsion, guidance/navigation/control and parachute recovery systems. The flight test specifically will address risk mitigation of the largest contributors to LOC and LOM risks through demonstration of high energy re-entry performance determination of the heatshield Thermal Protection System, Forward Bay Cover deployment and other critical separation events, drogue and main parachute deployment, crew module up-righting system deployment, and launch abort system (LAS) jettison. Other objectives critical to mitigate development risk are demonstration of on-orbit control via the power, Guidance, Navigation and Control (GN&C) and reaction control systems, and the ground to spacecraft communications and tracking. The test flight will incorporate specific elements and selected system capabilities that will provide critical integrated vehicle data to the systems designers that otherwise would be unavailable until the planned December 2017 fully integrated flight with NASA’s SLS.

To accomplish the EFT-1 objectives, NASA plans to expand the scope of the existing Orion contract. The EFT-1 flight test utilizes an early production variant of the Orion spacecraft which is comprised of four elements: the Orion launch abort system, crew module, service module, and spacecraft adapter and fairings. The Orion contractor is currently developing these four elements under the existing contract. The additional scope required is to integrate the spacecraft with the launch system, along with other unique integration efforts between this integrated stack and the ground and operations systems. The contractor also will be responsible for providing the launch service, including a launch vehicle capable of lifting the spacecraft into a highly lofted orbit to achieve the high energy reentry requirement. The primary deliverable for this effort will be the flight test data and engineering evaluation of the test results against the formal flight test objectives established by NASA.

NASA/JSC intends to procure this additional scope for the integrated flight test on a sole-source basis from LMSSC, Denver Colorado, via a modification of the Orion contract. This decision is made pursuant to FAR 6.302-1, only one responsible source and no other supplies or services will satisfy agency requirements, which implements the authority of 10 U.S.C. 2304(c)(1).

As the developer of the Orion spacecraft, LMSSC possesses the required technical understanding of the integrated spacecraft design and its predicted responses in a dynamic coupled environment with a launch system. This knowledge is critical to understanding how both vehicles must work in unison during the flight phases of launch, on-orbit maneuvering and de-orbit return in order for the Orion spacecraft to accomplish and test the objectives of EFT-1. LMSSC is uniquely positioned to assess prelaunch predictions for integrated spacecraft/launch vehicle loads, thermal, flight control, and separation dynamics, and then deconstruct the post-flight data for quick application toward design/development updates to the Orion spacecraft.

Also, LMSSC is the only contractor with the systems level knowledge of the Orion design necessary to perform the integrated systems analyses activity that will be required to integrate the spacecraft with the launch system to meet the EFT-1 objectives. These systems analyses and integration activities are needed to mate the EFT-1 spacecraft with a launch system. Further, a detailed understanding of the unique Orion spacecraft interfaces and environmental drivers is required. Issuance of this sole-source contract action will permit NASA to accomplish its unique technical and schedule requirements for the EFT-1 objectives.

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

Interested organizations may submit their capabilities and qualifications to perform the effort in writing to the identified point of contact not later than 4:30 p.m. local time on November 22, 2011. Such capabilities/qualifications will be evaluated solely for the purpose of determining whether or not to conduct this procurement on a competitive basis. A determination by the Government not to compete this proposed effort on a full and open competition basis, based upon responses to this notice, is solely within the discretion of the Government.

Oral communications are not acceptable in response to this notice.

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

NASA Clause 1852.215-84, Ombudsman, is applicable. The installation Ombudsman is Melanie Saunders. Ms. Saunders can be contacted at 281-483-0490 or

Point of Contact

Name: Brad Niese
Title: Contracting Officer
Phone: 281-483-3005
Fax: 281-483-0503

SpaceRef staff editor.