Status Report

NASA Solicitation: Instruments for LADEE Lunar Mission

By SpaceRef Editor
March 25, 2008
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NASA Solicitation: Instruments for LADEE Lunar Mission


Synopsis – Mar 25, 2008

General Information

Solicitation Number: NNH08ZDA006L
Posted Date: Mar 25, 2008
FedBizOpps Posted Date: Mar 25, 2008
Original Response Date: Apr 18, 2008
Current Response Date: Apr 18, 2008
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/Goddard Space Flight Center, NASA Headquarters Acquisition Branch, Code 210.H, Greenbelt, MD 20771


The Government is seeking information regarding existing instruments (such as flight spares and engineering models) that could be quickly flight qualified, accommodated, and flown on the Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE), scheduled for a 2010-2011 launch. The Government is also interested in potential “build to print” possibilities from existing flight instruments, in the event that there are no flight spares available. In particular, the Government is seeking capable neutral mass spectrometers and sensitive dust detectors for this opportunity. However other available lightweight instrument types that could provide alternative data sets to address the composition and structure of the tenuous lunar atmosphere, or the presence and distribution of dust above the lunar surface, will also be considered.

In accordance with FAR 15.201 (e), the information requested is for planning purposes only and is not intended to bind the Government. This information will be used to inform NASA’s program planning, including consideration of whether and how to solicit instruments for the LADEE mission.


LADEE is a strategic mission that will address science goals 8a and 8b from the 2007 National Research Council Study “The Scientific Context for Exploration of the Moon” to the extent that is possible within the limitations imposed by mass, cost, and duration of the proposed mission.

The objectives of the LADEE mission are:

1. Determine the global density, composition, and time variability of the fragile lunar atmosphere before it is perturbed by further human activity; 2. Determine if the Apollo astronaut sightings of diffuse emission at 10s of km above the surface were Na glow or dust and; 3. Document the dust impactor environment (size-frequency) to help guide design engineering for the outpost and also future robotic missions.

NASA expects to place this orbiter into a low orbit (tentatively about 50 km) for at least four months (one month of check-out, and three months of data collection). The mission will be small; it is expected that the total available mass for all two or even three payload instruments will be approximately 20 kg. The available payload power is approximately 60W, but can peak to 100W depending on spacecraft orientation and thermal constraints.

The payload data rate is approximately 10Kbps with our baseline S-band communications system. Detailed trade studies of orbital elements versus payload mass and mission length are underway now. The orbiter payload is expected to include two instruments: a dust detector and a neutral mass spectrometer. However, there may be sufficient mass to include an additional atmospheric instrument. The mass devoted to science payload (instruments) is strictly limited, and will not be allowed to grow. The tight schedule (in order to reach launch in 2010-2011) and limited budget precludes extensive instrument development for this mission.

Description of Anticipated Requirement

The Government is initiating several new lunar missions based on the President’s Fiscal Year 2009 budget request including both orbiters and landers. These missions are lunar science missions within the overall envelope of the U.S. Space Exploration Policy. This Request for Information is directed to the first of these, a small lunar orbiter, LADEE, that will address elements of the 2007 National Research Council (NRC) Report, “Scientific Context for the Exploration of the Moon,” hereafter SCEM, in particular, the lunar environment (see objectives 8a and 8b in SCEM). A small spacecraft is now under development at NASA’s Ames Research Center under the direction of Dr. Butler Hine, project manager. Early estimates suggest that the spacecraft can accommodate approximately 20 kg of science instrumentation, although the precise mass of payload will depend on the launch mass available to the mission (LADEE is planned to be launched as a secondary payload with NASA’s GRAIL mission) as well as on the precise lunar orbit chosen for the mission. The current spacecraft schedule requires that the science instruments be delivered to Goddard Space Flight Center for accommodation on the spacecraft by April 2010.

The total budget for the LADEE mission through phase E is $80M. Schedule and budget constraints require that NASA mission planners focus on mature instruments including flight spares from other missions, engineering models for instruments from existing flight instruments that can easily be flight qualified, or at worst “build to print” instruments. If it is determined to be advantageous to the Government, the Government could initiate acquisition of instruments as early as 2008.

The NASA Science Mission Directorate (SMD) has issued this request for information (RFI) to survey the community for existing flight or near flight instruments that can potentially provide data sets relevant to the science objectives of the LADEE mission. The initial focus is on sensitive neutral mass spectrometers and on dust detectors, but other kinds of instruments are of interest if a case can be made that these instruments would also substantially address one or more of the goals of the LADEE mission and can be accommodated on the mission. The Government will also accept information on flight instruments that are “build to print.” That is, instruments already flying on other missions, or that have recently flown in space, and that can be built from the flight article prints without substantive change.

It is not NASA’s intent to publicly disclose proprietary information obtained during this RFI. To the full extent that it is protected pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act and other laws and regulations, information identified by a respondent as “Proprietary or Confidential” will be kept confidential. It is emphasized that this RFI is for planning and information purposes only and is not to be construed as a commitment by the Government to enter into a contractual agreement, nor will the Government pay for information solicited.

Instructions for Response:

The response to this RFI will be in the form of a PDF document that is uploaded through NASA’s NSPIRES system. The response should not exceed four pages in length. NASA is soliciting information that might be used by NASA to facilitate planning for new uses of existing spacecraft.

Material in a RFI response is confidential, nonbinding on the respondent, and will be used by NASA for information and planning purposes only. This RFI is not to be construed as a commitment by the Government nor will the Government pay for information solicited. No proposals will be awarded funding as a result of this RFI.

The complete RFI including background, requested information, and instructions for responding may be found at (select “Solicitations” then “Open Solicitations” then “Request for Information (NNH08ZDA006L): Instruments for LADEE Lunar Mission”).

Responses to this RFI must be submitted no later than April 18, 2008.

Contact Point

Questions concerning this Request for Information should be addressed to Dr. Sarah Noble, Planetary Science Division, Science Mission Directorate, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Washington, DC 20546; Telephone: (202) 358-3725; E-mail:

Point of Contact

Name: Dr. Sarah Noble
Title: Scientist
Phone: 202-358-3725
Fax: 202-358-3097

SpaceRef staff editor.