Status Report

NASA Presolicitation Notice: Debris Survivability Feasibility Tool

By SpaceRef Editor
January 25, 2005
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General Information

Document Type: Presolicitation Notice
Solicitation Number: NNK05096583Q
Posted Date: Jan 25, 2005
Original Response Date: Jan 31, 2005
Current Response Date: Jan 31, 2005
Original Archive Date: Jan 25, 2006
Current Archive Date: Jan 25, 2006
Classification Code: A — Research & Development
Naics Code: 541710 — Research and Development in the Physical, Engineering, and Life Sciences

Contracting Office Address NASA/John F. Kennedy Space Center, Procurement, Kennedy Space Center, FL 32899


NASA/KSC has a requirement for a research and development study entitled, “Debris Survivability Feasibility Study.”    

The goal of this study is to use a computational fluids approach to assess current methods of predicting ablation. Focus will then turn to consideration of a more appropriate heating environment and its effects on sample debris fragments. Based on the results of the study and experience with sample debris, the Contractor will determine whether an engineering level tool would be useful when accounting for ablation effects on realistic launch vehicle debris. The following tasks will be performed during the study:    

(1) Hold a kickoff meeting to discuss tasking and scheduling.

(2) Examine current CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) codes and select a package that accounts for hypersonic flow phenomena. Since many CFD codes are research quality projects supported by universities, free CFD packages are readily available. However, post-processing tools are usually limited in capability. RTI would obtain copies of relevant CFD codes and purchase any software needed for post-processing.

(3) Study current methods of predicting heat accumulation for debris fragments, paying particular attention to ablation model assumptions.

(4) Exercise CFD models for two debris fragments with different shapes, and compare heating results to assumptions made in current ablation models.

(5) Investigate the feasibility of developing an engineering level tool for estimating debris survivability. Assess the level of effort needed to develop a tool capable of predicting ablation effects consistent in fidelity with the needs of typical launch risk analyses.

NASA/KSC intends to purchase these professional services from RTI International, 3040 Cornwallis Road, Research Triangle Park, NC     27709-2194; Email:; Web: This sole source procurement is entered into under the authority of 10 U.S.C. 2304(c)(1), only one responsible source and no other supplies or services will satisfy agency requirements.    

RTI International is the leading expert in developing debris/fragmentation models for flight safety organizations at the USAF 45th Space Wing and the FAA Office of Commercial Space Transportation. Therefore, past projects have given RTI unique insight into the technical issues associated with the subject of this study. Additionally, the RTI-developed debris models for various launch vehicles will serve as a foundation for this analysis. It is, therefore, in the best interest of the government to conduct this effort with RTI based on their skills and knowledge of debris analysis and based on the application of this study to the LSP office needs: this work would help the LSP office to better estimate the debris risk associated with all flights, including nuclear payloads (e.g. New Horizons ” Pluto). The Government intends to acquire a commercial item/service using FAR Part 12.    

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 January 31, 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. Offers may be emailed to: by the time and date set for closing (1/31/2005 not later than 4:30 p.m.).    

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

Tina M. Landes, Contract Specialist, Phone (321) 867-1500, Fax (321) 867-4848, Email

Email your questions to Tina M. Landes at

SpaceRef staff editor.