Status Report

NASA Solicitation: Seeking Collaboration to Conduct Student Competition to Name the Node 2 Element of the International Space Station

By SpaceRef Editor
January 26, 2005
Filed under , , ,
NASA Solicitation: Seeking Collaboration to Conduct Student Competition to Name the Node 2 Element of the International Space Station

Synopsis – Jan 26, 2005

General Information

Solicitation Number: N-A
Posted Date: Jan 26, 2005
FedBizOpps Posted Date: Jan 26, 2005
Original Response Date: Feb 28, 2005
Current Response Date: Feb 28, 2005
Classification Code: 99 — Miscellaneous
NAICS Code: 541710 – Research and Development in the Physical, Engineering, and Life Sciences

Contracting Office Address

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


Statement of Purpose

NASA seeks an unfunded collaboration with a commercial or non-profit organization to define, organize and execute a nationwide project-oriented competition for K-12 students in U.S. schools to select a name for the Node 2 element of the International Space Station (ISS) to be launched on a future Space Shuttle flight. In some cases where there is significant private investment, provision of value-added public benefits and value to NASA, the Agency may contemplate limited exclusive offers, under certain conditions, such as official designation or association with NASA.

This request for entrepreneurial offer outlines the minimum requirements for a project-oriented competition designed to inspire and motivate U.S. students to pursue studies and careers in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) as they apply similar principles to a project that may result in the official name for the ISS Node 2 element. NASA is interested in receiving from U.S. companies, academic institutions, or non-profit organizations creative recommendations to accomplish these minimums and any additional ideas that may increase public involvement in NASA’s human space flight programs. It is intended that this request for entrepreneurial offer will result in the establishment of a non-reimbursable Space Act Agreement by June 15, 2005 that will define the full roles and responsibilities of NASA and the proposing organization. For information on Space Act Agreements, please see .

Mission Background

NASA is embarking on a new and exciting chapter in space exploration. The new vision for U.S. space exploration calls for a sustained, achievable, and affordable human and robotic program to explore the solar system and beyond. The International Space Station (ISS) has played and will now play an even more crucial role in paving the way for human space exploration beyond low Earth orbit. The President directed NASA to complete assembly of the ISS by the end of this decade and to focus U.S. research and use of the ISS on supporting space exploration goals, with emphasis on understanding how the space environment affects astronaut health and developing countermeasures and spacecraft systems, such as those for life support.

NASA’s Node 2 is the next pressurized module to be installed on the Space Station. The arrival of the Node marks the completion of the core U.S. portion of the ISS and, as the connecting point for several of the International Partner elements, will set in motion the final steps toward completing the assembly of the ISS. When installed on the U.S. Laboratory Destiny, Node 2 will increase the living and working space inside the Space Station to approximately 18,000 cubic feet.

Attaching Node 2 to Destiny will allow several key science facilities to be attached to the International Space Station, including the Japanese Experiment Module name “Kibo,” or Hope – the research laboratory developed by the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA); the Columbus Module – a general purpose science lab designed by the European Space Agency; and the Centrifuge Accommodation Module – a U.S. laboratory dedicated to gravitational biology research. The Node 2 will accommodate the H2 Transfer Vehicle – a Japanese carrier similar to the Russian Progress supply ship, which takes supplies to and from the Space Station. A pressurized mating adapter attached to the Node 2 will become the Space Shuttle’s primary docking location on the International Space Station. Multipurpose Logistics Modules that carry cargo and experiment racks to and from the Station will also use specific docking ports on the Node 2.

Alenia Spazio, an international contractor based in Rome, Italy designed and built the Node 2 at its facility in Torino, Italy, as part of an agreement between NASA and the European Space Agency. The Node 2 project is managed by NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, AL. In May 2003, the Node 2 was shipped to the Kennedy Space Center, FL, from where it will be launched on the Space Shuttle to the International Space Station.

Project Background: “Name the Node 2” Competition

Names for NASA missions, spacecraft, landers, and rovers ultimately will be selected by the responsible mission directorate managers at NASA Headquarters, Washington, D.C. Submissions of candidate names, however, may be gathered through a variety of methods, including competitions that invite participation by K-12 students. By focusing the International Space Station (ISS) “Name the Node 2” competition on K-12 entries, NASA seeks to engage U.S. students in the engineering and scientific enterprise behind human space flight programs in furtherance of national goals to stimulate interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education in preparation for careers in these fields. NASA views such competitions as opportunities that further the Agency objectives to “inspire the next generation of explorers”, involve the public, and distribute knowledge gained from the space program to a broad audience. To support these objectives, NASA has determined that all suggestions for potential names for the Node 2 will be gathered through a “Name the Node 2” project-oriented competition with broad K-12 student participation.

Because such competitions draw considerable public interest, the process of registering, sorting, evaluating and judging entries is labor-intensive and requires careful consideration of entries and feedback to entrants. At the same time, such competitions present excellent opportunities to engage the interest of young Americans in space science and exploration, its objectives, and the advances it produces in science, math, engineering and technology and knowledge in general.


This request will be open through six weeks following date of release of this announcement. All proposals must be received by February 28, 2005 to be considered. The successful proposer will agree to conduct a competition during the Fall 2005 semester to evaluate, select and deliver to the Office of the Chief Education Officer at NASA Headquarters by February 28, 2006, the top 25 names that have been proposed and the associated nomination projects submitted by the students. A panel of NASA representatives from the Office of the Chief Education Officer and the Office of Space Operations, at a minimum, will recommend a subset of 10 names to senior NASA management by April 28, 2006. NASA Headquarters will make the final selection by May 31, 2006.

Benefits to a Corporate Partner

In exchange for the creation and facilitation of the naming competition, NASA may consider negotiating limited exclusivity and other opportunities as part of a strategic collaboration. Consideration may be made for those offers that are commensurate in value, and reflect NASA mission, values and goals.

The selected proposer would have an opportunity to be part of a historic mission, one that helps NASA reach its mission and outreach goals. Secondly, the selected proposer would have the appropriate level of acknowledgement as a partner with NASA, commensurate with the proposer’s added value return to the Agency.

NASA projects attract extraordinary public awareness and interest on an international level. During the course of the Mars Exploration Rovers project there was extensive coverage through virtually all media outlets, over one billion hits were observed on project Web sites, and the project received extensive attention in multiple public forums including academic, Congressional and industry communities.

Deliverables include, but are not limited to:

  • – Monthly status reports on competition plans and progress from July 2005 through the launch of Node 2 no earlier than December 2006 containing, for example, : o The number of schools, education organizations and students reached directly and indirectly through promotion strategies; o Number of respondents from each school/city/state at each grade level; o Post-selection plan for making any awards or prizes.
  • – A contest summary report due February 28, 2006 that includes: o The top 25 nominations and rationale for their selection; o Final data on competition participation; o Advertising and/or educational programs associated with the winners or winning submissions. o Lessons learned.
  • – The competition organizer will preserve relevant data on the numbers of entries received, the most commonly suggested names, the most unique names, and the locations in the U.S. or its territories from which entries are received. All submitted student projects become the property of NASA.
  • – Weekly status teleconference

Terms of Agreement

The Space Act Agreement will be in effect from the time of selection through completion of proposed activities, or no later than the launch of Node 2. There are no options for renewal.

Instructions for Proposal Preparation

Proposals will be judged on their educational value and the expected breadth and depth of penetration into the national K-12 student population via the mass media and traditional channels into the classroom. Proposers are strongly encouraged to develop the plan in cooperation with a nationally recognized education association or similar professional educator network of the proposer’s choosing. A key goal of this effort is to inspire American youth in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics learning; creative collaborations between commercial and non-profit educational organizations in furtherance of this objective are encouraged. The successful proposal will include:

  • – A plan to launch and manage a project-oriented competition inviting K-12 students nationwide to submit, at no charge, names and associated projects for the Node 2 element of the International Space Station (ISS). Student projects will explain the nomination. Submissions from students will be invited in the Fall 2005 semester, and will be accepted through December 16, 2005. Both electronic mail and paper mail delivery (including submission by compact disc) will be accepted as means of submission. Proposals must include the process for handling electronic submissions.
  • – A description of roles and responsibilities of competition coordinators, and the management structure of the implementation team.
  • – A description of how the competition will be conducted, including how entries from widely varying age groups will be judged based on grade-appropriate evaluations. In addition, it should include how the competition will be widely advertised, how it will be evaluated and by whom, qualifications of competition judges, how duplicate entries (same name proposed by multiple entrants) will be judged, and what recognition, benefits and/or prizes all entrants shall receive. The proposer also must describe how personal information, submitted by the essay authors, will be protected (most, if not all, of the authors will be minors) and any proposed, additional use of that information.
  • – A schedule of key events in the process aligned with the schedule provided with this solicitation.
  • – Description of the educational plan for the competition and how it will reinforce and sustain student learning.
  • – Description of additional activities to increase public involvement in NASA’s human space flight programs.
  • Threshold Requirements
  • All proposals must comply with the following to be considered:
  • – Demonstrable ability to design, conduct, manage, and finance this competition under the parameters described.
  • – Organization and its proposal are consistent with NASA mission, objectives and values.
  • – No requirement of personal endorsement or personnel participation in advertising or marketing by NASA officials or employees.
  • – Compliance with Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1972, the Child Online Privacy Protection Act, and any other applicable Federal laws.

Evaluation Criteria and Award Process

The five evaluation criteria listed below are in a descending order of importance. The government will make award for the proposal that is most advantageous to the government based on these five factors.

1. Short- and long-term educational benefits associated with participation in the “Name the Node 2” competition.

NASA education programs are founded on six principles established by the Chief Education Officer. These principles define the criteria for exemplary programs by which NASA Education programs are evaluated. Proposals will be judged on their ability to incorporate these principles:

Customer Focus: Programs are designed to respond to a need identified by the education community, a customer, or a customer group.

Content: Programs make direct use of NASA content, people, or facilities to involve educators, students, and/or the public in NASA science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

Pipeline: Programs make a demonstrable contribution to attract diverse populations to careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

Diversity: Programs reach identified targeted groups.

Evaluation: Programs implement an evaluation plan to document outcomes and demonstrate progress toward achieving objectives.

Partnerships/Sustainability: Programs achieve high leverage and/or sustainability through intrinsic design or the involvement of appropriate local, regional, and national partners in their design, development, and dissemination.

2. Demonstrated experience and success in achieving breadth and depth of penetration into the K-12 student population by the proposed activity, e.g., awareness of, and access to, the “Name the Node 2” competition by all geographic and socio-economic segments.

3. Demonstrated ability to design, construct, manage, and finance the “Name the Node 2” competition under the guidelines stated in this solicitation. Include documented ability to efficiently and effectively accept, review, store, summarize, recommend, and deliver the received nomination essays and associated summary and demographic statistics, e.g., distribution of submissions by geographic, economic (urban, rural, etc.) and educational region, grade-level participation. Provide relevant milestone schedules. In addition, provide evidence of financial stability such as annual audits, balance sheets, etc.

4. Ease and availability of the nomination process to participating students

5. Additional value and benefits to NASA.

Special Agreement Conditions

Following NASA’s guidelines, names of current or proposed space missions cannot be used, and if the Node 2 is to be named after a person, that person must be deceased with no post mortem right of publicity. The Node 2 cannot be called by a name already adopted by any previous, present or planned astronomical observatory (domestic or international). Names may not include terms reserved for ongoing NASA flight programs (e.g., Explorer, Discovery, Navigator). A trademark search shall be performed before a final selection of a name is made to uncover any possible trademarks that could cause confusion. Further information on official names for major NASA projects may be found at the following Web site:

The naming competition must be open to all students who, in the Fall 2005 semester, will be in grades K-12 in the U.S. (including U.S. possessions and schools operated by the U.S. for the children of American personnel overseas), except employees directly affiliated with NASA, the proposer’s organizations/companies, and their immediate families.

Any web sites created in conjunction with this project must be fully accessible to the disabled, according to the 1998 amendment of Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1972, and comply with the Child Online Privacy Protection Act and any other applicable federal laws.

This request has no relationship to any other NASA request. Participation in this effort is strictly voluntary with no cost or obligation to be incurred by NASA. NASA will in no way be obligated to purchase all or any part of the information provided. This request is not to be construed as a commitment by NASA, nor will NASA pay for the information solicited. Respondents will be sent an acknowledgement of the receipt of their materials. Any questions regarding this request should be directed to the identified point of contact. Submittals should be limited to no more than ten pages (including cover), double-spaced, 1″ margins using Times New Roman 12-point type. Excluded from the 10-page limit is documentation regarding financial stability. Submissions may be in either hard-copy format or on compact disk in PDF format. Submissions must be received at the address indicated below no later than 4:30 pm Eastern time, on February 28, 2005. Proposals hand-carried or delivered by commercial couriers must arrive at NASA’s Shipping and Receiving, rear of the building, at the street address below. NASA will use submissions only for evaluation purposes under this announcement. All proprietary information must be clearly marked in the proposals.

Submit Proposals to:

Erika G. Vick NASA Headquarters, Room 2P53 300 E Street SW Washington, DC 20546

For more information: 202-358-2209

Point of Contact

Name: Erika G Vick
Title: NASA Education Flight Projects Office
Phone: (202) 358-2209
Fax: (202) 358-3032

SpaceRef staff editor.