Status Report

NASA MSFC Solicitation: Lunar Navigation and Communication Infrastructure (LNCI)

By SpaceRef Editor
December 6, 2005
Filed under , , ,
NASA MSFC Solicitation: Lunar Navigation and Communication Infrastructure (LNCI)

Synopsis – Dec 06, 2005

General Information

Solicitation Number: N/A
Reference Number: 8-LNCI-2
Posted Date: Dec 06, 2005
FedBizOpps Posted Date: Dec 06, 2005
Original Response Date: Dec 21, 2005
Current Response Date: Dec 21, 2005
Classification Code: A — Research and Development
NAICS Code: 541710 – Research and Development in the Physical, Engineering, and Life Sciences

Contracting Office Address

NASA/George C. Marshall Space Flight Center, Procurement Office, Marshall Space Flight Center, AL 35812


NASA/MSFC has a requirement for the development of a prototype Lunar Navigation and Communication Infrastructure (LNCI) system capable of near continuous telecommunications and precision navigation capability on and around the lunar surface to include the poles and nearby permanently shadowed crater floors, and areas that are never within line of sight to Earth-based assets. The system must be able to provide capabilities and functionality much like the Global Positioning System (GPS) as well as provide communication functionality for the lunar environment. The system must be reliable and able to provide real-time or near real-time Earth bound transmission capability. The system must be capable of leveraging terrestrial communication infrastructure and provide connectivity for lunar assets. The system must be flexible and have provisions and consideration in use of multiple spacecraft evolving infrastructure suited to technology insertion and mitigation of technology obsolescence issues. The system may utilize missions of opportunity to support lunar missions and transition to lunar navigation and communication infrastructure after primary mission. The system must be capable by the end of the decade to support near term robotic lunar missions. The criticality of this effort requires demonstrated expertise and operations in the development of end-to-end precision space-based navigation and communication infrastructures that have been successfully deployed as operational systems.

NASA/MSFC intends to purchase the prototype LNCI system from Johns Hopkins University/Applied Research Laboratory (JHU/APL). JHU/APL’s status as a University Affiliated Research Center (UARC) allows JHU/APL to function as an extension of a program or project office in providing, without an Organizational Conflict of Interest (OCI), oversight, risk reduction and problem solving capability in a manner that ensures the best interests of the government and contractors are protected. This ability allows the government to prototype government systems, then follow-on to specify and transition those systems (or parts thereof) to industry for production as appropriate and required. The statutory authority permitting other than full and open competition is 10 U.S.C. 2304(c)(1), only one responsible source and no other supplies or services will satisfy agency requirements.

JHU/APL has unique capabilities and experience critical to the development of prototype lunar navigation and communications infrastructure. JHU/APL was the originator of the Navy’s Transit Satellite System, the predecessor of the modern GPS. JHU/APL is a charter member of the GPS community and has pioneered cutting edge solutions for GPS usage. JHU/APL scientists are experts with regard to understanding orbit propagation in close vicinity to objects having non-uniform gravitational fields. JHU/APL has expertise in networking of radar sensors and the use of radar for tracking and navigation. JHU/APL has expertise in the areas of atomic and ultra-stable, non-atomic clocks, both of which are essential for navigation. JHU/APL is experienced with the use of regenerative Doppler for tracking of spacecrafts and is engaged in the development of new, non-inertial, non-radio navigation techniques. JHU/APL have developed space-based navigation and communication systems in the past and are experts in developing unique and innovative space based navigation and communication techniques.

It is further stated in FAR 6.302-1 (a)(ii) Supplies may be deemed to be available only from the original source in the case of a follow-on contract for the continued development or production of a major system or highly specialized equipment, including major components thereof, when it is likely that award to any other source would result in substantial duplication of cost to the Government that is not expected to be recovered through competition.

JHU/APL is currently integrating and qualifying radar payloads, navigation and communication payloads, and a navigation and communications spacecraft bus for a jointly funded effort by NASA and Department of Defense (DoD). This spacecraft bus will be directly applicable to LNCI. JHU/APL with DoD jointly developed payloads and spacecraft systems to develop the navigation and communication technologies that have direct application toward LNCI. This is a follow-on effort for continued development of highly specialized equipment that includes the navigation and communication spacecraft system that can be utilized for lunar missions. Procurement of LNCI from any other source is expected to result in substantial duplication of cost to the Government that is not expected to be recovered through competition.

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 Dec 21, 2005. 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: Wayne T. Harmon
Title: Contracting Officer
Phone: (256) 544-5336
Fax: (256) 544-3223

Name: George E. Harvey
Title: Contracting Officer
Phone: (256) 544-0406
Fax: (256) 544-6488

SpaceRef staff editor.