Status Report

NASA Request for Information: Small to Medium Class Launch Services

By SpaceRef Editor
April 22, 2008
Filed under , ,
NASA Request for Information: Small to Medium Class Launch Services

Synopsis – Apr 21, 2008

Mission Model Assumptions – Posted on Apr 21, 2008 New!

General Information

Solicitation Number: RFI-KSC-NLS-II-Small-to-Medium-Class
Posted Date: Apr 21, 2008
FedBizOpps Posted Date: Apr 21, 2008
Original Response Date: May 27, 2008
Current Response Date: May 27, 2008
Classification Code: V — Transportation, travel, and relocation services
NAICS Code: 336414 – Guided Missile and Space Vehicle Manufacturing
Set-Aside Code:

Contracting Office Address

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



The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Launch Services Program (LSP) invites you to submit a response to this inquiry to assist in the expeditious development of an approach to continue to provide the Agency with Expendable Launch Vehicle (ELV) launch services. LSP serves as the Agency’s provider of domestic expendable launch services and advisor on expendable launch systems. LSP oversees mission integration, mission analysis, launch vehicle production, and down range telemetry assets at various domestic and international locations. The program manages launch site activities at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS) and Vandenberg Air Force Base (VAFB). Additionally, the program supports, when necessary, launches from other locations such as Kodiak, Alaska, Kwajalein Island, and the Wallops Flight Facility.

Currently, NASA Launch Services (NLS) contracts provide domestic launch services for NASA and NASA-sponsored payloads on a multiple award indefinite delivery / indefinite quantity (IDIQ) basis (NLS Request for Proposal (RFP) RFP10-0021, Revision C). NLS provides continuous competition via the Launch Services Task Ordering Procedures employed for each launch service acquired (NLS RFP Section C, Clause 14.0). In addition, NLS has an innovative on-ramp provision (NLS RFP Section C, Clause 2.0) to accommodate proposal submissions every six months from new launch services providers desiring to obtain an NLS contract and from existing NLS contractors desiring to provide additional launch services. To date, contracts have been awarded to Boeing Launch Services, Inc., Lockheed Martin Commercial Launch Services, Inc. and Orbital Sciences Corporation. Selection for award of NLS contracts is determined by NASA in accordance with the evaluation criteria specified in NLS RFP Section E, Attachment E-3.

The ordering period under NLS expires in June 2010. In preparation for the impending expiration of NLS, NASA seeks information from industry to assist in addressing issues affecting the Agency’s overall strategy for launching NASA spacecraft on launch vehicles from U.S. commercial providers of launch services, consistent with current law and policy. The information will facilitate acquisition planning for future procurements. The primary purpose of this RFI is to collect information on key parameters that will help NASA refine and mature the acquisition plan for procuring safe, timely, cost effective, and reliable launch services beyond those in the current NLS RFP/contracts.

Mission Model Assumptions

For the purpose of assessing post-NLS launch service needs, NASA is considering the mission model attached to this Request for Information.

Acquisition Approach

As previously stated, NLS has a valid ordering period through June 2010. NASA is considering a number of possible NLS follow-on procurement strategies, including (but not limited to):

o Extend the current NLS contract and ordering period o Establish a new NLS follow-on contract(s) o Forgo the August 2008 and/or subsequent on-ramp periods in deference to the pending acquisition o Volume buy(s) of a set(s) of missions.

NASA may award multiple contracts for the requirements described in this RFI based on the best competitive solution provided by industry.

RFI Requested Response Topics

The objective of this RFI is to solicit information from industry that could potentially enhance NASA’s approach for the NLS follow-on acquisition. Comments are requested, but not limited to, any of the following topics:

(1) Technical Capability

Responders are invited to provide information regarding launch services capabilities for any single mission, group of missions or the entire set of missions that meet the requirements defined in the attached mission model.

a. Specify which launch vehicle configuration is capable of supplying launch services for each mission included in the mission model. Provide Payload usable dynamic envelope, brief standard interface description (i.e., clamp band size or separation bolt configuration), and performance reserve and margin to specified orbit. List any significant changes from the launch vehicle baseline configuration to engines, tank sizes, propellant masses, stage operating parameters, core vehicle structures, vehicle avionics, or launch site modifications required to meet the mission requirements.

b. Identify the initial launch date for each new launch vehicle configuration used to meet the mission requirements and discuss risk mitigations used to manage the schedule. c. For missions identified as possible candidates for co-manifesting, discuss launch service capabilities to facilitate mission matching within plus or minus one year of the given planned launch year, and associated savings in terms of percentages to the basic launch service price. Identify proposed process for addressing schedule or technical risks that might occur with co-manifesting missions, including necessary adapters, and/or the approach for assigning mixed missions with Government and commercial payloads.

d. Identify any dependence on the launch service availability, or cost to NASA, affected by other current or anticipated contract awards. e. In addition to the attached mission model, NASA is interested in responder’s launch services capabilities for potential future payload to orbit requirements that include delivery of approximately 250 – 3200 Kg payload to high inclination (>70 degrees), low inclination orbits (<30 degrees), circular sun-synchronous orbits at altitudes between 400 Km and 800 Km., earth escape missions that include delivery of greater than 500kg to C3 between -2 to +20.

(2) Launch Vehicle Certification

a. Provide an overview of the plan and schedule for meeting the flight requirements and supporting NASA’s technical evaluation of the launch services for certification to NPD 8610.7D Category 2 and/or Category 3. In addition, identify any opportunities for efficiency in meeting NPD 8610.7D requirements. (NLS RFP Section C, clause 3.0)

b. Address the ability and approach to support mission integration activities after mission award, while completing development and/or certification in parallel.

c. Identify any demonstration launches planned or required and/or any opportunities for NASA to utilize unused capability on existing launch services before Category 2 certification is completed.

(3) NLS Contract Terms and Conditions

Responders are invited to review NASA’s terms and conditions on the existing NLS RFP10-99-0021 Revision C, and indicate your ability to comply. In addition:

a. Suggest any terms and conditions to implement alternative approaches to provide safe, cost effective and reliable launch services.

b. Provide any recommendations regarding: payment schedules, milestone events, incentives and any related cash flow implications, including termination for convenience provisions (NLS RFP Section C, Clause 5.0).

c. Provide suggestions for accommodating launch date flexibility and/or delays (e.g., optimum time for determination of launch date, changes in launch date) (NLS RFP Section C, Clause 19.0). Also provide suggestions regarding mission options purchased as part of a quantity commitment at contract initiation (NLS RFP Section C, Clause 12.0).

d. Provide recommendations on launch service performance flexibility, such as hardware substitutions/upgrades, based on mission requirement changes after mission award, but before mission ATP (NLS RFP Section B, Clause 3.0).

e. Provide recommendations regarding the benefit, schedule and frequency of on-ramp periods (NLS RFP Section C, Clause 2.0).

f. Provide specific areas for consideration in NASA’s application of NPD 8610.23C, Launch Vehicle Technical Oversight Policy, to your launch service. Identify any opportunities for efficiencies in meeting NPD 8610.23C requirements (NLS RFP Section C, Clause 25.0).

(4) Infrastructure

a. Provide a brief status of production, test and launch infrastructure and telemetry assets that will be used to meet mission requirements (e.g., processing facilities, downrange tracking). Identify any facilities and services not currently owned or under contract to the launch services company, and corresponding acquisition plans or arrangements for their use.

b. Include a general description of manufacturing/production schedule, including the planned annual production and launch rate, lead time for major components, vehicle processing flows and turnaround, and number of flights (minimum and maximum) per year which support the business case used to support launch service pricing.

Response Instructions

Provide the following Company Information: Company name, point of contact name, phone number, e-mail address.

Provide sufficient information to determine if your company qualifies as a United States commercial provider of space transportation services as defined in Public Law 105-303, Commercial Space Act of 1998, and meets the U.S. National Space Transportation Policy of 2004, and the Iran-North Korea-Syria Non Proliferation Act. NASA recommends that responders refer to the NLS RFP (RFP10-99-0021, Revision C), at the following link: %2001.

NASA recommends that responders refer to NPD 8610.7D, Launch Services Risk Mitigation Policy for NASA-Owned and/or NASA-Sponsored Payloads/Missions, and NPD 8610.23C, Launch Vehicle Technical Oversight Policy, at the following link: .

All responses should be provided in MS Word document format, both hard copy and electronic media. Font should be Times New Roman, size 12. Responses should not exceed 20 pages and should reference “RFI-KSC-NLS-II-Small-to-Medium-Class.” Please submit responses no later than 5:00 p.m. EDT on May 27, 2008, to the NASA/KSC Procurement Expendable Launch Services Support Office, Attn: OP-LS/Jeanne Burkhart, Contracting Officer, Kennedy Space Flight Center, FL 32899. Additional questions should be provided to Jeanne Burkhart via e-mail:

NASA reserves the right to share all information received in response to this RFI throughout NASA and to use all information submitted in response to this RFI in NASA’s formulation of one or more solicitations seeking competitive proposals on contracts for, or related to, the requirements described herein. Any competition sensitive data should be clearly marked in the event NASA decides at a later date to post RFI questions and answers.

This preliminary information is being made available for planning purposes only, subject to FAR Clause 52.215-3, entitled “Solicitation for Information and Planning Purposes.” It does not constitute a Request for Proposal, Invitation for Bid, or Request for Quotation, and it is not to be construed as a commitment by the Government to enter into a contract. Moreover, the Government will not pay for the information submitted in response to this RFI, nor will the Government reimburse for costs incurred to prepare responses to this RFI.

No solicitation exists for NLS II-Small to Medium Class; therefore, do not request a copy of the solicitation. If a solicitation is released, it will be synopsized in the FedBizOpps and on the NASA Acquisition Internet Service (NAIS). It is the potential offeror’s responsibility to monitor these sites for the release of any solicitation or synopsis, or for questions and answers that may be posted in relation to this RFI.

Point of Contact

Name: Jeanne A. Burkhart
Title: Contracting Officer
Phone: 321-867-3475
Fax: 321-867-4848

Name: Steve Craig
Title: Contracting Officer
Phone: 321-867-7323
Fax: 321-867-4848

SpaceRef staff editor.