NASA GRC Solicitation: Design Fabrication and Testing of a Full Scale Power Conversion Unit PCU for Fission Surface Power

Status Report From: Glenn Research Center
Posted: Thursday, November 15, 2007


Synopsis - Nov 14, 2007

General Information

Solicitation Number: NNC08ZRP007R
Posted Date: Nov 14, 2007
FedBizOpps Posted Date: Nov 14, 2007
Original Response Date: Jan 31, 2008
Current Response Date: Jan 31, 2008
Classification Code: A -- Research and Development
NAICS Code: 541712 - Research and Development in the Physical, Engineering, and Life Sciences (except Biotechnology)

Contracting Office Address

NASA/Glenn Research Center, 21000 Brookpark Road, Cleveland, OH 44135


Technical Description:

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Glenn Research Center (GRC) at Lewis Field is planning the development of a Technology Demonstration Unit (TDU) for Fission Surface Power (FSP). The goal of the TDU is to assemble the major components (heat source, power conversion, heat rejection, power management and distribution) of a FSP system with a simulated nuclear heat source and conduct integrated system testing in thermal-vacuum to evaluate overall performance. FSP systems provide a potential option to support future human exploration missions on the Moon and Mars.

FSP is a current technology project under the Exploration Technology Development Program (ETDP) sponsored by the NASA Exploration Systems Mission Directorate. The FSP technology project is planned as a 5 or 6-year activity with concept definition and risk reduction that could lead to the start of a potential flight development program in the future. ETDP is managed by Langley Research Center. FSP is managed by GRC with support from Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) and several Department of Energy (DOE) National Laboratories.

NASA GRC will be soliciting a two-phased contract for the design, fabrication and testing of a single, full-scale TDU Power Conversion Unit (PCU). The PCU would accept heat input from a simulated nuclear heat source (at approximately 800 to 900 K), generate electrical power, and reject waste heat to a water cooling system (at approximately 350 to 450K). The gross FSP system electrical power is currently estimated at about 48 kW, provided by four parallel-string power conversion units. This development activity will focus on a PCU electrical output of 12 kW. Candidate power conversion technologies include free-piston Stirling cycle, closed Brayton cycle, and organic Rankine cycle. The final testing would be conducted at a government thermal-vacuum facility. The simulated nuclear heat source and water cooling system would be Government Furnished Equipment (GFE).

The two-phased contract consists of Phase I: Design and Analysis, followed by Phase II: Fabrication and Testing.

Contracting Approach:

The Government plans to conduct a phased acquisition involving a competitive down-selection process using the "progressive competition" down selection technique in which new, formal solicitations are not issued for phases subsequent to the initial phase. The subsequent phase proposal is anticipated to be requested by a letter accompanied by the appropriate proposal preparation and evaluation information. The Phase I design and analysis is anticipated to be a Cost Plus Fixed Fee contract with an estimated period of performance of 15 months. Multiple contract awards are planned for Phase I.

The Phase II fabrication and testing is anticipated to be a Cost Plus Fixed Fee contract with an estimated performance of 27 months for a total estimated period of performance of 42 months. Competitions for identified subsequent phase will build on the results of previous Phase I. The award criteria for subsequent phases will include demonstrated completion of specified previous Phase I requirements.

The Government expects that only the initial phase contractors will be capable of successfully competing for the subsequent Phase II requirements. Proposals for the subsequent phase will be requested from these contractors.

The Government does not intend to issue a new, formal solicitation for subsequent phase(s) as this acquisition is identified as a "progressive competition" and the mechanism for providing pertinent subsequent phase proposal information (e.g., statements of work, specifications, proposal preparation instructions, and evaluation factors for award) will be provided through a letter Request For Proposal.

Each subsequent phase of the acquisition will be synopsized in accordance with FAR 5.201 and 5.203. Notwithstanding the expectation that only the initial phase contractors will be capable of successfully competing for the subsequent phase(s), proposals from all responsible sources submitted by the specified due date will be considered. In order to contend for subsequent phase awards, however, such prospective offerors must demonstrate a design maturity equivalent to that of the prior phase contractors. Failure to fully and completely demonstrate the appropriate level of design maturity may render the proposal unacceptable with no further consideration for contract award. The Government does not intend to acquire a commercial item using FAR Part 12. See Note 26.

The NAICS Code and Size Standard are 541712 and 500 employees, respectively.

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

The estimated release date of the RFP is on or about December 3, 2007 with an estimated offer due date of on or about January 31, 2008.

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 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/GRC Business Opportunities home page is

Prospective offerors shall notify this office of their intent to submit an offer. It is the offeror's responsibility to monitor the Internet site 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. All contractual and technical questions must be submitted in writing (e-mail or fax). Telephone questions will not be accepted.

Point of Contact

Name: Michael J. Kinkelaar
Title: Contract Specialist
Phone: 216-433-2736
Fax: 216-433-2480

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