Status Report

NASA JSC Solicitation: ISS Cargo Transportation Services – Questions and Answers

By SpaceRef Editor
December 22, 2006
Filed under , , ,
NASA JSC Solicitation: ISS Cargo Transportation Services – Questions and Answers

Modification – Dec 22, 2006

General Information

Solicitation Number: NNJ07ISSBG
Posted Date: Dec 22, 2006
FedBizOpps Posted Date: Dec 22, 2006
Original Response Date: Jan 08, 2007
Current Response Date: Jan 08, 2007
Classification Code: 18 — Space vehicles
NAICS Code: 336414 – Guided Missile and Space Vehicle Manufacturing

Contracting Office Address

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


Below are the questions received regarding RFI NNJ07ISSBG and NASA’s response. The Due Date for responses is 4 pm cst Monday, January 8, 2007.

1. What office is this being run out of at JSC? – The ISS Program Office.

2. Is there a designated technical point of contact? – No. The designated point of contact is the Contracting Officer.

3. Does NASA have a date for the issuance of the formal Request for Proposal (RFP)? – No. The Request for Information (RFI) was issued as part of an exchange to improve the understanding of industry capabilities. JSC along with headquarters will review the responses before determining whether to issue a formal RFP. The purpose of this RFI is to gain an understanding of available cargo capabilities in both foreign and domestic markets. This understanding will allow NASA to formulate a procurement strategy.

4. Are the RFI Table attachments intended to convey maximum sizes of current vehicles? – Any proposed vehicles should be capable of accommodating those requirements.

5. Can respondents assume they will be allowed to provide a demonstration flight? – Although final requirements for an RFP have not been decided upon at this time, it is likely that no demonstration flight will be allowed since respondents should already have “a proven system with flight history and successful capability to complete rendezvous and docking/berthing operations to the ISS.” Respondents should include a discussion on their need or desire for a demonstration flight.

6. Is the April 2009 date for an operational review? – No, respondents should have an “operational capability of April 2009.” Therefore, the system should be able to support a launch date that could be as early as April 2009.

7. How does this relate to the Commercial Orbital Transportation System (COTS) Program? – It is intended to bridge the gap before COTS is ready. It is not intended to replace or duplicate COTS.

8. Is there a time frame for expected launches over a certain period of time? – No. There is only “a single flight in 2009.”

9. Is there a standard format for the RFI response? – No.

10. Could you provide a clarification of due dates? – Responses to the RFI should be emailed to the Contract Specialist and Contracting Officer by 4:00 p.m. CST on January 8, 2007. See #20 for additional information.

11. Are we allowed to propose additional capabilities to possibly offer NASA in the RFI response? – Respondents can approach the RFI response however they choose. Additional data may be added as long as the data requested in the RFI is also included.

12. Does NASA plan to issue any more RFIs regarding cargo upmass? – There are not any other RFIs regarding upmass capability planned at this time.

13. Does NASA agree that U.S. Space Transportation Policy, Implementation Guidelines, Section V(1)(a) requires that NASA, if it wishes to purchase an ISS cargo delivery mission using a foreign launch vehicle, must obtain an exemption from the Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy? – See #18 below.

14. Is such an exemption currently in place, and if so what are the constraints on its use for an ISS cargo delivery mission? – See #18 below.

15. If NASA were to obtain such an exemption, might that allow the use of cost-competitive foreign launch vehicles by any or all potential offerors? – See #18 below.

16. Does NASA agree that the Commercial Space Act of 1998 (PL 105-303) requires that NASA buy space transportation services from U.S. commercial suppliers, as defined in that legislation, and therefore not from foreign governments or companies? – See #18 below.

17. Since NASA has requested information from foreign governments and/or foreign primes regarding this prospective ISS cargo delivery mission, what exception to the Commercial Space Act of 1998 (PL 105-303) requirement to buy from U.S. commercial providers does NASA believe will allow foreign providers to bid on an RFP? – See #18 below.

18. Does the publicly-stated official policy of NASA HQ, that NASA shall first purchase ISS cargo services first from U.S. commercial providers, secondly using the CEV cargo derived system, and lastly from international partners, apply to this prospective ISS cargo procurement? If the answer is “Yes,” does NASA only plan to buy this ISS cargo delivery mission (and any additional future services) from foreign providers if no qualified U.S. commercial provider capabilities exist? – NASA will comply with all applicable statutes, regulations, and policies regarding ISS cargo services. NASA cannot address this issue in more detail at this time since the purpose of this RFI is to gather information. Specific answers may depend upon the capabilities that exist if or when a RFP is released.

19. The Average Cargo Density is specified as “230 kg/m3 for launch cargo.” Is that for gross or net cargo? Does NASA have a target density for cargo accommodations? – That is for gross cargo. The program assumed the number includes packing provisions (CTBs) and is being used as the packed bag weights.

20. Since “the reply should be in a .pdf format,” are electronic copies of responses to this RFI sufficient, or do three (3) electronic copies on physical media (CD, etc.) need to be provided? – Electronic .pdf responses should be emailed to the Contract Specialist and Contracting Officer. 3 hard copies are not required.

21. Do letters of support and table of contents count toward the 25 page maximum? – Yes. The total of all documents should not exceed 25 pages. Responses should address the 4 points being asked (i.e. proven system; letters from subs, foreign government; April 2009 operational capability; pricing information). Responses detailing documented capabilities against the tables aren’t expected unless/until an RFP is issued.

22. Can we joint venture this RFI with a foreign partner? – Yes.

23. Does the 2,000 kg payload include the weight of the pressurized container? – 2,000 kg is the packed cargo only. It does not include the mass of the cargo accommodations or carrier/vehicle.

24. The RFI states a dock time of not less than 30 days. What is the maximum dock time, and is recharge power available from the ISS? – The ISS system does not have a maximum dock time. However, the vehicle should have the flexibility to depart at any time. Yes, power is available from the ISS. As stated in the RFI, please identify any ISS capabilities the responder will be using.

25. What are the restrictions on propellants, e.g., MMH, which may be used in the vicinity of the ISS? – There are no restrictions on the use of specific propellants. There are restrictions on the amount of contamination and the loads that a visiting vehicle can impart on the ISS during proximity operations. Those specific technical requirements will be provided when and if a request for proposal is issued.

26. Is the final docking human-in-the-loop from the ISS? – The answer depends on what the responder needs. For the purposes of this RFI, the responders should identify what capabilities are required from the ISS, including any crew actions, to support their vehicle’s docking or berthing.

27. Are there any restrictions on reentry trash disposal? – No, there are no ISS cargo restrictions on trash disposal. Restrictions have been typically driven by the reentry vehicle’s certification envelope.

28. The subject RFI, requests data that “supports a proven system with flight history and successful capability to complete rendezvous and docking/berthing operations to the ISS”. This statement seems to limit participation to those spacecraft that have already carried cargo to the ISS and successfully docked/undocked. If this is not the case, please clarify NASA’s expectations regarding what constitutes a “proven system with flight history,” and “successful capability to complete rendezvous and docking/ berthing operations to the ISS.” – If a RFP is released, NASA’s interest would be in those spacecrafts that already have a proven system of being able to successfully dock or berth with the ISS. This capability should be demonstrated by the time a proposal for these services is submitted, which would occur in approximately June 2007.

29. Please clarify the reference in paragraph 4) to “the ISS hardware and software interface planned for post April 2009.” Is there somewhere that this requirement is documented for reference by a potential supplier? – SSP 50504, ISS Configuration Document, identifies the ISS vehicle’s planned physical configuration for the current manifest through 2010.

Point of Contact

Name: Diana Denardo
Title: Contract Specialist
Phone: (281) 244-8458
Fax: (281) 244-2370

Name: Stacy M. Holden
Title: Contracting Officer
Phone: (281) 244-8260
Fax: (281) 244-2370

SpaceRef staff editor.