Status Report

NSF Solicitation: Satellite Based Broadband Communications Services

By SpaceRef Editor
May 9, 2011
Filed under , ,

Satellite Based Broadband Communications Services
Solicitation Number: NSF_SATCOM_RFI_2011
Agency: National Science Foundation
Office: Division of Acquisition and Cooperative Support
Location: DACS

olicitation Number:
Notice Type:
Special Notice
Added: Apr 29, 2011 3:36 pm
This is a reposting of the Notice posted April 27, 2011, for administrative reasons.

W.L. Pritchard & Co., L.C. (WLPCO) is issuing this Request for Information (RFI) as a means of conducting market research to identify industry recommendations for means to obtain satellite-based broadband communications services between the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station located at the geographic South Pole (90*S latitude) and the continental United States. WLPCO presently provides support to the National Science Foundation (NSF), an Executive Branch independent agency of the United States Government. On behalf of the NSF, WLPCO is seeking information on approaches to meet the Government’s long term broadband communications needs anticipated for U.S. Antarctic Program science research and mission operations conducted at or near Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station during the 2017-2030+ time frame.

NSF will use information received as part of its strategic planning efforts to identify and characterize a range of communication services options for supporting U.S. activities in Antarctica.

Of particular interest are commercial approaches that would allow the NSF to enter into a long term lease of communications services from a service provider. Approaches that leverage other prospective government and/or private sector interests to buttress a business case for construction/launch of new resources are also of interest.

This RFI provides a broad statement of the Government’s needs and seeks industry suggested approaches to satisfy those needs and provide insight into the associated technology and risk.

Responses to this RFI will be treated as information only and will be considered as part of the Government’s market research efforts.

Background: The National Science Foundation funds and manages the U.S. Antarctic Program (USAP). Refer to for information on the Office of Polar Programs, and for information on research stations in Antarctica. Refer to for information on South Pole Station.

Description of Services: South Pole Station is the only NSF research station in Antarctica that cannot be served by conventional North-South station-kept geostationary satellites. It is beyond the coverage of geostationary satellites with less than nine degrees inclination. The station currently accesses GOES-3 (launched in 1978), and NASA TDRS F4, F5 and F6. Given the orbit characteristics of these satellites, communications capability at present is not full-time. The station also uses Iridium service to provide thin network coverage during daily gaps in broadband services provided by GOES and TDRS. Additional information about current South Pole Station satellite communications may be found here:

A summary of NSF communications mission needs in support of USAP operations can be found in the file “Attachment 1 – USAP Satellite Communications Mission Needs.” This document summarizes the full scope of anticipated communications across the entire Antarctic region, segregated by geographic regions of interest. Each region is given a relative ranking to discriminate in the relative level of emphasis. This depiction is provided to assist communications planners with evaluating the potential for a single space-based solution meeting a broader suite of mission needs than South Pole only, while providing a basis for making trade-offs in capability v. cost and complexity. However, approaches that do not provide some South Pole service are not of direct interest.

Information Requested: To maximize the Government’s understanding, respondents should consider the information requested in the list appended to this RFI, titled “Attachment 2 – South Pole Broadband RFI Information Needs.”

Submission of Responses: Interested parties are requested to respond to this RFI in Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, Power Point)(R) as the preferred format. RFI responses are limited to a maximum of 20 pages, including cover and administrative pages. Responses may contain a mixture of text, numerical data, figures or graphics. CD-ROM submissions are requested in lieu of printed materials.

Responses are to be submitted to W.L. Pritchard & Co. L.C. at the address noted below. Management of Information: Submissions that voluntarily contain proprietary information will be managed in accord with FAR 9.505-4, “Obtaining access to proprietary information”.

Any proprietary information submitted in response to this RFI must be clearly identified via a general declaration on the cover page and on any subsequent page where proprietary information occurs. The Government intends to utilize contractor resources to prepare analytical studies and digests utilizing submissions to the RFI for future planning efforts. Respondents who will require a Proprietary Data Protection Agreement (PDPA) should submit a draft of the necessary permissions protocol prior to submitting any proprietary information. The PDPA will not be counted towards the maximum RFI page count. Any information submitted that is not protected via PDPA shall be subject to full disclosure/release.

Please be advised that submissions will not be returned.

The support contractors listed below will be reviewing responses to this RFI. It is the respondent’s responsibility to execute PDPA with these support contractors, if deemed necessary, by the date of your submission. All correspondence regarding the execution of a PDPA must be directed to the support contractors below. Note that the PDPA must allow the contractors to report to NSF.

The following is a list of support contractor Points of Contacts who will review the RFI responses or utilize the response results:

RFI submittal processing, Q&A, and digest report:
WL Pritchard & Co. LC
4405 East West Highway, Suite 501
Bethesda MD, 20814
POC – Ellen Hoff, President
E-mail –

Analysis supporting Government planning:
The Aerospace Corporation, Civil & Commercial Operations
1000 Wilson Blvd., Suite 2600
Arlington, VA 22209
POC – Debra Emmons, Asst. Principal Director
E-mail –

Submission Instructions:
Section 1 of the submission shall provide the following administrative information:
* Name, mailing address, phone number, fax number, and e-mail of designated point of contact.
* Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number designating the primary business unit participating in the RFI response
* Business type and size as defined by the U.S. Small Business Administration (see:, based upon North American Industry Classification System codes (NAICS, 2007):
o 334220, Radio and Television Broadcasting and Wireless Communications Equipment Manufacturing (cross-classification – space satellites, communications, manufacturing)
o 517110, Wired Telecommunications Carriers
o 517410, Satellite Telecommunications
o 517911, Telecommunications Resellers
o 517919, All Other Telecommunications

The number of pages in Section 1 of the submission shall not be included in the 20 page limitation, i.e., the 20 page limitation applies only to Section 2 of the submission.

Section 2 of the submission shall be limited to 20 pages and shall address the questions contained in the document titled “South Pole Broadband RFI Information Needs,” plus any additional information considered relevant.

Industry Interaction:

NSF contractor representatives may or may not interact with responders. Such interactions may be intended to request further information related to the capability to potentially meet the mission needs or to clarify understanding of information submitted.


Questions regarding this announcement shall be submitted via e-mail to the W. L. Pritchard & Co. contact noted above. Verbal questions will NOT be accepted. Answers to questions will not be openly posted. W. L. Pritchard does not guarantee that any questions will be answered.


THERE IS NO SOLICITATION AT THIS TIME. This request for capability information does not constitute a request for proposals; submission of any information in response to this market survey is purely voluntary; the Government assumes no financial responsibility for any costs incurred.

If and when a solicitation is released, it will be synopsized on the Federal Business Opportunities web site It is the potential offeror’s responsibility to monitor the FBO for release of any solicitation or synopsis.

Response Deadline:

Responses are requested no later than June 10, 2011 at 4:00 PM EDT.

SpaceRef staff editor.