Status Report

NASA Solicitation: Horizontal Launch Study

By SpaceRef Editor
September 19, 2010
Filed under , ,
NASA Solicitation: Horizontal Launch Study

Synopsis – Sep 15, 2010

General Information

Solicitation Number: N/A
Reference Number: NND11Z34567L
Posted Date: Sep 15, 2010
FedBizOpps Posted Date: Sep 15, 2010
Recovery and Reinvestment Act Action: No
Original Response Date: Sep 30, 2010
Current Response Date: Sep 30, 2010
Classification Code: B — Special studies and analysis – not R and D
NAICS Code: 481212 – Nonscheduled Chartered Freight Air Transportation

Contracting Office Address

NASA/Dryden Flight Research Center, Code A, P.O. Box 273, Edwards, CA 93523-0273


This Request for Information (RFI) is issued by the NASA/DFRC to post a potential Government requirement via the internet, and solicit responses from interested parties. This document is for information and planning purposes and to allow industry the opportunity to verify reasonableness and feasibility of the requirement, as well as promote competition. Prospective offerors are invited to submit their response to this request to the procuremnt individual identified below, no later than September 30, 2010. When responding to this RFI, please indicate the reference number given above.

NASA along with other government agencies is collaboratively looking at development of technologies that would have mutual payoffs in the area of horizontal launch. Horizontal launch is the ability to take-off with a vehicle from a runway to a predetermined speed and altitude and then launch an orbital vehicle or an ascent system including orbital vehicle to Low Earth Orbit (LEO).

The Horizontal Launch Study (HLS) study will provide an assessment of horizontal launch architectures for several payload classes to access/service LEO for both military and civilian applications. HLS will open the trade space to several payload classes from micro to medium sized payloads and different staging scenarios from subsonic to supersonic separations speeds for each payload classes. HLS will identify architectures that support near term LEO mission capabilities along with identifying mid-term technology investment areas that will enable larger payloads and future capabilities.

Candidates for potential investments through future solicitations must have demonstrated their fundamental feasibility. Although future activities expect to accept technological risk, a candidate near-term approach must be in accord with established scientific and engineering principles and must not depend on inventions or discoveries that are not credible within a 5-year timeframe and have the potential to mature to a realistic flight.

The defined timeframes for flight would include near-term which is from one to three years to integrate systems. A mid-term flight date would be from four to nine years, and far-term architecture would be over ten to twenty years of development effort required. Payload weight classes include Micro (1 kg) to a medium weight payload of 10,000 kg.

To support HLS, NASA is seeking information about horizontal launch architectures that could be included in the assessment. The information being sought is description of the horizontal launch architecture, key technologies, and launch payload class. The responses will help NASA and other government agencies to understand the technical possibilities for horizontal launch, structure future solicitations to encompass the appropriate range of possibilities, and identify potential bidders.

The information that is required in response to this RFI:

1. Description of the Horizontal Launch Architecture/System which should include the first stage and second stage. (The first stage is an aircraft. The second stage could be an orbital vehicle or an ascent system including an orbital vehicle.)

a. Provide a graphic or picture of the architecture if possible b. Provide empty weight and GTOW

2. Key technologies that demonstrate the anticipated performance to low earth orbit

3. Payload weight and total weight of second stage system

4. Estimated System Integration and Development time required to a launch date

5. Benefit over current systems for comparable payload weight

NASA appreciates responses from all capable and qualified sources including, but not limited to, NASA Centers, universities, university affiliated research centers, federally-funded research and development centers, private or public companies, and government research laboratories.

This is not a request for proposal, quotation, or invitation for bid notice and is intended for information and planning purposes only. NASA does not intend to make any awards on the basis of this RFI. NASA will not provide reimbursement for costs incurred in responding to this RFI. NASA will evaluate submissions for its own purposes in structuring potential future program activities.

It is requested that proprietary or trade secret information be limited in response to this RFI. If proprietary information is submitted, it will not be directly used as part of the study, but may be used to help define the scope of the architectures available. NASA may contact respondents to this RFI by telephone or site visit if clarifications or additional information is desired.

Submissions under this RFI do not bind NASA to any further action other than the protection of any proprietary or trade secret information provided. All future solicitations are subject to availability of funds and program direction of NASA or other government agencies. This announcement contains all information required to submit a response (see below). No additional forms, kits, or other materials are needed. Oral communications are not acceptable in response to this notice.

Although, NASA will not consider classified submissions through this solicitations, special arrangements can be made to if requested in writing. NASA will use submitted materials to inform its decisions on program development, to include future solicitations and research areas. However, NASA will not release any individual RFI responses, proprietary information, or trade secret information identified as such in any of the RFI submissions.

Submissions have the following formatting requirements: Microsoft PowerPoint presentation (.ppt) or portable document format (.pdf) formatted documents not to exceed ten(10) slides. A Microsoft word document (.doc) or portable document format (.pdf) not to exceed 2 pages with 12 point font will be accepted. A single concept may submit the presentation format or a word document format but not both.

NOTE: All responses to this RFI must arrive at by midnight on September 30, 2010. Mark all responses: RFI, Horizontal Launch Study. Questions should be marked: Questions, Horizontal Launch Study. Only written responses or questions will be accepted.

Technical questions about this RFI may be directed to: David F Voracek, Horizontal Launch PM, at Procurement related questions should be directed to: Rich Swanson, Contracting Officer, at

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.

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. Any referenced notes may be viewed at the following URLs linked below.

An ombudsman has been appointed — See NASA Specific Note “B”.

The solicitation and any documents related to this procurement will be available over the Internet. These documents will reside on a World Wide Web (WWW) server, which may be accessed using a WWW browser application. The Internet site, or URL, for the NASA/DFRC Business Opportunities home page is It is the offeror’s responsibility to monitor the Internet cite for the release of the solicitation and amendments (if any). Potential offerors will be responsible for downloading their own copy of the solicitation and amendments, if any.

Any referenced notes may be viewed at the following URLs linked below.

Point of Contact

Name: Richard M Swanson
Title: Contracting Officer
Phone: 661-276-3337
Fax: 661-276-2904

SpaceRef staff editor.