Status Report

NASA Solicitation: Commercial Data Services Related to Satellite to Ground Data Transmission

By SpaceRef Editor
April 7, 2011
Filed under , ,

Synopsis – Apr 05, 2011

Attachment 1 – Posted on Apr 05, 2011

General Information Solicitation Number: SS-COMMUNICATION Posted Date: Apr 05, 2011 FedBizOpps Posted Date: Apr 05, 2011 Recovery and Reinvestment Act Action: No Original Response Date: Apr 29, 2011 Current Response Date: Apr 29, 2011 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/Langley Research Center, Mail Stop 144, Industry Assistance Office, Hampton, VA 23681-0001


The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is conducting studies for commercial data services related to satellite-to-ground data transmission, archiving, and distribution in the continental US. The studies are intended to outline commercial solutions to the need to distribute the data for future NASA payloads on commercial communications satellites supporting science and technology missions from geostationary (GEO) orbits. Data will be transmitted by the commercial host spacecraft to a ground station (see Figure 1 in Attachment 1). From there, the data will be distributed to users. A reverse data link from the payload operations control center to the payload on the commercial host is also required. The process of developing and operating the payload within the constraints of the hosted payload process is a new development method for NASA. The distribution of the payload data in real-time, or near real-time, over commercial networks is also a new operational concept for NASA. Successful concepts in both areas are expected to open the opportunities for scientific and engineering payloads to operate in a commercially sustainable manner in the future.

The purpose of this RFI is to obtain information to support the formulation of a future mission using commercial geostationary capabilities and to investigate options for procuring uplink and downlink data services to the commercial host for a NASA payload and ground data distribution support for operations of a future mission. An example reference payload for such a mission would be an earth-imaging system covering selected bands in the IR through the UV spectrum, a large format imaging detector generating over 1Mpixel per image, support electronics for power and thermal management, on-board computing for processing schedule-driven commands and for packaging science and state-of-health data for transmission to the ground. The payload is expected to require an 80 Mbps downlink and may be able to provide processing support for data compression and rate buffering, if required. The payload will transmit its science data and supporting health and status data to the ground using the capabilities of the commercial host. That data will then be distributed to the payload control center and scientific partners.

The payload control center will transmit commands to the hosted payload as needed to schedule operations and maintain performance. The end-to-end data routing and distribution between the NASA control center, the scientific partners, and the commercial satellite point of presence will be sustained using commercial networks. The link between the teleport and the commercial host will be sustained through the appropriate links for the commercial host. Nominally the hosted payload will operate on a 24×7 basis. However, the payload is a secondary on the commercial host and the commercial host may suspend operations as deemed necessary for host operational safety. Additionally, the payload may suspend operations during times of station-keeping maneuvers or eclipses. The payload is being designed for a lifetime between 3 and 10 years. The hosted payload will be operated from a NASA payload control center.

For conceptualization purposes, we will assume this will reside at NASA Langley Research Center. This will be the only authorized point of origin for commands to the hosted payload either by direct output from the control center or by an operator using the control center as a remote proxy. The hosted payload science and health and safety payload data will be delivered to the payload control center. Data will also be delivered to the cooperating science centers. For conceptualization purposes, we are assuming one additional site located in Colorado. NASA solicits industry’s questions, comments, and areas for the government to consider relative to this concept. In addition to the general comments, the government seeks answers to the specific questions provided in Attachment 1. Objectives The Objectives of this RFI are as follows: * Gather information from industry on the conceptual approach to the data networking and identify any recommended alternative approaches * Identify industry capabilities to meet the required capabilities and identify areas that affect cost, risk, and schedule * Support the development strategy for a potential acquisition

Responses This section contains all information required to submit a response. No additional forms or other materials are required. NASA appreciates responses from all capable and qualified sources that meet the following format. Section 1- A non-proprietary cover sheet that identifies this RFI by number and title, organization making the response, responder’s technical and administrative points of contact which includes names, titles, postal address, phone and fax numbers, and e-mail addresses. Section 2 – A description of the proposed architecture linking the scientific payload control center, the remote science center, the commercial host teleport, and the links with the commercial host satellite. Include answers to the questions in the Broad Approach section of Attachment 1. Section 3 – Responses to the Cost and Schedule Drivers section of Attachment 1. Section 4 – Responses to the Contracts/RFP section of Attachment 1. Section 5 – Description of company capabilities and past experience performing networking management/development and activities similar to this concept. All responses are to be for general access by Government evaluators. Any material provided may be used in developing future solicitations. Any proprietary information submitted must be clearly and separately identified and marked and will be appropriately protected. The Government will not be responsible for any proprietary information not clearly marked.

No solicitation exists; therefore, do not request a copy of the solicitation. If a solicitation is released it will be synopsized in FedBizOpps and on the NASA Acquisition Internet Service. It is the potential offeror’s responsibility to monitor these sites for the release of any solicitation or synopsis.

Responses must include the following: name and address of firm, size of business; average annual revenue for past 3 years and number of employees; ownership; whether they are large, or any category of small business*, number of years in business; affiliate information: parent company, joint venture partners, potential teaming partners, prime contractor (if potential sub) or subcontractors (if potential prime); list of customers covering the past five years (highlight relevant work performed, contract numbers, contract type, dollar value of each procurement; and point of contact – address and phone number).

Please advise if the requirement is considered to be a commercial or commercial-type product. A commercial item is defined in FAR 2.101.

This synopsis is for information and planning purposes and is not to be construed as a commitment by the Government nor will the Government pay for information solicited. Respondents will not be notified of the results of the evaluation. Respondents deemed fully qualified will be considered in any resultant solicitation for the requirement.

The Government reserves the right to consider a small business or 8(a) set-aside based on responses hereto. Technical questions should be directed to Stephen Horan at All other questions should be directed to Brad Gardner at Responses are not page limited and should be emailed to and by 29 April 2011. Any referenced notes may be viewed at the following URLs linked below.

Point of Contact

Name: Robert B. Gardner Title: Contracting Officer Phone: 757-864-2525 Fax: 757-864-7898 Email:

Name: Teresa M Hass Title: Contracting Officer Phone: 757-864-8496 Fax: 757-864-8863 Email:

SpaceRef staff editor.