Status Report

NASA LaRC Solicitation: Polysonic Wind Tunnel Testing for Space Launch Systems

By SpaceRef Editor
July 2, 2012
Filed under , ,

Synopsis – Jun 27, 2012

General Information

Solicitation Number: NNL12-9608
Posted Date: Jun 27, 2012
FedBizOpps Posted Date: Jun 27, 2012
Recovery and Reinvestment Act Action: No
Original Response Date: Jul 14, 2012
Current Response Date: Jul 14, 2012
Classification Code: B — Special studies and analysis – not R and D
NAICS Code: 488190

Contracting Office Address

NASA/Langley Research Center, Mail Stop 12, Industry Assistance Office, Hampton, VA 23681-0001


NASA Langley Research Center (LaRC) has a requirement to conduct a series of wind tunnel tests in a Polysonic Wind Tunnel (PSWT) supporting the Space Launch System (SLS) project. The SLS vehicles are part of NASA’s mission to develop a cost-effective, next-generation space transportation system. The SLS launch vehicle will be the manned portion of a series of vehicles that NASA is designing and developing as part of the Exploration program. It will allow access to low Earth orbit in support of International Space Station functions as well as provide opportunities to explore beyond low earth orbit and explore deep space. The launch system will, in keeping with the U.S. Space Exploration Policy, safely and reliably take human explorers to the Moon, Mars and on into the solar system.

The SLS project is preparing an aerodynamic database that characterizes the vehicle throughout the speed regime of ascent flight where aerodynamic effects are important. This speed regime begins at liftoff and continues through booster separation. The aerodynamic database will be used to determine the SLS performance, stability and control effectiveness and structural stability. In addition, verification of the loads database produced using Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) is required by comparing wind tunnel data from a pressure instrumented model to the CFD generated distributed loads. This is a critical requirement to provide confidence in the CFD results.

The project is currently designing and fabricating a 0.008-scale (~ 38″ long) wind tunnel model of SLS DAC-1 (Design Analysis Cycle) configuration to test at NASA LaRC’s Unitary Plan Wind Tunnel (UPWT), for the Mach range 1.5-4.6. In order to develop the databases for above configurations, the project requires integrated force and moment as well as distributed pressure data at the lower speeds for the initial phase of ascent, specifically in Mach range 0.5 to 1.6 for integrated forces and moments for ascent configuration and 0.5 to 5.0 for integrated forces and moments and distributed pressure data. The Boeing Polysonic Wind Tunnel t (PSWT) Test is capable of generating this data. The Boeing (PSWT is the only blow-down wind tunnel facility that simultaneously meets the Mach number range (0.5 to 5.0), Reynolds number (3.1 per ft. at a dynamic pressure of 2.36 psi), and physical characteristics (length of the tunnel test section) required to satisfy the SLS wind tunnel testing requirements The wind tunnel parameters identified are salient requirements that are necessary to obtain the integrated force, moment, and pressure data needed to generate the SLS aerodynamic databases. While other facilities have the capability to meet either the Mach range or the size requirements, no other commercial facility can meet the minimum Reynolds number requirement. Facilities that cannot meet the Reynolds number requirement would yield unacceptable dynamic pressures and lead to incompatibilities with previously obtained database results. These facilities operate at a higher dynamic pressure resulting in higher loads on the model. Over the past year, several similar configurations have already been tested and databases have already been developed in support of the SLS project, in the LaRC UPWT and the Boeing PSWT. These tests utilized the specific test requirements of Mach number and Reynolds number required for the current effort. In order to have tunnel to tunnel and database to database comparisons, similar facilities must be utilized. Conducting the proposed tests in the same tunnel will eliminate data biases specific to a tunnel. Testing in another facility will compromise the validity and usefulness of the previous test data and increase risk to the program to an unacceptable level to maintain strict performance margins. Therefore, only the Boeing PSWT is capable of meeting the Reynolds number requirements and providing data that is compatible with the previously obtained results.

The statutory authority permitting other than full and open competition for this effort is 10 U.S.C 2304(C)(1) as implemented by the provisions of FAR 6-302-1(a)(2)(iii), the supplies and services required are unique and are available from only one source. The Government intends to acquire a commercial item using FAR Part 12.

Interested organizations may submit their capabilities and qualifications to perform this effort, in writing, to the identified point of contact not later than 4:30 P.M., our local time on July 14, 2012. All capability and qualification responses will be evaluated for the sole purpose of determining whether or not to conduct this procurement on a competitive basis. A determination by the Government to not compete this requirement on a full and open competitive basis, based on responses to this notice, is solely within the discretion of the Government. Oral communications are not an acceptable response to this notice.

Point of Contact

Name: Wilma A Washington
Title: Contract Specialist
Phone: 757-864-2471
Fax: 757-864-7709

Name: Jeffrey Hisey
Title: Contracting Officer
Phone: 757-864-3347
Fax: 757-864-9974

SpaceRef staff editor.