Status Report

NASA Request for Information: Hubble Space Telescope End of Mission Alternatives

By SpaceRef Editor
February 21, 2004
Filed under , ,

Synopsis – Feb 20, 2004

General Information

  • Solicitation Number: N-A
  • Posted Date: Feb 20, 2004
  • FedBizOpps Posted Date: Feb 20, 2004
  • Response Date: Mar 22, 2004
  • Classification Code: A — Research and Development

Contracting Office Address

NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, Code 210.S, Greenbelt, MD 20771



NASA/GSFC is seeking methods and technologies at Technology Readiness Level 5 and higher to extend the useful scientific life of HST and to safely dispose of the observatory at the end of the HST mission. We are therefore requesting information from industry about approaches and techniques to accomplish both of these objectives. While our intent may be to team with industrial partner(s), we are not bound by this RFI to do so. It is neither a Request for Proposal, nor an Invitation to Bid, nor a Request for Quotation. Therefore, this RFI is not to be construed as a commitment by the Government to enter into a contract nor will the Government pay for information provided in response to this RFI.

The HST observatory operates in a low earth orbit at an approximate altitude of 568 Km. The HST science program executes around the clock, utilizing the full suite of HST scientific instruments. HST Servicing Mission 4, previously scheduled for launch in June 2006, has been cancelled. Further, HST retrieval by the Space Shuttle at the end of the HST mission is no longer an option.

NASA policy requires the safe disposal of HST. Current HST orbit decay models predict an uncontrolled HST re-entry no earlier than the year 2013. At present, the projected battery life is the principal limiting factor for overall observatory lifetime, and it is expected that the observatory will not be totally stationary in inertial space at the end of its life in orbit. NASA’s plan is to maximize HST’s scientific productivity through the remainder of the mission by extending its useful productive lifetime and sustaining its unique scientific capabilities as long as possible. Once the HST science program is no longer viable, the plan is to either de-orbit HST in a controlled manner or boost to a higher safe parking orbit (2,500 Km) utilizing a propulsion module that is to be attached to the spacecraft. In this scenario, the propulsion module will be launched on an expendable launch vehicle; rendezvous, capture, and dock with the HST; and provide for its controlled re-entry or boost to a higher safe parking orbit when required. There may be advantages to performing the de-orbit or orbit boost immediately after the completion of science operations, which could be as early as 2007 or 2008.

The objective of this RFI is: 1) to invite industry to submit information that will allow NASA to assess various design alternatives while formulating its detailed requirements for the re-entry or orbit boost mission; 2) to invite alternative mission concepts by which NASA may more fully accomplish its goal of maximizing HST science productivity; e.g., life extension approaches and techniques, with or without robotic servicing (which might simultaneously further objectives of NASA’s new Exploration initiative); 3) to improve NASA’s knowledge of industry’s capability; and 4) to improve the overall understanding of current HST de-orbit or orbit boost mission plans.

NASA has posted certain information at ( ) in order to allow interested parties to learn more about the HST Program.

So as to consolidate our planning we request responses from industry within the next 30 days in the form of written and illustrated concepts, ideas, and descriptions of capability. We plan to invite formal presentations and discussions at GSFC of the more compelling responses within 45 days of the RFI issuance. Submission of responses may be via email. The subject line of the submission should be “HST End of Mission Alternatives RFI” and attachments should be in Microsoft WORD or PDF format. In the body of the email message please designate a point-of-contact and provide his or her name, address, telephone and fax numbers, and email address. The information is requested for planning purposes only, subject to FAR Clause 52.215-3, entitled “Solicitation for Information or Planning Purposes.”

It is not NASA’s intent to publicly disclose vendor proprietary information obtained during these discussions. To the full extent that it is protected pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act and other laws and regulations, information that is identified by a respondent as “Proprietary or Confidential” will be kept confidential.

It is the responsibility of industry to monitor the NASA Acquisition Internet Service for information concerning release of future solicitations.

Point of Contact

Name: Sandra L Marshall

Title: Procurement Manager

Phone: (301) 286-8085

Fax: (301) 286-1670


SpaceRef staff editor.