Status Report

NASA Solicitation: Request for Information Constellation Study for Future Earth Gravity Field Missions

By SpaceRef Editor
February 15, 2013
Filed under , , ,

Synopsis – Feb 15, 2013

General Information

Solicitation Number: NNH13ZDA007L
Posted Date: Feb 15, 2013
FedBizOpps Posted Date: Feb 15, 2013
Recovery and Reinvestment Act Action: No
Original Response Date: Apr 01, 2013
Current Response Date: Apr 01, 2013
Classification Code: A — Research and Development
NAICS Code: 541712

Contracting Office Address

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


1. Scope of the Program

This announcement seeks proposals for participation in a select group of four scientists to help define the possible and appropriate mission and constellation concepts for future gravity field missions and, more specifically, elements of future gravity constellations. These four scientists will participate in a joint NASA/European Space Agency (ESA) Gravity Constellation Study Team (GCST).

The past decade has seen remarkable progress in the advance of space-based measurements of the Earth’s gravity field and its temporal changes. The combined missions of NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) and ESA’s Global Ocean Circulation Experiment (GOCE) have demonstrated new technologies and the importance of gravity field dynamics in understanding mass transport within the Earth System. The importance of these scientific results led NASA and the GFZ, the German Research Centre for Geosciences, to support a GRACE Follow-On (GRACE FO) mission to continue these measurement products. GRACE FO will also demonstrate laser interferometry to improve measurement resolution of future satellite gravity missions. GRACE FO is scheduled for launch in 2017.

NASA and ESA recognize the substantial contributions of these Gravity Field missions to our understanding of the changes in the Earth’s environment and resources. NASA and ESA have agreed to cooperate in the development of future space based gravity field measurement strategies beyond GRACE FO and GOCE. The agencies recognize that future missions should exploit new technologies and mission measurement strategies to improve the scientific value and societal benefits from the gravity measurements, and they agree, in principle, to seek to define future gravity field measurements that remain within affordable and cost effective budget projections and employ the assets of both agencies in a complementary fashion. The GCST will be expected to consider the synergistic opportunities presented by likely operational missions within the 2020 – 2030 timeframe.

2. NASA Gravity Constellation Study Team (GCST)

2.1 GCST Structure

The NASA-ESA GCST will consist of eight members identified and agreed to by NASA and ESA, with four members provided by each Agency. The teams will consist of experts in Space Based Gravity Field measurements, data analysis, and applications to critical areas of Earth System Science addressing mass transport within the Atmosphere, Hydrosphere, Cryosphere, and Solid Earth. Once selected, the team members will spend two years in the development of technical recommendations for future gravity mission design, culminating in a report to be submitted to both NASA and ESA. GCST Co-Chairs, one each from NASA and ESA, will be appointed by NASA and ESA from among the GCST membership.

2.2 GCST Responsibilities

NASA’s charge to the GCST is to recommend science requirements, investigation approaches, key mission properties, technologies, and constellation designs. The charge also includes evaluation of and recommendations for sensor calibration and data validation plans and instrumentation, as needed. The GCST could also make recommendations for future technology and model investments in preparation for future gravity missions.

The GCST will work with NASA and ESA mission designers and Earth system modelers to help assure the maximum scientific return and to ensure the validity and impact of the GCST recommendations. Members of the GCST will work in collaboration with ESA and NASA program management and technical personnel at the participating field centers.

All meetings of the GCST will be open, all reports and other output of the GCST will be made publicly available, and the GCST will be disbanded prior to any future Request for Proposals (RFP) or Announcement of Opportunity (AO) for participation in future Gravity Field Missions.

The initial meeting of the GCST is targeted for September of 2013. The GCST can be expected to meet in person six times over the two years following GCST selection. The likely meeting duration will be two or three days. The GCST may also conduct regular teleconference meetings. Meetings will be called by the GCST Co-Chairs and the agenda will be set by the Co-Chairs in coordination with NASA and ESA cognizant program managers to ensure that planned activities are aligned with programmatic needs and expectations. All travel expenses to meetings (including per diem for the required meeting travel dates) will be reimbursed. There will be no salary support for the GCST members. Additional analysis support to carry out appropriate mission or constellation studies will be supplied by NASA and ESA, as appropriate and available.

2.3 GCST Membership Proposal Content

Response to this Call is in the form of a Letter of Application. In the letter, the applicant should provide evidence of expertise and knowledge in areas highly relevant to the primary scientific goals and related technology of space based gravity field measurement. Each proposal’s focus could include but not be limited to: methods and an understanding of current limitations in the application of space based gravity field measurement systems and their applications to mass transport analysis for one or more of the major components of the Earth System, i.e., Atmosphere, Hydrosphere, Cryosphere, Solid Earth. Each proposal must also articulate the proposed contributions of the proposer to the assessment of future gravity mission and constellation concepts.

The Letter may also contain a brief list of references to scientific or technical papers the applicant has published that establish her/him as a leader in the field of space gravity measurement and analysis for Earth System Science. The Letter should also contain a statement that the applicant will be able to provide the necessary work time and effort over the next two years for activities required to fulfill the defined goals of the GCST.

Letter applications are invited from individuals, not groups. Collaborations and teams are not solicited. Each Letter is to be limited to five pages, with 12-point font and one-inch margins. The subject line of a responsive application must read “NASA Gravity Constellation Study Team Application.” Responses to this invitation should be received no later than April 1, 2013.

3. Submission Procedure

All responses to this call must be submitted as a PDF file via the NASA Solicitation and Proposal Integrated Review and Evaluation System (NSPIRES) at . No hard copy is permitted since NASA plans to use the NSPIRES system to facilitate the review process. To respond to this call, login to NSPIRES, choose “Proposals,” then “Create proposal” and “Solicitation,” and search on “NNH13ZDA007L” or “Constellation Study Team”.

Submission of electronic proposals via NSPIRES requires coordinated actions within the proposing institution. In particular, when the PI has completed entry of the data requested in the required electronic forms and attachment of the proposal PDF, the organization representative (AOR) must submit the electronic proposal.

Offerors are encouraged to begin their submission process early. Tutorials and other NSPIRES help topics may be found online at . For any questions that cannot be resolved with the available on-line help menus, requests for assistance may be directed by E-mail to or by telephone to (202) 479-9376, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Eastern Time (excluding Federal holidays).

4. Selection of the GCST

NASA Headquarters Program Scientists, in coordination with their ESA programmatic colleagues, will select the four NASA GCST members from the pool of respondents. The Program Scientist, Dr. John LaBrecque, will notify selectees.

5. Point of Contact

The NASA Point of Contact for this program is:

Dr. John LaBrecque Lead, Earth Surface and Interior Earth Science Division Science Mission Directorate Mail Suite 3B74 NASA Headquarters 300 E Street, SW Washington, DC 20546 Tel: 202-358-1373 E-mail: Fax: 202-358-2770

Point of Contact

Name: Dr. John L LaBrecque
Title: Lead, Earth Surface and Interior
Phone: 202-358-1373
Fax: 202-358-2770

SpaceRef staff editor.