Status Report

Request for Information: NASA Web Services

By SpaceRef Editor
September 17, 2008
Filed under , ,

Synopsis – Sep 16, 2008

General Information

Solicitation Number: N/A
Reference Number: 09162008
Posted Date: Sep 16, 2008
FedBizOpps Posted Date: Sep 16, 2008
Original Response Date: Sep 29, 2008
Current Response Date: Sep 29, 2008
Classification Code: D — Information technology services, incl. telecom services
NAICS Code: 541519 – Other Computer Related Services

Contracting Office Address

NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, NASA Headquarters Acquisition Branch, Code 210.H, Greenbelt, MD 20771



NASA Headquarters, Office of Chief Information Officer is soliciting information about potential sources for providing Web site services including, but not limited to:

* Content creation and management,
* Search,
* Caching, bandwidth and other means of accommodating very high traffic,
* Social media, and
* Application development.

These services will support NASA’s information technology (IT) and strategic communications teams.

This procurement is in part a follow-on to NASA’s existing Web services contract with eTouch Systems administered by NASA Headquarters. Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) inquiries relating to the eTouch Systems Corporation contract shall be requested from: Ms Kellie Robinson; email:; phone: (202) 358-2265.

The procurement is one of the four (4) acquisitions under NASA’s IT Infrastructure Integration Program (I3P), which will integrate business processes and information across organizational lines efficiently and securely. The work will be performed at locations yet to be determined and may include NASA facilities and offsite locations.


NASA operates several thousand Web sites, some public facing, some internal, and some with mixed content. Many sites are designed to communicate with the general public, teachers and students. Other sites are intended to directly support NASA’s mission or business requirements. These sites are extremely diverse, in that they have a wide variety of audiences, information models, goals, and publication processes. Typically, they are run by small groups and projects, using project resources, and report to NASA’s various mission directorates. The different requirements to create and maintain these sites and services have led to a fragmented Web environment that is both award-winning and popular with the public, yet at the same time, inconsistent, inefficient and sometimes ineffective.

Over the past five (5) years, NASA has undergone a consolidation of its Web environment and integration of its general interest, public audience content. The NASA home page and the home pages of NASA’s Centers and Facilities around the country have been consolidated in a single point of entry (, hosted in a common infrastructure, and employ a standard editorial process. Other popular public outreach sites (e.g., give example or two) were also incorporated as part of this consolidation. NASA management is interested in extending the success of this consolidation to the rest of its Web sites to the greatest extent practicable.

In support of its primary Web sites, the external home page at and the internal home page at, NASA manages several collateral services, including search engines, database and application development, video streaming, blogs, wikis and other social media tools and metrics and analysis. Other organizations within NASA currently run their own versions of these services to various capacities.

NASA is seeking input from potential offerors on approaches to unifying NASA’s Web environment while providing a broad range of services to meet the diverse needs of NASA’s Web community.

Responses should be no more than 20 pages in length. Each submission shall include responses to the questions listed in the following paragraphs. The response format is 8.5″ x 11″, 12 pt, Times New Roman font. NASA is seeking capabilities from large businesses, as well as from small, small disadvantaged, small disadvantaged veteran-owned, and women-owned small businesses for the purposes of determining the appropriate level of competition.

In addition to the 20-page submission, responses shall also include the following (limited to 3 pages or less, formatted as above): name and address of firm, size of business, average annual revenue for past 3 years and number of employees, ownership, whether business is large, small, small disadvantaged, 8(a), HUBZone, small small disadvantaged veteran-owned (SDVOSB), 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); and point of contact – position, address and phone number.

Potential offerors are encouraged to address their approaches by answering the following specific questions, citing relevant examples where appropriate:

1. How would a vendor approach content-management tools if several sites are updated frequently throughout the day by many editors in different locations, while others might be updated less than weekly by one or two people in one location?

2. How would a vendor approach security and other issues pertaining to user-generated content, such as public comments posted to pages?

3. What would a vendor’s approach be to handling some sites that need 99.995 percent availability and immediate incident response (such as the NASA home page) and other sites for which business-hour support would be sufficient?

4. How would a vendor approach an enterprise-class, federated search capability that would give users access to millions of documents in widely distributed, differently structured collections?

5. How would a vendor approach such a federated search capability for an Intranet, serving NASA employees and contractors, and including appropriate access restrictions?

6. How would a vendor support multiple Web sites with very different information models and different audience needs, i.e, example news magazine, event driven content versus science data and research content?

7. How would a vendor handle the bandwidth needed to serve NASA’s Web content? The current baseline bandwidth is 600 mbps, which has been growing consistently at 5 percent a year and will need to grow more rapidly as more content is consolidated into the infrastructure. NASA’s bandwidth usage also spikes during high-visibility events (historically, up to 52 gigabits per second; this is expected to increase with each event).

8. How would a vendor approach handling a wide variety of Web content types, such as HTML, XML, RSS, Flash, RealMedia, Windows Media and QuickTime, including multiple file sizes and resolutions for common graphics formats?

9. How would a vendor approach consolidating NASA Web sites into a new Web environment, considering NASA sites have been developed for users in a variety of programming languages (ColdFusion, Java, Perl, PHP, etc), supported by backend Oracle and SQL databases, and incorporating different tools for content management and other services?

10. How would a vendor approach developing requirements for and implementing new applications within this new Web environment?

11. How would a vendor approach integration with NASA’s non-government partners? For instance, Yahoo provides live video streaming of NASA Television while Internet Archive, through, provides a unified collection of NASA images. The goal would be for the vendor to work with Yahoo to manage their streams as part of NASA’s unified provision of live video streaming, and to integrate search results from into the results provided by NASA’s in-house search capability.

12. How would a vendor approach issues such as load-balancing, caching, hosting, security and availability if the ultimate responsibilities for those services reside in another contract?

13. How would a vendor approach consolidating public outreach, science, technical, and business content in a common Web architecture that satisfies the needs of diverse audiences and content owners?

14. How would a vendor address change management for such an effort? Consider that previous consolidation efforts were successful for Web sites under a single line of business (Strategic Communications), and further integration would cross NASA’s lines of business.

15. What would a vendor’s approach be to providing social media applications for employees and contractors on NASA’s Intranet?

16. How would the vendor market their site and tools to customers within NASA?

17. How would the vendor approach ensuring that new web technology and services are incorporated into NASA’s web infrastructure?

18. How would a vendor view and manage the web services lifecycle, including content retirement, design refreshment and technology infusion/obsolescence?

19. How would a vendor approach transition from the existing infrastructure and contract into the new contract and environment?

20. Potential offerors are specifically requested to comment on appropriate contract type(s) and length, the value and general approach to chargeback models, and any opportunities for the Government and offerors to share in savings during the contract administration phase.

The Government will use the information provided as recommended inputs that will lead the Government to develop a comprehensive procurement strategy and to develop a resulting solicitation. Any information used will be on a non-attribution basis. Restrictions that would limit the Government’s ability to use the information for these purposes are of limited value to the Government and are discouraged.

This RFI 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 receive feedback on the information obtained through this RFI process.

All responses shall be submitted to David Boon by NLT close of business, September 29, 2008, via email:

Point of Contact

Name: David L Boon
Title: Contract Specialist
Phone: 301-286-6485
Fax: 301-286-0356

Name: Sandra P. Bruce
Title: Contract Specialist
Phone: 301-286-3936
Fax: 301-286-0357

SpaceRef staff editor.