Status Report

NASA MSFC Solicitation: Robotic Lunar Lander Development (RLLD) Request for Information

By SpaceRef Editor
September 25, 2010
Filed under , ,

Synopsis – Sep 24, 2010
Attachments 1 and 2 – Posted on Sep 24, 2010

General Information

Solicitation Number: 09242010PS21
Posted Date: Sep 24, 2010
FedBizOpps Posted Date: Sep 24, 2010
Recovery and Reinvestment Act Action: No
Original Response Date: Oct 29, 2010
Current Response Date: Oct 29, 2010
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/George C. Marshall Space Flight Center, Procurement Office, Marshall Space Flight Center, AL 35812


This notice is issued by the NASA/MSFC to post a RFI via the internet, and solicit responses from interested parties. This document is for information and planning purposes and to allow industry the opportunity to verify reasonableness and feasibility of the requirement, as well as promote competition.


Synopsis – September 24, 2010

General Information

Solicitation Number: 09242010PS21
Reference Number: RFI09242010PS21
Posted Date: September 24, 2010
FedBizOpps Posted Date: September 24, 2010
Recovery and Reinvestment Act Action: No Original Response Date: October 29, 2010
Current Response Date: October 29, 2010
Classification Code: A – Research and Development NAICS Code: 541712
Contracting Office Address NASA/George C. Marshall Space Flight Center, Procurement Office, Marshall Space Flight Center, AL 35812

Description I. Background :

The Robotic Lunar Lander Development (RLLD) Project Office at NASA Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) is currently studying several mission concepts that involves landing on an airless body. Trade studies of launch vehicle options for these mission concepts indicate that in all cases the spacecraft design will be significantly mass-constrained. Initial propulsion concept designs for these missions show that high performance and light weight thrusters, such as high thrust-to-weight thrusters used in other atmospheric applications, will potentially fulfill the mass allocation requirements. However, these thrusters are generally not typical of NASA designed propulsion systems and thus have not been flight qualified for NASA spaceflight environments/applications.

II. Objective

This Request for Information (RFI) is to determine what applicable designs and existing thruster hardware are currently available, their technology readiness levels (TRLs) and any programmatic issues related to NASA applications.

III. Technical Requirements

NASA is considering the use of high thrust-to-weight thrusters on NASA robotic lander missions. The current design uses MON-25 and MMH, but other hypergolic bi-propellant options may be considered upon review of information received. This selection is based on the propellants capable of handling low temperature conditions; subsequently, usage of heater power for the propulsion during flight can be reduced. Constraints on vehicle mass, volume and (heater) power lead to consideration of high-performance and light-weight thrusters that are generally not typical of NASA designed propulsion systems. NASA is interested in mature thruster designs that can be applied to the NASA programs with relatively minor design enhancements.

The vehicle concept includes up to twelve 100-lbf thrust (vacuum) class thrusters for lunar descent and twelve 5-lbf thrust (vacuum) class thrusters for attitude control. Alternate concepts for descent propulsion will be also considered: i.e. six 200-lbf class thrusters. Although, the current baseline requires 1200lbf of thrust for the descent engines, this value may be increased or decreased as the design matures. The preferred class for the descent engine is either 75 – 100lbf or 150 – 200lbf. Furthermore, these engines will be operated in a pulsing mode. The preferred class for the attitude control engines is 5 – 8lbf.

Conceptual specification sheets for two thrusters are attached. See Attachment 1: Design and Performance Parameters for Attitude Control System Thruster (5-7 lbf Class), and Attachment 2: Design and Performance Parameters for Descent Thruster (75 – 100-lbf thrust Class).

As part of this RFI, we are seeking detailed specifications using the same specification sheet layout for the thrusters that you recommend. Also, please indicate the degree to which design modifications are recommended.

IV. Requested Information

The mission currently under consideration involves a launch in 2015. The RLLD project has an aggressive, success-oriented schedule. Industry is invited to provide input organized according to the following specific areas:

1) Provide information regarding potential thruster design or existing hardware that could meet the needs of RLLD. Specify if an applicable thruster currently exists in the desired classes. State the technology readiness level for each, with supporting rationale. Describe potential reference missions and any known barriers that NASA can reduce/eliminate through technology enhancement; sharing of information, sharing of facilities; etc.

2) Specify whether or not the proposed thrusters are currently in production or when they were last produced. If thrusters are no longer in production, declare any existing inventory that may be available for utilization. Define risks (schedule, skill, tooling, facility, material availability, etc.) associated with restart of production. Describe any restrictions NASA may encounter on related test data and/or detailed design including security levels and company proprietary information.

3) Identify rough order of magnitude (ROM) recurring and non-recurring costs. Declare assumptions used when preparing ROM. Specify whether these costs are for individually produced thrusters or a complete ship set. Specify lead time used in estimate and how cost would be affected by compressing schedule to meet key schedule milestones.

4) Identify the degree of design/technology optimization that is required, as well as the risks associated with any enhancements/upgrades made for performance. Risks should encompass cost, technical, and schedule.

5) Provide special features or other information including but not limited to: affordability; safety (minimize catastrophic failures, loss of vehicle, etc,) and performance (ISP, mass, etc.). Provide rationale as to how these requirements were derived.

6) Describe your approach to develop a suitable MMH/MON-25 engine, including potential use of precursor or prototype engine testing at an affordable cost, for lunar mission launch in the latter half of 2015. Specify location of planned thruster/system testing.

7) Describe how you would leverage existing efforts, if any, to include hardware, designs, analysis, and facilities to save cost and accelerate schedule.

V. Summary

As stipulated in FAR 52.215-3, (a) The Government does not intend to award a contract on the basis of this solicitation or to otherwise pay for the information solicited except as an allowable cost under other contracts as provided in subsection 31.205-18, Bid and proposal costs, of the Federal Acquisition Regulation. (b) Although “proposal” and “offeror” are used in this Request for Information, your response will be treated as information only. It shall not be used as a proposal. Inputs shall be compliant with all legal and regulatory requirements concerning limitations on export controlled items.

All responses should be provided in Microsoft Office document format. Font should be Times New Roman, size 12. Responses should not exceed 10 pages total and should be clearly labeled if responses include proprietary information. Responses are requested to be submitted in Microsoft Office products in a user friendly environment to facilitate review. One hard copy and 1 CD is requested. NASA has the right to duplicate additional copies for internal use.

Please submit responses no later than October 29, 2010 to NASA/MSFC Office of Procurement, Attn: PS21/Stacey E. Crocker, Contract Specialist, Marshall Space Flight Center, AL 35812. Additional questions should also be provided before October 15, 2010 for review and feedback to Stacey E. Crocker via e-mail,

Procurement will send an acknowledgement response after submittals have been received and coordinate responses to RFI inquiries with technical POC within the times specified for inquires. Thereafter, procurement will not be involved in communication regarding this RFI.

When responding please reference: RFI09242010PS21

An ombudsman has been appointed — See NASA Specific Note “B”.

Point of Contact

Name: Stacey E. Crocker
Title: Contract Specialist
Phone: 256-544-3506
Fax: 256-544-5028

Name: Lizette M Kummer
Title: Contracting Officer
Phone: 256-544-3457
Fax: 256-544-5028

SpaceRef staff editor.