Status Report

NASA JSC Solicitation: Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory (NBL)/Space Vehicle (SVMF) Operations Contract (NSOC)

By SpaceRef Editor
June 5, 2006
Filed under , , ,
NASA JSC Solicitation: Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory (NBL)/Space Vehicle (SVMF) Operations Contract (NSOC)

Synopsis – Jun 05, 2006

General Information

Solicitation Number: NNJ06ZBH123R
Posted Date: Jun 05, 2006
FedBizOpps Posted Date: Jun 05, 2006
Original Response Date: Jun 20, 2006
Current Response Date: Jun 20, 2006
Classification Code: 99 — Miscellaneous
NAICS Code: 541330 – Engineering Services

Contracting Office Address

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


NASA/JSC has a requirement for Human Space Flight Mission Services that includes training and operational support at two unique facilities: the Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory (NBL) and the Space Vehicle Mockup Facility (SVMF). The support required includes the support of suited astronauts and other subjects in a neutrally buoyant environment; maintenance and upgrade of complex mechanical, hydraulic, fluid, and electrical systems; design and manufacture of space vehicle mockups; and operation of two complex facilities.

NASA/JSC intends to purchase these services from Raytheon Technical Services Company through an extension of the Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory (NBL)/Space Vehicle Mockup Facility (SVMF) Operations Contract (NSOC), NAS9-02102. The proposed period of performance for the NSOC extension is April 1, 2008, through September 30, 2010, plus a 1-year option for services through September 30, 2011.

Training activities at the NBL are critical to the continued and uninterrupted support required during the remaining Space Shuttle Flights and International Space Station (ISS) assembly sequence. Unique requirements for certified and highly trained safety, utility, and reconfiguration divers exist. The certification process for a new diver requires at least a 6-month time commitment, and any turnover in the staffing level would be unacceptable due to the potential interruption to the flight schedule. Additionally, complex systems including life support systems, breathing gas systems, Robotic Manipulator Systems, and Water Treatment Systems are operated, maintained, and upgraded by highly qualified and skilled technicians and engineers with extensive experience in the individual systems. Competition of the Space Shuttle and ISS space operations requirements could also lead to the loss of knowledgeable personnel introducing risk to the Space Shuttle and ISS programs. The turmoil and uncertainty involved in a contract transition would result in the workforce being distracted from the job at hand because of the uncertainties inherent during a competition (e.g. concern about employment, benefits, and new management) and disruptions caused by new company policies. Any disruption to these activities could also result in a delay to the flight and assembly sequence which would be unacceptable. All activities at the NBL are safety and life critical, and the safety risk to the Government associated with transitioning a new contractor can not be accepted at this time due to the criticality of timing and support requirements.

Support at the SVMF requires the operation, maintenance, and upgrade of approximately 30+ medium and high fidelity space vehicle mockups. The mockups must be readied for instructor and crew activities on a very tight schedule, and to exacting standards. Any deviation to configuration can result in negative crew training, and the inability of a mission to be performed in a timely and safe manner. The loss of configuration knowledge and skills due to a contract transition could result in an unacceptable delay to the flight and assembly sequence.

NASA plans to use the Space Shuttle to complete the assembly of the ISS and maintain the commitments made to the international partners. The ISS assembly schedule is tightly constrained with the Space Shuttle retirement in 2010, or earlier. The schedule margin that would be required for a competitive selection and potentially incorporating a new space operations contractor into the program would not support the ISS assembly schedule. Competition of the Space Shuttle and ISS space operations requirements could also lead to the loss of knowledgeable personnel introducing risk to both the Space Shuttle and ISS programs.

Because of these considerations, including the unacceptable costs and delays that would be incurred to conduct a competition and/or select a different contractor, the potential benefits from competition do not justify accepting these substantial risks to the Space Shuttle and ISS programs. However, it is the Government’s intention to compete this effort following this critical extension period of performance and once our requirements are better understood.

The Government does not intend to acquire a commercial item using FAR Part 12. See Note 26.

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 June 20, 2006. 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.

An Ombudsman has been appointed. See NASA Specific Note “B”. Any referenced notes may be viewed at the following URLs linked below.

Point of Contact

Name: Michele H. Ladrach
Title: Contract Specialist
Phone: (281) 483-6096
Fax: (281) 483-2138

Name: Cynthia W. Maclean
Title: Contract Officer
Phone: (281) 244-5903
Fax: (281) 483-4066

SpaceRef staff editor.