Status Report

Teaming Opportunities for the Earth Systems Science Pathfinder Program (ESSP)

By SpaceRef Editor
August 26, 2005
Filed under , ,

Synopsis – Aug 24, 2005

General Information
Solicitation Number: SS-NNL05ESSP
Posted Date: Aug 24, 2005
FedBizOpps Posted Date: Aug 24, 2005
Original Response Date: Sep 22, 2005
Current Response Date: Sep 22, 2005
Classification Code: A — Research and Development
NAICS Code: 541710 – Research and Development in the Physical, Engineering, and Life Sciences

Contracting Office Address

NASA/Langley Research Center, Mail Stop 144, Industry Assistance Office, Hampton, VA 23681-0001


NASA Langley Research Center (LaRC) is seeking partners from other government agencies, industry, academia, and Federal Funded Research and Development Centers (FFRDC) to participate with LaRC Investigators in developing proposals addressing the goals and objectives for a NASA Announcement of Opportunity (AO) for the Earth Systems Science Pathfinder Program (ESSP) to be released sometime within the next fiscal year, leveraging LaRC’s core competencies in Atmospheric Sciences, Laser/Lidar remote sensing, and passive remote sensing. The ESSP program is a component of the Science Mission Directorate at NASA that addresses unique, specific, highly-focused mission requirements in Earth-Sun System research (see ). The ESSP program is an innovative approach for addressing Earth science research by providing periodic “Windows of Opportunity” to accommodate new scientific priorities and infuse new scientific participation into the Earth-Sun Directorate.

The ESSP selection is a two step process. (Note: Step 1 proposals originally due in June 2005 have been delayed. Refer to the official website at for the latest updates.) There will be no exchange of funds between the partners during the proposal preparation period. Contract awards are anticipated subject to the availability of funds should the ESSP mission proposal be selected. Proposals selected in Step 2 will be funded to perform Phase A concept studies leading up to the submission of a proposal in which the entire end-to-end mission life cycle will be detailed.

Teaming offers will be reviewed, evaluated, and selected at NASA LaRC It is expected that the selected teaming organizations will participate actively in the proposal development process, and that selection of the proposal for mission implementation would result in contract(s) for the selected partners. This partnering synopsis does not represent a guarantee of selection for award of any contracts, nor is it to be construed as a commitment by NASA to pay for the information solicited. It is expected that partner(s) selected would provide (at no cost to NASA), conceptual designs, technical data, proposal inputs, and schedule and cost estimates consistent with the NASA AO guidelines as described in the yet to be released AO. Partner selection(s) will be made by LaRC based on the following criteria in the following order of importance:

(1) Relevant experience, past performance, technical capability and availability of key personnel: This criterion evaluates the offeror’s relevant recent experience, past performance in similar development activities, technical capability to perform the development and key personnel (with resumes) available to support the development. Provide substantive evidence (points of contact and telephone numbers) of successful participation in similar developments. Capability includes quality and management process certifications and systems.

(2) Cost and schedule control: This criterion evaluates the offeror’s ability to control both cost and schedule. The offeror should provide evidence of successfully controlling cost and schedule for similar development programs and provide evidence of management processes in this area.

(3) Facilities: This criterion evaluates the offeror’s facilities (development, testing, and analyses) to conduct the development or demonstration of the proposed task. The offeror should discuss facility availability, access, and the ability to meet the proposed objectives.

NASA will not reimburse organizations for the cost of submitting information in response to this synopsis. NASA will not pay for technical assessment or proposal preparation costs incurred by team members.

This partnering synopsis solicits partners in all areas of the mission life-cycle from definition, through design, development, integration and test, launch, operations, science data analysis and distribution. Of particular interest are partners capable of delivering the following mission elements identified in 1 through 7 below.

(1) Science Instrumentation – LaRC is seeking potential partners for space borne science instrumentation in support of proposals which may include (a) ultra-violet/visible (310 – 900 nm) imaging spectrometers with sub-nanometer spectral resolution (b) imaging IR (2-5 microns) instruments with effective spectral resolution of tenths of a wavenumber (c) far-infrared spectrometers capable of measuring wavelengths between 10 and 100 microns, (d) 10- 150 GHz H&V polarized microwave radiometers, and (e) 1.57 micron fiber based laser system for the measurement of atmospheric column carbon dioxide with a measurement precision of 1ppm or better. (f) elastic backscatter multi-wavelength lidar for measurements between 350 nm and 1100 nm.

It is anticipated that the selected science instrumentation partner(s) would provide conceptual instrument designs, trade studies, operational concepts, calibration and characterization definition and planning, payload constraints/interface analysis, technical risk analysis, and would participate in cost analysis as part of the initial mission concept proposals. For mission concepts selected through the ESSP solicitation process to proceed to Step 2, the partner(s) selected through this partnering synopsis would participate in the Step 2 mission proposal development and evaluation activities related to the mission selection reviews. For missions subsequently selected for implementation through the ESSP solicitation process, partners selected through this partnering synopsis would provide flight qualified instruments and supporting calibration, integration and testing. The selected payload development partner(s) would also participate in the planning and implementation of payload integration to the spacecraft and subsequent testing.

(2) Mission Management. LaRC is seeking potential partners for the space mission management function to work closely and collaboratively with the Principal Investigators and their teams throughout the life of the project (if selected) in order to achieve the complex objectives of the proposed missions. This includes development and analysis of mission concepts and strategies, establishment of high-level requirements and success criteria, and preparation of detailed plans, budgets, and schedules that are essential to the success of the project; prepare and conduct reviews of plans and performance at key milestones and obtain authorization to continue the effort and progress to the next phase; execute approved plans for the development and operation of products and services, and establish required control systems to ensure performance to plan; and seek ongoing independent evaluation of the performance of the project, and incorporate the evaluation findings to ensure adequacy of planning and execution according to plan.

(3) Spacecraft and Launch Options. Potential partners are being sought to provide cost effective access to orbit. Offerors should describe co-manifest launch options or secondary payload opportunities to low-Earth and/or geostationary orbits for consideration in mission planning.

(4) Mission Operations partner(s). Potential partners are being sought to provide cost effective agile hardware and software solutions for data capture and distribution, and for spacecraft and payload operation.. Offerors should describe the scope of their recent capability and experience in mission operations solutions, including initial on-orbit checkout, and highly autonomous, self-diagnosing spacecraft operation systems. Ground data capture, including backup stations, level 0 processing, archiving and data distribution experience for high data volume applications should be described.

(5) Payload Operations Partner (s). Payload operations support a variety of operational modes, from safe hold, to calibration, other diagnostic modes, to normal (baseline) data taking modes. Some payloads may require special events operational support (higher data rates, limited fields of view, enhanced payload pointing, cooling 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

(6) Science data processing facilities. The Science Mission Directorate acquires, processes and delivers very large (gigabyte to terabyte) volumes of remote sensing and related data to public and government entities that apply this information to understand and solve problems in Earth Science. Current sensors can collect more data than is possible to transmit to the ground for analysis. Consequently, offerors should describe capability and experience in cost effective solutions for science data processing and subsequent delivery to mission data archives. Areas of interest include, but are not limited to: 1) Software technologies that support the storage, handling, analysis, and interpretation of data. Examples include innovations in the enhancement, classification, or feature extraction processes; 2) efficient and effective techniques for processing large volumes of data (commonly available on the Internet) into useful information; and 3) automation of routine, labor intensive tasks that either increase reliability or throughput of current processes.

The Principal Investigator and select Co-Investigator(s) will be responsible for generating the mission’s Algorithm Theoretical Basis Documents (ATBDs). These documents describe the physical and mathematical description of the algorithms to be used in the generation of data products. The ATBD typically includes a description of variance and uncertainty estimates and considerations of calibration and validation, exception control, and diagnostics. Science data processing will be conducted under the direction of the Principal Investigator and Co-Investigators and will fully implement the science algorithms described in mission ATBDs.

(7) Education and Public Outreach, (E&PO). LaRC is seeking partners to support E&PO activities that extend the knowledge learned through the ESSP-4 mission and engage the general public through various forms of media, as well as formal and informal education. More specifically, LaRC is seeking E&PO partners that have experience in educating the public on NASA science missions, are willing to cost share, and have a clear approach to marketing the program activities and achievements to a regional and national audience.

Responses to this partnering synopsis shall be limited to 5 pages for each technical area of interest (i.e. offerors responding to one or more of the 7 mission elements may submit up to 5 pages per each element). Responses shall address each of the aforementioned evaluation criteria. 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. All responses shall be submitted to LaRC electronically via e-mail by 5:00 local time, September 22, 2005 to: Gaudy M. Bezos-OConnor, at Technical Questions should be directed to Gaudy M. Bezos-Oconnor at the email address above, or 757-864-5083. Procurement questions should be directed to Teresa Hass, via email at or (757) 864-8496 or in Teresa’s absence to: Mary Jane Yeager via email at, or (757) 864-2473.

Point of Contact

Name: Teresa M Hass
Title: Contract Specialist/Contracting Officer
Phone: (757) 864-8496
Fax: (757) 864-7709

Name: Mary Jane Yeager
Title: Contracting Officer
Phone: (757) 864-2473
Fax: (757) 864-7709

SpaceRef staff editor.