Status Report

NASA Solicitation: Space Launch System RS-25 Core Engine

By SpaceRef Editor
September 24, 2014
Filed under , ,

Synopsis – Sep 24, 2014

General Information

    Solicitation Number: NNM06AB13C

    Posted Date: Sep 24, 2014

    FedBizOpps Posted Date: Sep 24, 2014

    Recovery and Reinvestment Act Action: No

    Original Response Date: Oct 09, 2014

    Current Response Date: Oct 09, 2014

    Classification Code: 18 — Space vehicles

    NAICS Code: 336415

Contracting Office Address

NASA/George C. Marshall Space Flight Center, Procurement Office, Marshall Space Flight Center, AL 35812


NASA/MSFC has a requirement for Core Stage Engines for the Space Launch System (SLS). The NASA Authorization Act of 2010 directed the Agency to develop, as rapidly as possible, replacement vehicles capable of providing both human and cargo launch capability to low-Earth orbit and to destinations beyond low-Earth orbit. In developing the SLS, the Act directed the Administrator to utilize, to the extent practicable, existing contracts, investments, workforce, industrial base, and capabilities from the Space Shuttle Program (SSP), Orion, and Ares I projects. This includes SSP-derived components and Ares I components that draw extensively on SSP heritage propulsion systems, including liquid fuel engines, external tank or tank-related capability, and solid rocket motors. To achieve this mandate, NASA initiated the development of the SLS with SSP and Ares I derived assets. Specific to the Core Stage Engine, the system will utilize modified RS-25 Space Shuttle Main Engine (SSME) hardware and Ares I components to provide the required lift capabilities. This procurement action is to acquire six additional RS-25 Core Stage Engines. These six flight engines in combination with the available RS-25 residual inventory will support the SLS flight manifest through the first five flights.

NASA/MSFC intends to negotiate with Aerojet Rocketdyne (AR) only for the six additional SLS RS-25 Core Stage Engines. This decision is made pursuant to FAR 6.302-1 (a) (2) (ii & iii), only one responsible source and no other supplies or services will satisfy agency requirements, which implements the authority for 10 U.S.C. 2304(c) (1). Competition is impractical for the following reasons:

Every liquid propellant rocket engine design has unique interfaces, interface conditions, physical features, and performance characteristics. These factors drive the design of the stage main propulsion system, the sizing of the propellant tanks, the constituents and capabilities of the ancillary systems used to support engine operation such as pneumatic and hydraulic fluid supply, communications, electrical power, and thrust vector control. They also can influence ground systems including handling and test equipment and even engine test stand. The engine performance also drives mission design at the vehicle level in terms of payload manifests, trajectory design, and abort scenario development.

Once an engine system is chosen for a launch vehicle architecture and that vehicle is certified for flight, changing to another engine system with substantive differences in form, fit, function, or performance would necessitate significant stage and vehicle redesign and recertification. The SLS Program is utilizing residual RS-25 assets from the Space Shuttle Program for the first four launches. Redesign efforts applied to the SLS vehicle to accommodate a change to a different Core Stage Engine would represent a substantial and unacceptable schedule delay for the fifth flight and a substantial and unacceptable budgetary impact to the program.

The RS-25 engine system design carries with it four decades of development and production activity and three decades of flight experience. The RS-25 engine design is the most advanced and complex engine ever built and flown in the United States. The development of a new engine design with the same form, fit, function, and performance of the RS-25 would involve significant and inherent technical risks and safety concerns. The RS-25 is fully matured from a technical perspective. With over one million seconds of accumulated hot-fire test time and the equivalent of over four hundred human spaceflights, the RS-25 design, production processes, and operational procedures have incorporated within them thousands of lessons learned. A new engine would not necessarily derive the same benefit from these lessons learned, the value of which is incalculable, thereby generating many programmatic and technical risks which are not present with RS-25.

Given the unique experience, perspective, and capabilities specifically pertaining to the RS-25 engine system that is possessed by Aerojet Rocketdyne; there is only one source for the six additional RS-25 Core Stage Engines that does not entail the substantial and unrecoverable duplication of cost, the creation of unacceptable schedule delays, and substantially increase the SLS Program technical risk.

The Government does not intend to acquire a commercial item using FAR Part 12.

Interested organizations may submit their capabilities and qualifications to perform the effort in writing to the identified point of contact not later than 4:30 p.m. local time on October 9, 2014. Such capabilities/qualifications will be evaluated solely for the purpose of determining whether or not to conduct this procurement on a competitive basis. A determination not to compete this proposed effort on a full and open competition basis, based upon responses to this notice, is solely within the discretion of the Government.

Oral communications are not acceptable in response to this notice.

All responsible sources may submit a response, which will be considered by the agency.

NASA Clause 1852.215-84, Ombudsman, is applicable. The installation Ombudsman is L. Dale Thomas, DE01, George C. Marshall Space Flight Center, MSFC, AL 35812, telephone (256)544-1180, email: [email protected] .

Point of Contact

    Name: Monica D Heidelberg

    Title: Contracting Officer

    Phone: 256-544-2168

    Fax: 256-544-4400

    Email: [email protected]

    Name: Mark A York

    Title: Contracting Officer

    Phone: 256-544-4028

    Fax: 256-544-4401

    Email: [email protected]


SpaceRef staff editor.