Status Report

NASA Solicitation: Teaming Opportunity for Far-Infrared Explorer-FIREX

By SpaceRef Editor
April 2, 2011
Filed under , ,

Synopsis – Mar 30, 2011

General Information
Solicitation Number: SS-FIREX
Posted Date: Mar 30, 2011
FedBizOpps Posted Date: Mar 30, 2011
Recovery and Reinvestment Act Action: No
Original Response Date: Apr 15, 2011
Current Response Date: Apr 15, 2011
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/Langley Research Center, Mail Stop 144, Industry Assistance Office, Hampton, VA 23681-0001


This partnering synopsis solicits potential partners to participate in a proposal development activity that addresses the technical objectives and development of a complete mission in response to an anticipated Earth Venture Class Investigation Announcement of Opportunity (AO) expected to be released in the Spring/Summer of 2011. Earth Venture is a Program element within the Earth System Science Pathfinder Program (ESSP) consisting of a series of innovative, integrated, science-driven approaches to pressing Earth system science issues. The goal of NASA’s Earth Venture mission portfolio is to provide frequent flight opportunities for high quality, high value, focused Earth science investigations that can be accomplished under a not-to-exceed cost cap and that can be developed and flown relatively quickly, generally in 5 years or less. For additional information on the Venture Class program and a copy of the draft AO visit: {EF2EDAC6-FDD5-B1F7-1C5E-ACD03EACA010}&path=init

Participation in this partnering synopsis is open to all categories of U.S. and non-U.S. organizations, including educational institutions, industry, not-for-profit institutions, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, as well as NASA Centers and other U.S. Government Agencies. Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Other Minority Universities (OMUs), small disadvantaged businesses (SDBs), veteran-owned small businesses, service disabled veteran-owned small businesses, HUBzone small businesses, and women-owned small businesses (WOSBs) are encouraged to apply. Participation by non-U.S. organizations is welcome but subject to NASA’s policy of no exchange of funds, in which each government supports its own national participants and associated costs.

This partnering synopsis solicits partners in all the following areas: science instrumentation, payload operations, scientific algorithm development, spacecraft and launch operations.

(1) Science Instrumentation Partner(s) – LaRC is seeking potential partners for space borne science instrumentation in support of proposals which may include: (a) a compact, moderate resolution thermal infrared Fourier transform spectrometer; (b) instrumentation subsystem including pointing system, optics, black body, spectrometer, detectors, optomechanical structure, and electronics; (c) instrumentation systems engineering and integration; (d) implementation of techniques for meeting rigorous instrument calibration requirements that are traceable to international reference standards; and (e) validation and verification capability of sensor overall performance.

It is anticipated that the selected science instrumentation partner(s) would provide conceptual instrument designs (with sufficient details to enable accurate mass, volume, power, telemetry requirements), operational concepts, calibration and characterization definition and planning, payload constraints/interface analysis, technical risk analysis, and would participate in cost and schedule analysis as part of the mission concept proposal.

(2) Payload Operations Partner(s). Payload operations support a variety of operational modes, from safe hold, to calibration, to other diagnostic modes, to normal (baseline) data taking modes. The proposed payload may require special events operational support (e.g., calibration fields of view, thermal cycling, or other operational support) on command throughout the mission life. Therefore, potential partners are sought to provide payload operation solutions that represent enhanced capability for smart payloads and distributed planning and implementation.

(3) Scientific Algorithm Development Partner(s). The Principal Investigator and select Co-Investigator(s) will be responsible for generating the mission’s Algorithm Theoretical Basis Documents (ATBDs). These documents include the physical and mathematical description of the algorithms to be used in the generation of data products. Therefore, potential partners are being sought for development of the processing environment (i.e., tools for processing, analyzing and fusing data using algorithms provided by NASA and/or proposal team members) and to perform routine processing of data (Levels 0 to 1; 1 to 2; and 2 to 3). An algorithm partner may also be selected under this synopsis to serve as a member of the science team and may support the development of specific algorithms.

(4) Spacecraft and Launch Operations Partner(s). Potential partners are being sought to provide cost effective access to orbit. Offerors should describe co-manifest launch options, hosted payload opportunities and other innovative approaches to obtaining low-cost access to low-Earth orbits for consideration in mission planning. Launch operations include all services associated with placing the satellite into its proper orbit, including but not limited to; integration of the satellite with the launch vehicle, launch operations and range services. It is anticipated that the selected spacecraft partner(s) would participate in design activities related to achieving efficient integration and operation of the FIREX instrument and mission operations, and would participate in cost and schedule analyses as part of the mission concept proposal.

The unique requirements of the FIREX mission are provided here:

Notional FIREX Mission Requirements

* Minimum Operational life: 2 years with consumables for up to 5 years
* Nominal Orbit Altitude: 400 to 600 kilometers
* Nominal Orientation: Local Vertical Local Horizontal (LVLH)
* Orbit: Earth orbiting, 50 to 90 degree inclination
* Payload risk classification of “D” should be assumed per NASA Procedural Requirement (NPR) 8705.4 Risk Classification for NASA Payloads
* Yaw maneuver may be required for payload thermal management

Notional FIREX Instrument Characteristics

* Mass: Less than 100 kg including contingency
* Power: Less than 150 Watt including contingency
* Spectral Range: 5 to 50 micrometers (2000 to 200 wavenumbers)
* Spectral Resolution: 0.5 wavenumber unapodized
* Absolute accuracy: 0.2 Kelvin (2-sigma) over entire spectral range
* Data rate: Less than 300 kbps
* Instantaneous Field of View: 25 km at 600 km orbit

Earth Venture proposed investigations will be evaluated and selected through a single step competitive process. This single step is the solicitation, submission, evaluation, and selection of proposals prepared in response to this AO. As the outcome of this single step, NASA Headquarters intends to select at least one mission to proceed to mission development for flight and operations.

This partnering opportunity does not guarantee selection for award of any contracts or other agreements, nor is it to be construed as a commitment by NASA to pay for the information solicited. It is expected that the partner(s) selected would provide (at no cost to NASA) technical requirements, conceptual designs, technical data, proposal input, project schedules, and cost estimates. If the proposal is subsequently selected, NASA LaRC anticipates issuing contracts or other agreements to the selected partner(s) for performance of the proposed tasks.

NASA LaRC is committed to transparency and openness in the generation of its science data products. Openness and transparency are critical to continued scientific and engineering progress and to building public trust in the nation’s scientific enterprise (National Science Board 2/11). Consequently, it is anticipated that future contracts or other agreements with selected partner(s) would emphasize broad dissemination and sharing of instrument testing, performance, and results with the science community/public.

Partner selections will be made by LaRC based on the listed criteria: (1) Relevant Experience, past performance. This criterion evaluates the proposers’ relevant recent experience, past performance in similar space flight development activities. Substantive evidence of successful participation in similar developments should be included. (2) Technical Capability and key personnel. This criterion evaluates technical capability to perform the development and key personnel available to support the development. Evidence of staffing estimates with available key personnel shall be included. Past successful programs and technical contributions shall be included. (3) Facilities. This criterion evaluates the proposers’ facilities (development, testing, calibration, and analyses) to conduct the development or demonstration of the proposed task. Instrument facilities for testing of space hardware and prototype hardware are considered important to this opportunity. The proposer should discuss facility availability, access, and the ability to meet the proposed objectives. (4) Cost and Schedule control. The proposer shall provide evidence of past performance of controls of cost and schedule on similar development and provide examples of management processes utilized to effect and track cost and schedule.

(Note: The Earth Venture draft solicitation includes a student collaboration incentive (defined as 1% of the mission cost cap). The student collaboration (SC) can take the form of an instrument development, an investigation of scientific questions, analysis and display of data, development of supporting hardware or software, or other aspects of the investigation. Consequently, NASA LaRC is interested in SC activities from prospective offerors for the instrument and spacecraft that maximize the opportunity for teaching, learning, and success in contributing to the mission. A proposed SC is optional and the merit of the SC will not be evaluated as part of this process.)

RESPONSE INSTRUCTIONS: Responses to this partnering synopsis shall be limited to 5 pages in not less than 12-point font for each technical area of interest (i.e. offerors responding to one or more of the mission elements may submit up to 5 pages per each element). Responses shall address each of the evaluation criteria listed below. Resumes of key personnel and a cover page that clearly identifies the mission element area addressed by the response do not count against the total allocated page count. In addition, student collaboration activities proposed do not count against the total page count.

All responses shall be submitted to LaRC electronically via e-mail by 4:30 pm Eastern Daylight Time April 15, 2011 to and Technical and programmatic questions should be directed to Mary DiJoseph at, or (757) 864 4089. Procurement questions should be directed to Brad Gardner at or (757) 864-2525.

Point of Contact

Name: Robert B. Gardner
Title: Contracting Officer
Phone: 757-864-2525
Fax: 757-864-7898

Name: Teresa M Hass
Title: Contracting Officer
Phone: 757-864-8496
Fax: 757-864-8863

SpaceRef staff editor.