Status Report

NASA Solicitation: Community Announcement on Explorer Announcement of Opportunity – NNH10ZDA004J

By SpaceRef Editor
December 15, 2009
Filed under , ,

Synopsis – Dec 15, 2009

General Information

Solicitation Number: NNH10ZDA004J
Posted Date: Dec 15, 2009
FedBizOpps Posted Date: Dec 15, 2009
Recovery and Reinvestment Act Action: No
FedGrants Posted Date: Dec 15, 2009
Application Due Date Explanation: N/A
Classification Code: A — Research and Development
NAICS Code: 541712 – Research and Development in the Physical, Engineering, and Life Sciences (except Biotechnology)

Grant Specific Information
Funding Instrument Type: Cooperative Agreement
Funding Instrument Type: Procurement Contract
CFDA Number: 00.000
Cost Sharing or Matching Required: No
Estimated Total Program Funding: not available
Expected Number of Awards: not available
Ceiling Amount: none
Floor Amount: none
Funding Activity: Science and Technology and other Research and Development (ST)
Eligible Applicants: 99 – Unrestricted

Link to Full Announcement:

Contracting Office Address

NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, NASA Headquarters Acquisition Branch, Code 210.H, Greenbelt, MD 20771


SUBJECT: Community Announcement on Explorer AO

NNH10ZDA004J Community Announcement on Explorer AO December 10, 2009

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Science Mission Directorate (SMD) is releasing this Community Announcement concerning its intention to solicit investigations for the Explorer Program. The Explorer Program conducts Principal Investigator (PI)-led space science investigations in SMD’s astrophysics and heliophysics programs. Explorer investigations are intended to obtain an understanding of the Sun and its effects on Earth and the Solar System and/or to discover the origin, structure, evolution, and destiny of the Universe and search for Earth-like planets. Additional information concerning these areas of investigation is provided through appropriate links found on the SMD homepage at .

The current state of planning calls for NASA SMD to release an Announcement of Opportunity (AO) in the late summer/early fall of 2010 that will solicit proposals for Explorer (EX) missions to accomplish Explorer Program science objectives. NASA also plans to release simultaneously a solicitation for Explorer Missions of Opportunity (MO) through the NASA Announcement of Opportunity NNH08ZDA009O, Stand Alone Missions of Opportunity Notice (SALMON). A draft EX AO and draft SALMON amendment is expected to be ready for release for comment in Spring 2010.

The PI-managed mission cost cap for an EX mission is expected to be no greater than $200M in Fiscal Year (FY) 2011 dollars, not including the cost of the Expendable Launch Vehicle (ELV) or any contributions. Standard launch services on an ELV will be provided for EX missions at no charge against the mission cost cap. Only the launch services described in the Explorer Program Library’s launch services document will be provided (see ). There will be a charge against the mission cost cap for mission unique and special launch services beyond the standard launch services offered.

The PI-managed mission cost cap for an Explorer MO is expected to be no greater than $55M in Fiscal Year (FY) 2011 dollars. NASA expects to solicit MO science investigations that are defined in the SALMON AO as either Partner MOs or Small Complete Mission MOs, including investigations requiring flight on long duration balloons and the International Space Station.

The currently approved Explorer Program planning budget is sufficient to select and execute at least one EX mission. It is also sufficient to select and execute a second EX mission or at least one MO. The decision between these two options will be based upon the proposals received in response to the EX AO and the SALMON amendment; the decision will incorporate the most recent planning budget information available at that time.

The current planning is for the selection process to be done in two stages. In step 1, it is anticipated that up to four EX missions may be selected for one-year Phase A concept studies. Each concept study would be funded up to $1M in real year dollars. For step 2, NASA will conduct a detailed review of the Phase A concept study reports. As a result of this second evaluation, NASA expects to select one or two EX missions to proceed into Phase B and subsequent mission phases. NASA desires to launch the first of the two EX missions by mid 2016; the launch-by date for any additional mission, if selected, is late 2018.

Additionally, investigations proposing to achieve Explorer Program science objectives through participation in Missions of Opportunity may be selected for Phase A study and review if their perceived value to the Explorer Program is high and the proposed cost is within the funding limit for this Mission of Opportunity. NASA may select no Mission of Opportunity proposals if these objectives are not met by any proposals.

Proposals in response to this AO will be due 90 days after its formal release. Participation will be open to all categories of U.S. and non-U.S. organizations, including educational institutions, industry, not-for-profit organizations, Federally Funded Research and Development Centers, NASA Centers and other Government agencies.

The schedule for the solicitation is intended to be: Release of draft AO: (target) Spring 2010 (target); Explorer workshop: ~2 weeks after draft AO release; Release of final AO: (target) Late summer/early fall 2010 (target); Pre-proposal conference: ~3 weeks after final AO release; Proposals due: 90 days after AO release; Selection for competitive Phase A studies: Summer 2011 (target); Concept study reports due: Summer 2012 (target); Down-selection: Late 2012 (target);

The Explorer Program EX AO and SALMON amendment may contain provisions that differ substantially from this preliminary notice, in which case the provisions in the AO and SALMON amendment will take precedence. The Explorer AO will be based on the Standard PI-led Mission AO Template available at . Proposers should read the Draft EX AO carefully when it is released.

NASA has not approved the issuance of the EX AO or SALMON amendment and this notification does not obligate NASA to issue the announcements and solicit proposals. Any costs incurred by prospective investigators in preparing submissions in response to this announcement are incurred completely at the submitter’s own risk.

Further information will be posted on the Explorer Program Acquisition website at as that information becomes available. Questions or comments about this intention to release an EX AO may be addressed in writing or by e-mail to the Explorer Program Acquisition Scientist: Dr. Barbara L. Giles, Ref.: Explorer EX AO, Heliophysics Division, Mail Suite 3R15, Science Mission Directorate, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Washington, DC 20546-0001, E-mail: (subject line to read “Explorer EX AO”). Responses to all inquiries will be answered by e-mail and also posted weekly at the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) location of the Explorer Program Acquisition website; anonymity of persons/institutions who submit questions will be preserved.

Point of Contact

Name: Dr. Barbara L Giles
Title: AST-Science Program Management
Phone: 202-358-1762
Fax: 202-358-3987

SpaceRef staff editor.