NASA ARC Solicitation: Crew Exploration Vehicle Heatshield Ablator Material Screening and Advanced Development

Status Report From: Ames Research Center
Posted: Thursday, September 22, 2005

Synopsis/Solicitation Combo - Sep 21, 2005

Appendix 1, 2, and 3 - Posted on Sep 21, 2005

General Information

Solicitation Number: NNA05128299Q-AMD
Posted Date: Sep 21, 2005
FedBizOpps Posted Date: Sep 21, 2005
Original Response Date: Oct 19, 2005
Current Response Date: Oct 19, 2005
Classification Code: 18 -- Space vehicles
NAICS Code: 336419 - Other Guided Missile and Space Vehicle Parts and Auxiliary Equipment Manufacturing

Contracting Office Address

NASA/Ames Research Center, JA:M/S 241-1, Moffett Field, CA 94035-1000

This notice is a combined synopsis/solicitation for commercial items prepared in accordance with the format in FAR Subpart 12.6, as supplemented with additional information included in this notice. This announcement constitutes the only solicitation; offers are being requested and a written solicitation will not be issued.

This notice is being issued as a Request for Quotation (RFQ) for Thermal Protection Systems (TPS) test coupons in support of heatshield development for the Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV).

NASA Ames is requesting commercial vendors to propose relatively mature CEV heatshield TPS materials, heatshield TPS design and fabrication methodologies, and TPS attachment and integration approaches suitable for the environments consistent with Lunar Return (Block II), which are anticipated to reach heat flux levels as high as 1000 W/cm2 and surface pressures of up to 0.7 atm. Candidate TPS materials shall have documented performance in similar aero-convective environments, either in laboratory (TRL 4) or flight (TRL 5+) (see Appendix 1 for a description of Technical Readiness Levels).

Evaluation of qualified commercial TPS vendors will be based on information identifying and detailing potential heatshield TPS design and fabrication capabilities enabling NASA evaluation of:

a) Industry interest and capabilities for heatshield TPS materials;

b) Processing implications for a TPS solution applicable to a 5.5m diameter heatshield; and,

c) Level of TPS implementation readiness through review of existing:

i) Performance test data in relevant environments;

ii) Material characterization information;

iii) Process descriptions for quality assurance, inspection and repair.

All offerors who can provide TPS materials and manufacturing processes that are consistent with TRL 4 will provide the following in their proposals:

1. A firm fixed price quote for January 9, 2006 delivery of material coupons for independent testing in a NASA Arc Jet facility in the second quarter (January through March) of Fiscal Year 2006 (see Appendix 2 for coupon quantity, dimensions and thickness sizing criteria);

2. A firm fixed price quote for February 3, 2006 delivery of material coupons for independent testing in NASA flexural loading fixtures (see Appendix 3 for coupon quantity, dimensions and thickness sizing criteria);

3. A Preliminary Heatshield Implementation Plan (see plan requirements below); and,

4. A firm fixed price quote for preparation of a Detailed Heatshield Implementation Plan (the Detailed Heatshield Implementation Plan itself is required to be delivered 90 days after contract award).

Heatshield Implementation Plan Requirements:

Please address the following topics as thoroughly as practical in your Preliminary Heatshield Implementation Plans. Complete coverage with considerable detail will be expected in the Detailed Heatshield Implementation Plans.

1. A description of the candidate heatshield TPS material(s) and fabrication approach:

a. Ablative TPS materials to be used for the heatshield;

b. Ablative TPS material physical properties and characteristics, mechanical properties (strain to failure), capabilities, test and flight heritage at conditions of 1000W/cm2 or greater.

2. Methodology for design and fabrication of the TPS for a full-scale heatshield system:

a. Discuss how the TPS material will be attached to the support structure;

b. Describe the approach for addressing any joints or seams that may be present in the TPS, and a methodology for verifying their robustness;

c. Describe the approach for addressing any necessary heatshield penetrations including material selection, physical design and integration (e.g. recessing) and structural contacts and attachments requirements;

d. Provide information regarding the method to be used for thermo-structural assessment of the heatshield including the TPS, the TPS support structure, any TPS joints or seems, any TPS penetrations and the structural interface;

e. A description of current capability to develop a 5.5m heatshield. If applicable, identify specific diameter where development becomes problematic. NASA will be responsible for supplying a full-scale developmental heatshield substructure for integration to the heatshield TPS, resulting in a mock-up. This mock-up, currently scheduled to be delivered to NASA by February 2007, will serve to demonstrate the full scale manufacturing approach and overall heatshield design. The mock-up is not intended to be of quality and design maturity appropriate for full-scale qualification testing;

f. Describe the expectations/requirements for the dimensional accuracy, surface smoothness, and structural stiffness of the heatshield support structure. This structure may be metallic, composite, or a combination of the two. Please provide an assessment of the implications of the various support structure material options for the TPS material and/or attachment approach.

3. Description of the maturity of the candidate material system and detailed description of supporting testing and data including but not limited to:

a. Identify, at a minimum, all non-proprietary materials, processes, engineering specifications, and quality assurance procedures required;

b. Thermal performance and dimensional stability in an aero-convective environment (arc-jet);

c. Thermal performance and dimensional stability in orbital conditions representing thermal cycling;

d. Physical and chemical properties information;

e. Reproducibility verification for part sizes consistent with those appropriate for a 5.5m heatshield;

f. Material traceability and overall quality assurance practices; please describe the processes recommended for tracking the material certification from coupon scale through full scale production;

g. Approach for inspection of materials, sub-assemblies, and the full-scale heatshield;

h. Describe the proposed method for repairing heatshield TPS material discrepancies resulting from manufacturing defects, damage, etc; i. Any additional developmental tests required to qualify the material for the stated environments.

The attached document contains appendices containing the following information to facilitate response:

a. Appendix 1 - Technical Readiness Levels

b. Appendix 2 - Arc-Jet Test Coupon Description

c. Appendix 3 - Flexural Test Coupon Description Please contact the contract specialist named below, if you are not able to view these attachments, and they can be emailed to you.

Multiple awards are anticipated. Delivery shall be FOB Destination.

In accordance with the authority described in NASA FAR Supplement (NFS), Subpart 1817.73, NASA anticipates using a Phased Acquisition process. To briefly summarize, Phase 1 will include NASA review of the selected contractors' submitted Detailed Heatshield Implementation Plans, the performance of the delivered material coupons, heatshield design trade studies, and additional design criteria. This will result in a selection in mid-CY06 of no more than three heatshield material candidates and their associated vendor(s). It is anticipated that a subsequent Phase 2 procurement will be awarded to order the delivery of full-scale mock-ups from each of these vendors. It is anticipated that a Phase 3 procurement will be awarded to a single provider for flight hardware development near the end of FY 2007. Additional information on the down-selection procedures is included in NFS 1852.217-71, provided below.

Significant dates related to this procurement:

  • October 5, 2005 - Final date for submittal of questions from offerors.
  • October 14, 2005 - Posting of responses to questions from offerors.
  • October 19, 2005 - Preliminary Heatshield Implementation Plan due from offerors.
  • October 19, 2005 - Quote for Arc Jet Screening Coupons due from offerors.
  • October 19, 2005 - Quote for Flexural Screening Coupons due from offerors.
  • October 19, 2005 - Quote for preparation of Detailed Heatshield Implementation Plan due from offerors.

November 2, 2005 - Targeted Contract Award.

  • Award + 90 days - Detailed Heatshield Implementation Plan due from selected contractors.
  • 01/09/06 - Arc Jet testing coupons due from selected contractors.
  • 02/03/06 - Flexural testing coupons due from selected contractors.

The provisions and clauses in the RFQ are those in effect through FAC 05-05.

The NAICS Code and the small business size standard for this procurement are 336419 and 1,000 employees respectively. The offeror shall state in their offer their size status for this procurement.

All responsible sources may submit an offer which shall be considered by the agency.

The DPAS rating for this procurement is DO-C9.

All contractual and technical questions must be in writing to the contract specialist, Marianne Shelley, Email:, or FAX: 650-604-0270, not later than 1:00 PM Pacific Time, OCTOBER 5, 2005. Telephone questions will not be accepted.

Offers for the items described above are due by 1:00 PM Pacific Time, OCTOBER 19, 2005 to Marianne Shelley by any of the following: mailed to NASA Ames Research Center, M/S 227-4, Moffett Field, CA 94035-1000, Attn: Marianne Shelley, or faxed to 650-604-0270, or emailed to; and must include: solicitation number, FOB destination to this Center, proposed delivery schedule, discount/payment terms, warranty duration (if applicable), taxpayer identification number (TIN), identification of any special commercial terms, and be signed by an authorized company representative.

Offerors are encouraged, but are not required, to use the Standard Form 1449, Solicitation/Contract/Order for Commercial Items form found at the URL:

If the end product(s) offered is other than domestic end product(s) as defined in the clause entitled "Buy American Act -- Supplies," the offeror shall so state and shall list the country of origin.

Offerors shall provide the information required by FAR 52.212-1 (JAN 2005), Instructions to Offerors-Commercial, which is incorporated by reference.

FAR 52.212-4 (OCT 2003), Contract Terms and Conditions-Commercial Items is applicable.

FAR 52.212-5 (JAN 2005), Contract Terms and Conditions Required To Implement Statutes or Executive Orders-Commercial Items is applicable and the following identified clauses are incorporated by reference: 52.222-3, 52.222-19, 52.222-21, 52.222-26, 52.222-35, 52.222-36, 52.222-37, 52.225-1, 52.225-13, 52.232-34.

The following NASA FAR Supplement (NFS) clauses are applicable:

  • NFS 1852.215-84, Ombudsman, (Insert: Lewis Braxton (650) 604-5068);
  • NFS 1852.223-72, Safety and Health (Short Form) (April 2002);
  • NFS 1852.237-73, Release of Sensitive Information (June 2005)

The NFS clause below is incorporated in full text:


(a) This solicitation is for the acquisition of Thermal Protection Systems (TPS) test coupons and implementation plans in support of heatshield development for the Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV). The acquisition will be conducted as a three-phased procurement using a competitive down-selection technique between phases. In this technique, multiple contractors will be selected for Phase 1. It is expected that up to three contractors for Phase 2 will be chosen from among these contractors after a competitive down-selection. It is expected that the single contractor for Phase 3 will be chosen from among these contractors after a competitive down-selection.

(b) Phase 1 is for definition and conceptual design activities, including TPS material performance assessments, manufacturing plan development, Concept Refinement, and focused trade studies and analysis. Phase 2 is for Full-scale manufacturing demonstration, Preliminary and Detailed Design, High-fidelity TPS material response model development. Phase 3 is for Detailed Design leading to full-scale manufacture of qualification test articles and flight test articles.

(c) The competition for Phase 2 will be based on the results of Phase 1, and the award criteria for Phase 2 will include successful completion of Phase 1 requirements. The competition for Phase 3 will be based on the results of Phase 2, and the award criteria for Phase 3 will include successful completion of Phase 2 requirements.

(d) NASA will issue a separate, formal solicitation for Phases 2 and 3 that will include all information required for preparation of proposals, including the final evaluation factors.

(e) Phases 2 and 3 will be synopsized in the Commerce Business Daily (CBD) in accordance with FAR 5.201 and 5.203 unless one of the exceptions in FAR 5.202 applies. Notwithstanding NASA's expectation that only the Phase 1 contractors will be capable of successfully competing for Phase 2 and only the Phase 2 contractors will be capable of successfully competing for Phase 3, all proposals will be considered. Any other responsible source may indicate its desire to submit a proposal by responding to the Phase 2 or Phase 3 synopsis, and NASA will provide that source a solicitation.

(f) To be considered for Phase 2 award, offerors must demonstrate design maturity equivalent to that of the Phase 1 contractors. This demonstration shall include the following Phase 1 deliverables upon which Phase 2 award will be based: TPS material performance under relevant aerothermal/attachment tests, full-scale manufacturing plan reasonableness and realism, and TPS heatshield design trade studies. Failure to fully and completely demonstrate the appropriate level of design maturity may render the proposal unacceptable with no further consideration for contract award.

(g) The following draft Phase 2 evaluation factors are provided for your information. Please note that these evaluation factors are not final, and NASA reserves the right to change them at any time up to and including the date upon which Phase 2 proposals are solicited.

1. The contractor's Phase 1 cost and schedule performance, measured against the final, adjusted baseline.

2. The quality, completeness and design maturity of the contractor's concept refinement, SRR products, and focused trade studies and analysis.

3. Contractor's proposal for phase 2, including:

a. The Phase 2 cost and schedule proposal.

b. The contractor's proposed technical approach to complete the Phase 2 effort, with emphasis of demonstration of full-scale manufacture of heatshield with contractor supplied heatshield mockup.

c. The contractor's estimated lifecycle costs, including estimates for operations and sustaining engineering, and associated rationale.

d. A description of remaining technical risks and the contractor's risk mitigation plan.

(h) Although NASA will request Phase 2 proposals from Phase 1 contractors and Phase 3 proposals from Phase 2 contractors, submission of the Phase 2 proposal is not a requirement of the Phase 1 contract, nor is submission of the Phase 3 proposal a requirement for the Phase 2 contract. Accordingly, the costs of preparing these proposals shall not be a direct charge to the Phase 1 contract or any other Government contract.

(i) The anticipated schedule for conducting this phased procurement is provided for your information. These dates are projections only and are not intended to commit NASA to complete a particular action at a given time.

  • Phase 2 synopsis and proposal requested - November/December, 2005
  • Phase 2 proposal receipt - January/February, 2006
  • Phase 2 award - April/May, 2006

(End of clause)

The FAR may be obtained via the Internet at URL:

The NFS may be obtained via the Internet at URL: As described in FAR 52.212-2 Evaluation Commercial Items, selection and award will be made to that offeror whose offer will be most advantageous to the Government, price and other factors considered. The following factors shall be used to evaluate offers: technical merit, past performance, and price. Technical merit and past performance, when combined, are more important than price. It is critical that offerors provide adequate detail to allow evaluation of their offer. (SEE FAR 52.212-1(b)).

Offerors must complete the provision at 52.212-3, Offeror Representations and Certifications - Commercial Items available at: . These representations and certifications will be incorporated by reference in any resultant contract.

Offerors must be currently registered in the Central Contractor Registration (CCR). Offerors may obtain further information about registration at Offerors will be required to submit their firm's banking information for the electronic funds transfer (EFT) of any future invoice payment. Offerors who submit a quotation will be sent an ACH form for completion.

All successful offerors must file a 2005 VETS-100 Report with the US Department of Labor ( ).

An ombudsman has been appointed -- See NASA Specific Note "B".

Prospective offerors shall notify this office of their intent to submit an offer. It is the offeror's responsibility to monitor the following Internet site for the release of solicitation amendments (if any): . Potential offerors will be responsible for downloading their own copy of this combination synopsis/solicitation and amendments (if any).

Any referenced notes may be viewed at the following URLs linked below.

Point of Contact

Name: Marianne Shelley
Title: Contract Specialist
Phone: (650) 604-4179
Fax: (650) 604-0270

Name: Ronnee R. Gonzalez
Title: Contracting Officer
Phone: (650) 604-4386
Fax: (650) 604-0270

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