Status Report

NASA Solicitation: Orbital Debris Mitigation Options for Cubesat Missions

By SpaceRef Editor
April 23, 2012
Filed under , ,
NASA Solicitation: Orbital Debris Mitigation Options for Cubesat Missions

Synopsis – Apr 23, 2012

General Information

Solicitation Number: N/A
Reference Number: NNK12ZOP001L
Posted Date: Apr 23, 2012
FedBizOpps Posted Date: Apr 23, 2012
Recovery and Reinvestment Act Action: No
Original Response Date: May 25, 2012
Current Response Date: May 25, 2012
Classification Code: 18 — Space vehicles
NAICS Code: 541712
Set-Aside Code:

Contracting Office Address

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


INTRODUCTION The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Launch Service Program (LSP) invites you to submit a response to this inquiry to assist in the planning and development of potential launch opportunities for Cubesat missions on-board NASA-sponsored 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.

The objectives of this RFI are: 1) to invite industry to submit information that will allow NASA to assess various design alternatives for orbital debris mitigation options applicable to Cubesat missions in Low Earth Orbit (LEO); 2) to improve NASA’s knowledge of industry’s capability and viability; and 3) to improve the overall understanding of Cubesat mission designs consistent with NPR 8715.6A, NASA Procedural Requirements for Limiting Orbital Debris, NASA STD 8719.14, Process for Limiting Orbital Debris, and NASA Handbook 8719.14, Handbook for Limiting Orbital Debris.

BACKGROUND Cubesats are a new generation of satellites whose unique small size and relative low cost allow small private companies and institutions to launch their own projects into space. The missions typically end within one year of launch and the Cubesats remain in the heavily populated LEO as inactive spacecraft. As auxiliary payloads, Cubesats cannot currently be equipped with propulsion or pressurized systems and must be 1.33 kg per 10cm x 10cm x 10cm unit (up to 3 units). These design restrictions, in conjunction with agency orbital debris requirements, have thus far limited the types of orbits that can be achieved. While all orbital debris requirements need to be addressed and met, the most common requirements affecting Cubesats are risk of on-orbit collision (4.5) and orbit lifetime (4.6). NASA STD 8719.14 states in requirement 4.5-1 there must be less than 1:1,000 probability of collision with any existing space objects which are greater than 10 cm. Additionally, placing a Cubesat in an orbit above approximately 650 km circular violates requirement 4.6-1, which states that the orbital lifetime for any non-functioning spacecraft within LEO must be less than 25 years, if it is not placed into an otherwise acceptable disposal orbit.

SPECIFIC INFORMATION SOLICITED Given the parameters described above, Respondents to this RFI are requested to comment on technology developed by industry for post-mission disposal of Cubesats through methods including, but not limited to, atmospheric reentry, maneuvering to disposable orbits, and direct retrieval. In addition, please include the following information with your submittal:

* Organization name, address, principal activity of organization, primary point of contact, and telephone number.

* Capabilities and qualifications statement that addresses your ability to provide expertise relevant to the implementation of Cubesat missions.

* Summary of orbital debris mitigation concept, including how it is uniquely suitable for the low-cost Cubesat mission approach.

* Technology development required by the submitted concept/idea including (if appropriate) the maturity level of the respondent’s technologies in terms of heritage, with supporting evidence for the claimed heritage, and an estimate of investments to date.

* Other pertinent information that the Respondent deems necessary.


The requested responses are for information and planning purposes only. NASA does not intend to post information or questions received to any website or public access location, or notify individual respondents of evaluation results. Feedback to this RFI may be utilized in formulating the Government’s acquisition strategy and documents. Respondents deemed qualified will be considered in any resultant solicitation for the requirement.

Responses may be submitted as papers, presentations, or videos with a limit of ten (10) pages, twenty (20) slides, or five (5) minutes respectively. Acceptable formats include MS Word, PowerPoint, .pdf, or .mov. Font should be Times New Roman, minimum size 12. Responses should reference NNK12ZOP001L. Please submit responses no later than 4:00PM EST on May 25, 2012, to NASA/KSC Procurement Office, Attn: OP-LS, Helena Wilkas, Contracts Specialist, Kennedy Space Center, FL 32899, or via email at

NASA reserves the right to share 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 a solicitation seeking competitive proposals. Competition sensitive data should be clearly marked and will not be shared outside of the immediate NASA team. Please advise if this item is considered a commercial or commercial type product, as defined in Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) 2.101. 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 a Respondent for costs incurred to prepare responses to this RFI. No Solicitation exists at this time; therefore, do not request a copy of the solicitation. If a solicitation is released, it will be synopsized in FedBizOps and on the NASA Acquisition Internet Service (NAIS). Firms that respond to this RFI will be placed on any future mailing list for this acquisition. However, it is the responsibility of the respondent to monitor these websites for the release of any solicitation or synopsis. POINT OF CONTACT: Contracts Specialist: Helena Wilkas, Contracts Specialist, Phone (321)867-4133, Fax (321)867-4848, Email:

Point of Contact

Name: Helena Jo Wilkas
Title: Contract Specialist
Phone: 321-867-4133
Fax: 321-867-4848

Name: John M. Vondenhuevel
Title: Contracting Officer
Phone: 321-476-4756
Fax: 321-476-4746

SpaceRef staff editor.