Status Report

NASA Solicitation: Technology Demonstration Missions BAA

By SpaceRef Editor
March 8, 2011
Filed under , ,

Synopsis – Mar 01, 2011

General Information

Solicitation Number: NNM11ZDA001K
Posted Date: Mar 01, 2011
FedBizOpps Posted Date: Mar 01, 2011
Recovery and Reinvestment Act Action: No
Original Response Date: May 31, 2011
Current Response Date: May 31, 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/George C. Marshall Space Flight Center, Procurement Office, Marshall Space Flight Center, AL 35812


The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Marshall Space Flight Center is releasing a Technology Demonstration Missions (TDM) Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) in support of the Office of Chief Technologist (OCT). The BAA will be available on March 1, 2011, by opening the NASA Research Opportunities homepage at and then linking through the menu listings “Solicitations” to “Open Solicitations.”

This announcement solicits proposals for the demonstration of space technologies that provide new system-level technological capabilities. OCT TDM is seeking to identify candidate crosscutting, system-level technologies to be demonstrated in the relevant environment such as ground, air, suborbital or orbital regimes. A key requirement in this program is that the technology under consideration must clearly be crosscutting. Crosscutting is defined as a technology with potential to benefit more than one customer, where a customer can be a NASA Mission Directorate, another government agency, academia, or the aerospace industry. Specifically, “system-level technologies” implies an integrated system with mission capability and not component-level demonstrations. OCT is seeking new capability demonstrations that advance the technology readiness of the selected systems, provide tangible, innovative technology products, are cost effective, and capture significant public interest and awareness. The candidate technology must be mature, at least Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 5 at the time of the proposal submission, and the proposed demonstration must raise the technology readiness of the new capability, to TRL 7 or higher, such that it may be infused into the critical path for future missions.

This announcement solicits technology demonstration proposals in the following four focused technology areas:

High Bandwidth Deep Space Communication, Navigation, and Timing Communication and navigation are enabling services that are required by all spacecraft. Advancement in communication and navigation technology will allow future missions to implement new and more capable science instruments, greatly enhance human missions beyond Earth orbit, and enable entirely new mission concepts. Future mission requirements drive the need for increased navigation precision and enhanced communication solutions. Demonstrations that advance high bandwidth deep space communications capabilities are of interest. Navigation technologies that significantly enhance timing accuracy as well as autonomous navigation techniques for precise spacecraft maneuvers are of interest. Systems that integrate technology developed across communication and navigation are also of interest. The capability can be self-contained or distributed, such as a constellation of two or more spacecraft flying in relatively close formation that together demonstrate an aperture or baseline that is larger and more capable.

Orbital Debris Mitigation or Removal Systems Over the course of 50+ years of space activities, over 500,000 man-made objects have accumulated in Earth orbit, ranging from low to geosynchronous altitudes and beyond. These objects pose long-term dangers to current and future space missions. Once these objects are accurately located and tracked, methods must be developed to de-orbit, destroy, collect, or divert these objects. This solicitation seeks proposals for the demonstration of systems capable of mitigation or removal of small debris (1-10 centimeters), as well as systems capable of mitigation or removal of large objects (10+ centimeters) from Earth orbit.

Advanced In-Space Propulsion Systems In-space propulsion begins where launch vehicle upper stage propulsion leaves off, providing primary propulsion and orbital maneuvering capabilities. Advanced in-space propulsion technologies will enable much more effective exploration of the solar system by allowing mission designers to plan more robust missions with shorter trip times and lower costs. This solicitation is seeking proposals to demonstrate novel in-space systems providing primary propulsion capabilities. Systems utilizing green propellants, solar sails, tethers, beamed-energy propulsion and other advanced systems are of interest. Note: Solar Electric Propulsion, Nuclear systems and Aerocapture technology demonstration missions are not solicited in this BAA.

Autonomous Rendezvous, Docking, Close Proximity Operations and Formation Flying The ability of space assets to autonomously rendezvous and dock enables human and science exploration, as well as satellite servicing/rescue, and is an essential capability for the future of human and robotic missions. One of the challenges for autonomous rendezvous and docking is proximity operations. Proximity operations to targets such as spacecraft, space telescopes or Near Earth Objects (NEOs) will require advanced autonomous rendezvous and coupling technologies. Objects like NEOs that lack docking infrastructure, and may also be tumbling, are particularly challenging. This solicitation is seeking demonstrations of full autonomy and automation of rendezvous, docking, close proximity operations and formation flying that would provide future missions with a ready-to-fly capability that is reliable, versatile, cost-effective, and could be utilized in either low Earth orbit or deep space.

For crosscutting space technology demonstrations, such as those sought in this BAA, cost sharing (a goal of at least 25% is desired) of the total life cycle costs from a source other than NASA OCT is required. Cost sharing can be through in-kind contributions and/or funding provided after ATP. A signed, dated Letter of Commitment shall be provided from source(s) funding or in-kind contributions outside of OCT. It is anticipated that firm-fixed-price contracts with priced options will be awarded for this effort. An appropriate interagency or intra-agency agreement will be used for awardees of Federal entities.

Proposals shall be submitted electronically, and all proposers shall use NASA’s proposal data system, NSPIRES ( ). In addition, the electronic proposals must be submitted by an authorized official of the proposing organization. Participation is open to all categories of organizations, including educational institutions, industry, nonprofit organizations, Federally Funded Research and Development Centers (FFRDCs), University Affiliated Research Centers (UARCs), the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), NASA Centers, and other Government agencies. Every organization that intends to submit a proposal in response to this BAA must be registered with NSPIRES, and such registration must identify the authorized organizational representative(s) who will submit the electronic proposal. Potential proposers and proposing organizations are urged to access the electronic proposal system(s) well in advance of the proposal due date(s) to familiarize themselves with its structure and enter the requested information. Specific proposal submission deadline dates, evaluation criteria, and submission information will be identified in the BAA. Proposals will be due on May 31, 2011.

Awards based on this solicitation are contingent on availability of appropriated funds.

Obtain additional programmatic information from: Bonnie James/NASA HQ Email:

Point of Contact

Name: Mark R. Stiles
Title: Contracting Officer
Phone: 256-544-0381
Fax: 256-544-6062

SpaceRef staff editor.