NASA GRC: Microgravity Aircraft Services: Draft Solicitation

Status Report From: Glenn Research Center
Posted: Tuesday, February 20, 2007


Synopsis - Posted on Jan 10, 2007

Draft Solicitation 01 - Posted on Feb 20, 2007


The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) currently provides reduced gravity flight services using NASA owned and operated aircraft. NASA will begin acquiring Reduced Gravity Aircraft services through outside sources.

The intent of this contract is to obtain support of reduced gravity research by aircraft approved by NASA for reduced gravity flight. Fulfillment of these programs can only be accomplished through an effective working relationship between NASA and the Contractor. Employees of the Contractor are an integral element to ensure mission accomplishment. The Contractor's employees' cooperation, professionalism, and positive attitude towards accomplishment of the mission and aviation safety are essential to the relationship that must exist to successfully complete this contract.

This Statement of Work (SOW) sets forth the requirements for NASA's Reduced Gravity Aircraft Facility Contract.


The Contractor shall provide all personnel, equipment, tools, etc.; except as provided in Section 4.7.8 Government Supplied Equipment and Services; necessary to conduct reduced gravity aircraft flights required to meet NASA's testing requirements. Unless otherwise stated, all coordination with other Government Agencies is the responsibility of the Contractor.

The Contractor shall provide up to 20 Reduced Gravity Flight Weeks per year. A Flight Week begins on Monday with a test readiness review followed by aircraft loading, and flights conducted each day Tuesday through Friday. Each flight shall include 40-60 reduced gravity parabolic trajectories. Aircraft unloading is conducted on Friday after the flight is completed. Normal hours for flight week activities are 7:00am to 6:00pm local time. The aircraft is considered "exclusive use" to NASA during a flight week. Flight Weeks will be conducted out of Ellington Field in Houston, Texas; and the NASA John H. Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio. NASA requires reduced gravity aircraft services beginning in September 2007.

The services available under this contract can be provided to any Federal Agency as approved by the NASA Contracting Officer (CO) and NASA Contracting Officer Technical Representative (COTR).

Reduced gravity parabolic trajectories are normally within the design envelope of passenger type jet aircraft, however, the repeated parabolic trajectories are duty cycles which manufacturers did not consider in the design of their aircraft and engines. The Offeror shall provide to NASA the aircraft and engine manufacturer's engineering evaluations which demonstrate the suitability of the proposed aircraft and engines for the reduced gravity mission. The manufacturer's engineering evaluations shall include recommendations for aircraft and engine modifications, operations, life limitations, structural monitoring, and maintenance. The Contractor shall follow all recommendations made by the aircraft and engine manufacturers. The Contractor shall immediately inform NASA of any changes to the manufacturers recommendations and provide the manufacturers data to NASA.

Public law requires that any aircraft used by NASA to conduct aeronautical research be operated as a "Public Use" aircraft. NASA is therefore responsible to ensure the overall safety of the Contractors reduced gravity aircraft operations and maintenance. The Contractor shall operate and maintain their aircraft per Title 14 CFR Part 121 (a Part 121 Certificate is not required), any additional Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requirements to meet the reduced gravity mission, as well as NASA's aircraft safety and management requirements listed in SOW section 2.1. As a "Public Use" aircraft, NASA may approve any deviations to Part 21, 23, 25, 27, 33, 35, 43, 61, 63, 65, 67, 91, and 121 as needed for NASA research missions in accordance with "Public Use". At the completion of a NASA mission the aircraft may be returned to its original civil status and returned to service under FAA airworthiness regulations. It is the responsibility of the contractor to ensure compliance with all FAA regulations when returning an aircraft to civil use.

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