NASA Centennial Challenges Announcement of Partnership Opportunity for Possible Centennial Challenges Competitions


Synopsis - Feb 07, 2006

General Information

Solicitation Number: N/A
Reference Number: ESMD-CC-0602
Posted Date: Feb 07, 2006
FedBizOpps Posted Date: Feb 07, 2006
Original Response Date: Jun 01, 2006
Current Response Date: Jun 01, 2006
Classification Code: R -- Professional, administrative, and mgmt support services
NAICS Code: 541611 - Administrative Management and General Management Consulting Services

Contracting Office Address

NASA - Headquarters, Exploration Systems Mission Directorate (ESMD), 300 E Street SW, Washington, DC 20546-0001

Description

Through this Announcement of Partnership Opportunity (APO), NASA seeks to identify potential partner organizations for specific prize competitions to be conducted under Centennial Challenges (www.centennialchallenges.nasa.gov) within the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate (www.exploration.nasa.gov) of NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Partner organizations will have the opportunity to contribute cash or non-monetary resources towards one or more prize competitions (or Challenges) that support the Vision for Space Exploration and ongoing NASA programs. In exchange, NASA expects that individual Challenges will demonstrate technologies or operational capabilities, and produce highly visible competition events of interest to the partnering organizations. Partner organizations may provide inputs to the structure and rules of the Challenges to which they contribute.

Partner organizations may include but are not limited to: for-profit companies, universities and other non-profit or educational organizations, and professional or public organizations associated with space or aeronautics.

Partner organizations cannot compete for the Challenges to which they contribute.

All Challenges subject to this APO are still in the formulation stage, and no final decision has been made on whether or not to initiate the Challenges described in this APO. Decisions to issue specific Challenges and their rules will be determined at later dates.

CENTENNIAL CHALLENGES BACKGROUND

NASA Centennial Challenges was established to conduct prize competitions in support of the Vision for Space Exploration and ongoing NASA programs. Centennial Challenges is modeled on past prize competitions, including the 18th century British Longitude Prize; early 20th century aviation competitions, such as the Orteig Prize won by Charles Lindbergh; the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Grand Challenge; and the privately funded Ansari X PRIZE. By making awards based on actual achievements instead of proposals, Centennial Challenges seeks novel and lower-cost solutions to engineering obstacles in civil space and aeronautics from new sources of innovation in industry, academia, and the public.

TYPES OF PARTNERSHIPS

NASA anticipates two types of Challenge partners: Co-Sponsor Organizations and Allied Organizations.

Co-Sponsor Organizations

Co-Sponsor Organizations are those Challenge partners that contribute cash towards the prize purse for one or more Challenges. In return for their cash contribution, the Co-Sponsor Organization would be associated with the specific Challenge, and/or the rules of the competition may require the winning contestant to grant certain rights to intellectual property or capabilities produced in the course of the competition to the Co-Sponsor Organization and /or the Government. The specific details of Co-Sponsor arrangements will be determined through the Partner Selection Process and the specific agreement to be negotiated with the selected partner described below. Co-Sponsor Organizations cannot compete in the Challenges to which they contribute.

Allied Organizations

Allied Organizations are those Challenge partners that provide in-kind services, in addition to those that NASA will provide, to enhance the competition. The specific details of these arrangements will be determined through the Partner Selection Process and the specific agreement to be negotiated with the selected partner described below. Allied Organizations cannot compete in the Challenges for which they are partners.

TYPES OF CHALLENGES

This APO seeks to identify prospective partners for specific Flagship and Keystone Challenges, each of which is described in greater detail in another document issued on Federal Business Opportunities (FedBizOpps) system, document ESMD-CC-0407 originally issued on November 5, 2004, "NASA Exploration Systems Mission Directorate Request for Comments on Draft Rules for Possible Centennial Challenges Competitions".

Individual Challenges will take one of two forms: 1) "first-to-demonstrate competitions", like the Longitude Prize, Orteig Prize, and Ansari X PRIZE; and 2) "repeatable contests", like the DARPA Grand Challenge. It is important to differentiate between these types of Challenges because each will make different demands on Challenge partners.

Flagship Challenges

Flagship Challenges are intended to encourage external teams to independently design, develop, launch, and operate space missions and thereby generate innovative and/or low-cost approaches to various civil space goals that would not otherwise be pursued.

It is envisioned that all Flagship Challenges will be "first-to-demonstrate" competitions and will offer cash purses ranging from millions to tens of millions of dollars to the winners of individual competitions. NASA intends to pursue this type of challenge once Congress has provided the necessary authority.

Flagship Challenges will be open to competitors from private sector companies, non-profit research institutions, university researchers, student teams, hobbyists, and any combination thereof. Examples of Flagship-type prize competitions include the Orteig Prize and the X PRIZE.

The specific Flagship Challenges proposed that are the subject of this APO include:

- The Fuel Depot Demonstration Challenge - The Micro Reentry Vehicle Challenge - The Station-Keeping Solar Sail Challenge

Details about these challenges can be found in FedBizOpps document ESMD-CC-0601, "NASA Exploration Systems Mission Directorate Request for Comments on Draft Rules for Possible Centennial Challenges Competitions".

NASA's Centennial challenges program has established a link on the NASA Exploration Systems website (exploration.nasa.gov/centennialchallenge/cc_submit.html) for submission of challenge ideas; ideas for future challenges may be submitted by sending an email to ccideas@hq.nasa.gov.

Keystone Challenges

Keystone Challenges are intended to encourage the development and demonstration of advanced technologies and/or innovative capabilities that support NASA's mission areas, and, where possible, have strong synergy with other applications. Keystone Challenges may be component-, subsystem-, or system-level demonstrations, and may involve robotic contests, drop tests, and/or atmospheric flight tests.

Depending on the technical goal, Keystone Challenges may take the form of "first-to-demonstrate competitions" or "repeatable contests", and will offer cash purses ranging from hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars to the winners of individual Challenges. NASA intends to pursue those Keystone Challenges with large prize purses once Congress has provided the necessary authority.

Keystone Challenges will also be open to private sector companies, non-profit research institutions, university researchers, student teams, hobbyists, and any combination thereof. The Longitude Prize and the DARPA Grand Challenge are two examples of Keystone-type prize competitions. Candidate Keystone Challenges for which NASA is seeking Co-Sponsor Organizations include, but are not limited to:

The specific Keystone Challenges proposed that are the subject of this APO include:

- The Human Lunar All Terrain Vehicle Challenge - The Lunar Night Power Source Challenge - The Low-Cost Space Pressure Suit Challenge

As with the proposed Flagship Challenges, details about these proposed Keystone challenges can be found in FedBizOpps document ESMD-CC-0601, "NASA Exploration Systems Mission Directorate Request for Comments on Draft Rules for Possible Centennial Challenges Competitions".

As noted above, NASA's Centennial challenges program has established a link on the NASA Exploration Systems website (exploration.nasa.gov/centennialchallenge/cc_submit.html) for submission of challenge ideas; ideas for future challenges may be submitted by sending an email to ccideas@hq.nasa.gov.

PARTNERSHIP SELECTION PROCESS

NASA will select Challenge Partners based on the following evaluation criteria:

  • Ability of the prospective partner organization to administer the selected challenge;
  • Potential for the prospective partner organization's mission, vision, and values to complement NASA's vision, mission, and values; and
  • Prospective partner's accessibility to expertise in the technology areas of the subject challenge competitions.

Using the specific evaluation criteria, NASA will select the Challenge Partner(s) for Co-Sponsor Organizations and Allied Organizations who best demonstrate the ability to further NASA's Vision for Space Exploration.

NASA and a prospective Challenge partner may ultimately negotiate a Space Act Agreement (SAA) to define the terms of the cooperation. The SAA will detail the contributions and responsibilities of NASA and the partner organization for a specific Challenge. The agreement will also address other important aspects of the Challenge, such as Challenge rules, media rights and intellectual property rights.

For the specific challenges that are the subject of this APO, Congressional authority will be required before they can be formally announced and conducted. NASA and a prospective challenge partner may enter into a preliminary Letter of Intent to initiate cooperation and negotiate in good faith towards a comprehensive SAA to be executed once existing restrictions, such as the requirement for Congressional authority, are removed.

SUBMISSION DETAILS

Responses to this Announcement of Partnership Opportunity should be no more than five pages in length and:

Briefly describe your organization;

  • Provide all the pertinent identifying and contact information about the Organization and the principal individuals of the Organization, including name, mailing addresses, phone numbers, fax numbers, email addresses, etc.;
  • Identify the Challenge(s) in which your organization wishes to partner with NASA (see lists above);
  • Identify the type of partnership your organization is seeking, either a Co-Sponsor partnership or an Alliance partnership (see descriptions above);
  • Describe your organization's reason(s) for wanting to partner on this Challenge(s);
  • In the case of prospective Co-Sponsor partnerships, include an estimate of the amount of cash funding your organization would be interested in contributing to the prize purse(s) for this Challenge(s); and
  • In the case of prospective Alliance Organizations, describe the prize competition administration capabilities that your organization could bring to bear on this Challenge(s).

The following organizational/individual contact information should be included on any submission in response to this APO:

- Organization and/or Individual Name - Complete Mailing Address - Telephone Number(s) - Email Address(es) - Reference document number ESMD-CC-0602

Duration

This Announcement of Partnership Opportunity will remain open until Allied Organizations for the five subject Challenges have been selected. To provide future opportunities to expand the number of Challenge partnerships and Allied Organizations, the original APO, FedBizOpps document ESMD-CC-0403 originally issued on November 5, 2004, will remain continuously open.

NASA will begin evaluating submissions to this Announcement of Partnership Opportunity starting four weeks from this posting date. Depending on the number of submissions received for specific Challenges, NASA may close some Challenges to submissions starting on that date. Submissions received after that date for a Challenge that has been closed will be returned to the sender without review.

Contact Information

Questions regarding this Announcement of Partnership Opportunity should be directed to Ken Davidian, 202-358-0748 or kdavidian@nasa.gov.

Submissions in response to this Announcement of Partnership Opportunity should be made electronically in the body of or as an attachment to an email sent to Rhett.A.Herrera@nasa.gov.

Point of Contact

Name: Ken Davidian
Title: Deputy Project Manager for Centennial Challenges
Phone: (202) 358-0748
Fax: (202) 358-2815
Email: kdavidia@hq.nasa.gov

Name: Rhett Herrera
Title: Contracting Officer
Phone: (202) 358-3633
Fax: (202) 358-2815
Email: rhett.a.herrera@nasa.gov

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