Opportunities for Suborbital Reusable Launch Vehicles and Payload Integration Services

NASA/DFRC is hereby soliciting information and feedback from both current and potential flight service providers, as well as the technology payload providers and potential sources for Suborbital Reusable Launch Vehicles And Payload Integration Services For Maturing Crosscutting Technologies That Advance Multiple Future Space Missions To Flight Readiness Status.

OPPORTUNITIES FOR SUBORBITAL REUSABLE LAUNCH VEHICLES AND PAYLOAD INTEGRATION SERVICES FOR MATURING CROSSCUTTING TECHNOLOGIES THAT ADVANCE MULTIPLE FUTURE SPACE MISSIONS TO FLIGHT READINESS STATUS

Synopsis - Feb 15, 2013

General Information

Solicitation Number: RFI-NND13466402L
Posted Date: Feb 15, 2013
FedBizOpps Posted Date: Feb 15, 2013
Recovery and Reinvestment Act Action: No
Original Response Date: Mar 08, 2013
Current Response Date: Mar 08, 2013
Classification Code: A -- Research and Development
NAICS Code: 541712

Contracting Office Address

NASA/Dryden Flight Research Center, Code A, P.O. Box 273, Edwards, CA 93523-0273

Description

NASA/DFRC is hereby soliciting information and feedback from both current and potential flight service providers, as well as the technology payload providers and potential sources for Suborbital Reusable Launch Vehicles And Payload Integration Services For Maturing Crosscutting Technologies That Advance Multiple Future Space Missions To Flight Readiness Status.

1.0 Background

For the past two years, the Flight Opportunities Program (hereafter FOP or "the Program"), part of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Space Technology organization, has worked towards maturing flight readiness of new crosscutting technologies that advance or enable multiple future space missions. FOP has provided opportunities to fly technology payloads on flight platforms that provide reduced gravity or other relevant environments required to test technologies in order to advance their technology readiness. The Program has provided flight opportunities for technology payloads to fly on both parabolic aircraft and suborbital reusable launch vehicles (sRLV). The operational focus of FOP is to bring together and match technologies that are to be matured (demand) with commercial flight opportunities (supply). For this purpose, the current Program's acquisition plan (1) solicits and selects technology payloads into the Program's "Payload Pipeline," and (2) manifests and offers flights of these payloads on a variety of commercial sRLV, including balloon platforms managed through commercial service Indefinite Delivery / Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contracts with a number of Flight Service Providers (FSP) and Parabolic flight opportunities through Johnson Space Center's contract with Zero-G Corporation. The Program intends to continue to provide opportunities to fly technology payloads on platforms that provide reduced gravity or other relevant environments required to test technologies in order to advance their technology readiness. To emphasis our desire to foster growth in the emerging commercial suborbital platform industry, we are proposing to modify the existing sRLV acquisition strategy.

2.0 Parabolic Flight Services and sRLV Flight Services

2.1 Current AFO Technology Selection and Parabolic Flight Services

The Parabolic flight campaigns will continue to solicit technology payloads under the current Announcement of Flight Opportunity (AFO) process. This process will remain unchanged utilizing JSC's Reduced Gravity Office (RGO) to integrate and fly technology payloads using the Zero-G aircraft commercial contract. We are looking for feedback associated with this activity with respect to our policies, selection process and flight campaigns that have occurred over the last couple of years.

2.2 Current AFO Technology Selection and sRLV Flight Services

Currently FOP selects technology payloads through the AFO process and procures manifested flight using a task order solicitation process from a pool of Flight Service Providers (FSP) with qualified vehicles as part of an IDIQ contract. The FSPs are contracted to integrate payloads onto the flight vehicle, while ensuring that the interfaces to other payloads and to the flight vehicle are compatible and that the test requirements of the payload providers are met. The FSP must then deliver an integrated payload to the desired flight environment as agreed to in the task order. We are looking for feedback associated with this activity with respect to our policies, selection process and flight campaigns that have occurred over the last year. Feedback is desirable from both current and potential flight service providers, as well as the technology payload providers.

2.3 Proposed NRA Technology Selection and sRLV Flight Services

The program is endeavoring to foster the growth in the emerging commercial suborbital platform industry by securing the services of as many vendors as possible, securing frequent flight opportunities to accommodate technology payloads, and demonstrating vehicle technology enhancements. To meet these goals, the program would like to further nurture commercialization by using cooperative agreements with Principle Investigators (PI) interested in technology maturation through the utilization of commercial sRLVs. This would be a hands-off approach by the program to allow the PI to seek out a FSP to fly their technology demonstration. The process would utilize the NASA Research Announcement (NRA) to establish a grant, Co-operative Agreement (CA) or a contract with the PI desiring a flight on a sRLV. Competitive selections would be evaluated on merits of technology, flight suitability and cost. The norm will be to award a CA and the program will typically provide funds but may also contribute government expertise, government furnished facilities and/or equipment. The PI would work closely with the desirable FSP to determine proposal strategies and costs. The CA is intended for sRLV payload preparation and technology demonstration flights only, not the research and development of the technology itself. Note that the Program is restrained from using its resources for PI-operated payloads on sRLVs. By funding each individual PI, the program is no longer procuring an entire manifested flight. It will be the responsibility of the PI to coordinate with the FSP of choice to negotiate price and schedule since each PI is only procuring a single payload seat on a vehicle that can potentially carry multiple payloads. That does not exclude the possibility of FSPs and PIs from collaborating to propose fully manifested flights that could possibly result in other agreement mechanisms other than a CA.

2.4 sRLV Flight Services for Directed Payloads

The program has a continued need to supply flight opportunities for technology payloads which are sponsored by NASA or referred to as 'directed payloads". These technology payloads are outside of the AFO and NRA processes which are approved to fly by NASA HQ Space Technology Program (STP). To support this activity, FOP is required to have a contract mechanism in place with a pool of FSPs to supply flight opportunities for these technology payloads. It is the intent of the program to supply these flight opportunities similar to the existing IDIQ commercial contract task order process but with minor differences. The program would no longer procure entire manifest, but would "buy single seats" for our in-house payloads. The FSP would be responsible for filling the remaining manifest and setting schedules for launch. The program would award multiple IDIQ contracts which would be open to both FSPs and payload integrators. Award selection into the IDIQ Flight Services pool would be based on technical capabilities (past, present and future) and past performance of like or similar activities. Once in the pool, task orders proposals would be competitively evaluated for specific capabilities, risk and the cost to integrate and fly the technology payload.

3.0 Request for Information, Feedback or Input

After completing a year of providing opportunities to fly technology payloads on sRLV flight platforms, NASA seeks to ascertain from the suborbital industry and the payload community ways to improve flight and payload integration services to fly technology payloads of interest to NASA. NASA intends to use the responses to this RFI to develop the next solicitation for sRLV flights and payload integration services. Please provide feedback and input associated with this activity with respect to the new proposed procurement approach, the new proposed selection process,and funding of flight opportunities.

4.0 Capability Statements

In addition to requesting feedback and input associated with this activity with respect to our proposed procurement approach, the proposed selection process and funding of flight opportunities NASA DFRC is seeking capability statements from all interested parties, including Large, Small, Small Disadvantaged (SDB), 8(a), Woman-owned (WOSB), Veteran Owned (VOSB), Service Disabled Veteran Owned (SD-VOSB), Historically Underutilized Business Zone (HUBZone) businesses, and Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU)/Minority Institutions (MI) for the purposes of determining the appropriate level of competition and/or small business subcontracting goals for Suborbital Reusable Launch Vehicles And Payload Integration Services For Maturing Crosscutting Technologies That Advance Multiple Future Space Missions To Flight Readiness Status. The Government reserves the right to consider a Small, 8(a), Woman-owned (WOSB), Service Disabled Veteran (SD-VOSB), or HUBZone business set-aside based on responses hereto.

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.

Interested offerors/vendors having the required specialized capabilities to meet the above requirement should submit their input, feedback and capability statement of twenty (20) pages or less indicating the ability to perform all aspects of the effort described herein.

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, or any category of small business*, 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).

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.

All responses shall be submitted to Attn: Andrea Basham, NASA Dryden Flight Research Center, P. O. Box 273, M/S: D-1422, Edwards, CA 93523-0273 (U. S. Mail) or Bldg. 4876, Warehouse 6, Edwards, CA 92524 (Packages) no later than 4:00 pm PST, March 8, 2013. Responses can be submitted by e-mail to the e-mail address below. Please reference RFI-NND13466402L in any response. Any referenced notes may be viewed at the following URLs linked below.

Point of Contact

Name: Andrea C Basham
Title: Contracting Officer
Phone: 661-276-6126
Fax: 661-276-3374
Email: andrea.c.basham@nasa.gov

Name: Robert Medina
Title: Contracting Officer
Phone: 661-276-3343
Fax: 661-276-2904
Email: robert.medina-1@nasa.gov

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