Status Report

NASA Sources Sought Notice: Radiation Shielding Materials Testing

By SpaceRef Editor
August 2, 2004
Filed under , ,

General Information

Document Type: Sources Sought Notice

Solicitation Number: SD41-08-04

Posted Date: Aug 02, 2004

Original Response Date: Aug 31, 2004

Current Response Date: Aug 31, 2004

Original Archive Date: Aug 02, 2005

Current Archive Date: Aug 02, 2005

Classification Code: A — Research & Development

Naics Code: 927110 — Space Research and Technology

Contracting Office Address

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


NASA/MSFC is hereby soliciting information about potential sources for Materials Maturation Capabilities for Space Radiation Shielding testing. No solicitation exists; therefore, do not request a copy of the solicitation. If a solicitation is released it will be synopsized in FedBizOpps and on the NASA Acquisition Internet Service.    

It is the potential offeror’s responsibility to monitor these sites for the release of any solicitation or synopsis. Responses must include the following:     name and address of firm, size of business; average annual revenue for past 3 years and number of employees, ownership, whether they are large, small, small disadvantaged, 8(a), HUBZone, and/or woman-owned, number of years in business, affiliate information:     parent company, joint venture partners, potential teaming partners, prime contractor (if potential sub) or subcontractors (if potential prime); list of customers covering the past five years (highlight relevant work performed, contract numbers, contract type, dollar value of each procurement; and point of contact – address and phone number).    

Questions should be directed to:     Glen Alexander at      

Please advise if the requirement is considered to be a commercial or commercial-type product.    

A commercial item is defined in FAR 2.101. This synopsis is for information and planning purposes and is not to be construed as a commitment by the Government nor will the Government pay for information solicited.    

Respondents will not be notified of the results of the evaluation.    

Respondents deemed fully qualified will be considered in any resultant solicitation for the requirement.      

The Government reserves the right to consider a small business or 8(a) set-aside based on responses hereto.    

All responses shall be submitted to Glen Alexander no later than August 31, 2004.    

Please reference SD41-08-04 in any response.      

Any referenced notes may be viewed at the following URLs linked below.

Purpose of RFI:     To solicit information critical in the establishment of a future RFQ and subsequent IDIQ type contract for materials testing capabilities.

Introduction:     NASA’s Exploration Systems Mission Directorate in concert with other major enterprises within the agency such as the Office of Space Flight (Code M), Office of the Chief Medical Officer (Code Z), NASA Centers, National Academy of Sciences, National Research Council, National Space Biomedical Research Institute (NSBRI), and other extramural partners, created the Bioastronautics Critical Path Roadmap (BCPR) to identify major risks in the conduct of human exploration of space.    

Radiation Protection is identified as a major risk for missions outside of LEO and is chronicled in the BCPR under Risks 31, 32, 33, 34 and 35.      

At the request of NASA for a review of its biomedical research program, the National Research Council recommended that ‘major emphasis should be given to determining the types and thicknesses of shielding necessary to reduce astronaut risks to acceptable levels.’ Further, the Council, in a separate report, advises that higher priority research should ‘determine how the selection and design of the space vehicle affect the radiation environment in which the crew has to exist.’ These are the goals of the One NASA Space Radiation Shielding Program (SRSP), and this specific area of interest addresses research activities that enable the execution of human space exploration. The SRSP is a multi-center, agency-wide research program comprised of research scientists and engineers from a wide cross section of industry, academia, other federal agencies, and national laboratories. SRSP is concerned chiefly with the identification, design, testing, and qualification of new and innovative shielding materials that are fit to meet the exploration challenge in deep space and on planetary surfaces.    

These new materials will encompass a broad spectrum of applications and mission scenarios including, but not limited to, spacecraft cladding, safe havens, habitats, EVA suits, advanced TPS materials and other applications involving material coverings of the habitable mission construct.      

The SRSP is charged with maturing such candidate radiation shielding materials at the Technology Readiness Level (TRL) of 3 to TRL levels 5 or 6. This maturation will be accomplished on materials that are selected based on their radiation shielding properties as recommended through SRSP processes. Between two to three materials per year will be selected, and a series of materials tests, i.e, mechanical, chemical, thermal, will be conducted based on environments (deep space), structural component testing, and specific application design requirements. All data generated will go into the Materials and Processes Technical Information System II (MAPTIS II) database so that it can be shared. The materials maturation project as described will provide a database of material properties for selected multifunctional radiation shielding material systems that support space exploration in the areas of space vehicle and habitat design. Candidate materials include polyethylene, select fiber-reinforced polymer composites, and high-strength polymers that contain high concentrations of hydrogen, carbon, and boron.    

The initial focus of the effort will be primarily the Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV), lunar habitats and EVA suits as precursors to a mission to mars. Experience:     Each respondent is asked to share the requisite experience base necessary to successfully execute an IDIQ materials testing effort for the NASA in order to document and control a materials space qualification effort.

List of Required Testing Capabilities:      

The respondent needs to define the list of tests required to achieve space flight qualification of materials to be utilized in four major mission scenarios:    

1) Transit to Moon/Mars,

2) Lunar Planetary Operations,

3) Mars Planetary Operations and

4) Ascent/Descent to/from LEO.    

The following is a partial listing of testing anticipated to support such multi-mission qualification requirements:

1) Define the mechanical properties for the new material in different mission environments such as Tensile testing at low, ambient, and high temperatures per ASTM D638.

2) Define the physical properties for the new material including thermal and electrical conductivity and coefficient of thermal expansion such as Thermal Conductivity testing per ASTM-D5930, Electrical Conductivity per JIS-H-0505, and Coefficient of Thermal Expansion testing per ASTM-D3386.

3) Define testing necessary to satisfy NASA safety standards and requirements such as the following: a)       Flammability testing per Section 4.1 and 4.2 of NASA-STD-6001

b)       Offgassing Determination testing per Section 4.7 of NASA-STD-6001

c)       Mechanical Impact testing per Section 4.13 and 4.14 of NASA-STD-6001

d)       Arc Tracking testing per Section 4.7 of NASA-STD-6001

e)       Fluids Reactivity testing per Section 4.15 of NASA-STD-6001

f)       Odor Assessment testing per Section 4.6 of NASA-STD-6001

4)     Define the adhesive characteristics of the new material with other materials including bonding and joining capabilities such as ASTM-D897, Standard Test Method for Tensile Properties of Adhesive Bonds. This section of the RFI is critical to the success of the anticipated procurement of an IDIQ materials testing effort as it will define the finite listing of tests to be acquired and whether some of the tests will be ‘government furnished.’      

As such, the respondent is asked to provide a listing of the appropriate tests, their capabilities to perform such tests, what sample size would be required to achieve a statistically significant result for space flight, cost range per sample of such testing and the time period including preliminary and post test documentation required for performance of the test.

Other:       List any other factors critical to the NASA achieving high quality results, economy and efficiency in operations or any other aspects of value to this government program.

Original Point of Contact

Glen A. Alexander, Contract Specialist, Phone (256) 544-3797, Fax (256) 544-8656, Email – Stephen S Stewart, contract specialist, Phone (256) 544-5061, Fax (256) 544-9354, Email

Email your questions to Glen A. Alexander at

SpaceRef staff editor.