NASA Request for Information: Robotic Lunar Exploration Program - Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Mission Ground System and Mission Operations

Status Report From: Goddard Space Flight Center
Posted: Sunday, September 12, 2004



Further information

General Information

Document Type: Sources Sought Notice
Solicitation Number: RFI-RLEP-GSO
Posted Date: Sep 10, 2004
Original Response Date: Oct 12, 2004
Current Response Date: Oct 12, 2004
Original Archive Date: Sep 10, 2005
Current Archive Date: Sep 10, 2005
Classification Code: A -- Research & Development
Naics Code: 927110 -- Space Research and Technology

Contracting Office Address

NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, Code 210.S, Greenbelt, MD 20771



RFI Purpose: The Robotic Lunar Exploration Program (RLEP) plans to develop, or acquire, launch, and operate the 2008 Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), the first in a series of lunar exploration missions. We are requesting information regarding approaches and techniques for building and operating the ground system and performing mission operations for the mission. The Announcement of Opportunity, AO # NNH04ZSE003O ( ) for the payload has been released and selection of the instruments that will comprise the payload will be made in November 2004. In the AO a straw man spacecraft and mission developed at GSFC is referenced as a baseline. This RFI seeks alternative approaches to providing and operating the ground segment, including the mission operations center, while meeting the requirements and payload accommodation commitments outlined in the AO. While our intent may be to team with industrial partner(s), we are not bound by this RFI to do so. It is neither a Request for Proposal, nor a Request for Quotation, nor an Invitation to Bid. Therefore, this RFI is not to be construed as a commitment by the Government to enter into a contract, nor will the Government pay for information provided in response to this RFI.

Desired Performance: LRO will be launched into a direct trajectory to the moon on an ELV in October 2008 and be inserted into a circular polar orbit with an altitude of 30-50 km. Its primary mission is one year in duration with a goal of being designed to operate for up to five years in an extended mission.

Ground Communication Network The baseline design utilizes S-band frequencies for commanding and engineering telemetry and Ka-band for high-speed observation data downlink. The baseline space segment communication system assumes a 5W transmitter and a 1.0 m high gain antenna although the design has not been finalized, as trade studies are ongoing and these parameters may change. LRO will require the downlink of up to 1000 Gbits/day during the primary one-year mission. The ground network must also support ranging of LRO at the Moon sufficient to enable orbit determination with an accuracy of 18 m radial/500 m RMS positional. Conceptual network designs should include estimates for the downlink G/T and the uplink EIRP. Mission Operations LRO is to be operated from a central Mission Operations Center (MOC) that is networked to the Principal Investigators (PIs) instrument operations centers and to the GSFC Flight Dynamics Facility.

The contractors MOC staff will be trained as an integral part of the LRO development team and will function as test conductors during the integration and test phase of LRO development. Mission operations systems to be used during the mission must be compatible with and available for use for spacecraft operation during LRO integration and testing. Further information about the LRO mission can be found in the AO Proposal Information Package (PIP) in the AO library, .

Other Considerations: LRO will require nearly continuous tracking and daily high volume data transmissions in order to accomplish the requirement of providing global mapping of the Moon. The ground network must be robust because in some cases specific lunar observations will occur on only a single orbital pass during the LRO mission. $90 million of the first mission (LRO) has already been earmarked for the payload. Setting aside reserves, that leaves $250 million for all other aspects of the mission, beginning with concept definition, through launch and mission operations. Although this RFI has focused on support of the LRO mission, the RLEP program is comprised of a series of potentially overlapping missions to the Moon. The program is interested in the potential of systems proposed for LRO expanding to support multiple robotic lunar missions and eventually NASA's manned missions to the moon that are to follow.

Information: The NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center is interested in soliciting mission ground segment and mission operations concepts, estimates of cost and development schedules, development risk evaluations, and any comments on enabling technologies.

The objectives of this RFI are: 1) to improve NASA's knowledge of industry's capabilities; 2) to improve the overall understanding of what the options are for acquiring and operating the LRO mission ground segment; and 3) to invite industry to submit information that will allow RLEP to assess the partnering opportunities that exist within industry, specifically with regards to the development of the LRO mission.

NASA has established a website ( ) containing the latest information regarding the RLEP and its associated missions. Interested parties can visit this site to learn more about the program and how it fits into NASA's overall exploration initiative. So as to consolidate our planning, we request responses from industry within 30 days of the release date of this RFI, in the form of written and illustrated concepts, ideas, and descriptions of capabilities. We plan to invite formal presentations and discussions at GSFC of the more compelling responses within 45 days of the RFI issuance. Responses can be submitted via email. The subject line of the submission should be "RFI for RLEP/LRO Mission Ground System and Mission Operations," and attachments should be in Microsoft WORD, POWERPOINT, or PDF format. The email text must give a point-of-contact and provide his/her name, address, telephone/fax numbers, and email address. The information is requested for planning purposes only, subject to FAR Clause 52.215-3, entitled "Solicitation for Information for Planning Purposes."

It is not NASA's intent to publicly disclose vendor proprietary information obtained during this solicitation. To the full extent that it is protected pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act and other laws and regulations, information identified by a respondent as "Proprietary or Confidential" will be kept confidential. It is emphasized that this RFI is for planning and information purposes only and is NOT to be construed as a commitment by the Government to enter into a contractual agreement, nor will the Government pay for information solicited.

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. Technical questions should be directed to: Joe Burt at (301) 286-2217 or and Martin Houghton at (301) 286-3875 or

Procurement related questions should be directed to: Julie Janus at (301) 286-4931 or Interested offerors shall address the requirements of this RFI in written format as described in the previous paragraphs by electronic mail to: Martin Houghton at, no later than 5:00 PM EST on October 12, 2004. An ombudsman has been appointed -- See NASA Specific Note "B". The solicitation and any documents related to this procurement will be available over the Internet. These documents will be in Microsoft Office 97 format and will reside on a World Wide Web (WWW) server, which may be accessed using a WWW browser application. The Internet site, or URL, for the NASA/GSFC Business Opportunities home page is .

It is the offeror's responsibility to monitor the Internet cite for the release of the solicitation and amendments (if any). Potential offerors will be responsible for downloading their own copy of the solicitation and amendments, if any. Any referenced notes may be viewed at the following URLs linked below.

Original Point of Contact

Julie A. Janus, Contracting Officer, Phone (301) 286-4931, Fax (301) 286-0341, Email - Martin B Houghton, Technical Contact, Phone (301) 286-3875, Fax (301) 286-1738, Email

Email your questions to Julie A. Janus at

Current Point of Contact

Julie A. Janus, Contracting Officer, Phone (301) 286-4931, Fax (301) 286-0341, Email - Martin B Houghton, Technical Contact, Phone (301) 286-3875, Fax (301) 286-1738, Email

Email your questions to Julie A. Janus at

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