NASA Solicitation: Long Lived Venus Lander Cooling System Studt and Conceptual Design

Status Report From: Glenn Research Center
Posted: Thursday, April 22, 2010

image Synopsis/Solicitation Combo - Apr 13, 2010

General Information

Solicitation Number: NNC10326157Q
Posted Date: Apr 13, 2010
FedBizOpps Posted Date: Apr 13, 2010
Recovery and Reinvestment Act Action: No
Original Response Date: Apr 30, 2010
Current Response Date: Apr 30, 2010
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


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 Quotations (RFQ) for Task 1: Requirements Assessment, Task 2: Trade Study, Task 3: Conceptual Design, and Task 4: Reports, in accordance with the following specifications for a system for providing cooling for Venus exploration:


In the coming years, NASA Glenn Research Center (GRC) intends to build a room-sized test cell that simulates the physical conditions on the surface of Venus. Venus is the closest planet to Earth, but it has an extremely hostile environment. It’s surface temperature is 500 degrees Centigrade; its surface air pressure is about 95 times that of earth’s; the planet revolves so slowly that just one of its days is equal in length to 243 earth-days; and the atmosphere on the surface of Venus includes sulfuric acid as one of its components. NASA has explored Venus in the past, but those missions have been very limited because of the environmental constraints; instruments actually melt within hours of exposure to the planet’s atmosphere and heat. Consequently, our first-hand knowledge of Venus is limited to a very short sampling-timeframe, roughly equivalent to what we could learn in a two-minute sampling window on earth. NASA’s goal is to be able to sample a full sunup-to-sunup Venus day (or, 243 earth-days), in order to better understand its unique environment. Building this world-class, unique test cell is a prelude to robotic exploration of our nearest planetary neighbor, and it is expected to attract/service researchers from all over the world.

NASA GRC intends to develop a combined Stirling power and cooling system (Stirling duplex) to enable long-lived Venus surface missions. The cooling system will need to be able to provide multistage cooling using a pneumatic oscillating pressure wave driving source. Since this cooling system will be integrated within multiple concentric pressure vessel spheres and launched from Earth, it is paramount to maximize its efficiency while minimizing its volume and mass. In the Purchase Order that results from this solicitation, a trade study and conceptual design for such a cooler will be delivered to NASA GRC. The first stage will lift 400 Watts of heat from an inner coldbay sphere at 30 degree Centigrade, and the second stage will lift at least 1100 Watts of heat from the outer coldbay at 250 degree Centigrade, and all this heat is to be rejected to the Venus surface at 500 degree Centigrade.

NASA GRC anticipates a 9 month period of performance.

The system to be studied is a cooler, which is part of a Stirling duplex machine, and utilizes energy from a heat source (exhausted to Venus ambient temperature) to both drive a Stirling-cycle cooler and a Stirling-cycle power converter. The Contractor shall provide the initial development of a cooler conceptual design suitable for Venus operations.

TASK 1: REQUIREMENTS ASSESSMENT A. The Contractor shall define the system requirements (mass, lifetime, vibration limitations, environmental considerations such as Venus atmospheric pressure and composition, etc.) for the cooler. B. The Contractor shall define the trade space including operational temperatures; acceptable heat shielding; cooler staging configurations; heat engine working fluid, frequency, gas pressure, and gas amplitude; and acceptable PV power draw from the heat engine to drive the Venus Lander Cooling System (VLCS). The trade space is defined as the range of cooler design parameters in which the system performance meets the standards shown in Task 2.

TASK 2: TRADE STUDY A. The Contractor shall generate a simplified thermal model of the Venus Lander. The Contractor shall calculate heat shield heat rates as a function of the shield temperatures. B. The Contractor shall calculate the PV power draw, gas flow, and gas phase relative to pressure phase, over the trade space defined in Task 1 (i.e., across the defined range of operating frequency, gas pressure, and gas pressure amplitude) C. The Contractor shall address a minimum of 3 different staging configurations, in order to optimize the system performance (minimize heat engine heat input) by intercepting the environmental heat at temperatures in between the 500°C environment and the 30°C electronics. D. The Contractor shall assess the expected performance of a cooling system driven by an acoustic Stirling heat engine and a free piston Stirling engine. This assessment includes identifying the system mass and volume; the system efficiency and heat lifted; and, the anticipated development risk and cost for each option studied.

TASK 3: CONCEPTUAL DESIGN A. The Contractor shall provide an electronic copy of conceptual design drawings (as defined below) for an optimized multistage cooler optimized for a proposed Venus Flagship Mission Lander.

Conceptual Design Drawing: The intended use for a Conceptual Design Drawing is to reduce technical uncertainty by verifying preliminary design and engineering concepts. Conceptual Design Drawings may not necessarily be accurate to scale, but they shall be legible and shall, as a minimum, disclose engineering design information sufficient to evaluate an engineering concept. Layout drawings may be used to convey the engineering concept in such a manner that the engineering information is understandable to cognizant Government engineers and scientists or enable fabrication by the design Contractor of developmental hardware for test or experimentation. The Contractor may imprint its name/logo on a Conceptual Design Drawing. A Conceptual Design Drawing may be delivered as a hardcopy, and/or as an electronic copy, and/or in any other readable/reproducible format, at the Contractor's discretion.

TASK 4: REPORTS A. The Contractor shall provide oral briefings (telecoms with the NASA COTR on a bi-weekly schedule as determined by the NASA COTR) that are brief, factual, and informal and shall reflect the interests and concerns of the COTR. B. The Contractor shall deliver monthly written reports that include preliminary conceptual drawings, trade spaces considered, and progress for the month in accomplishing the goals of this Purchase Order as follows:

Report Format: All written reports shall follow the format describved below. Oral reports should reasonable apply the guidance that this format implies.

(a) A cover page containing: (1) Contract number, task order number and title. (2) The type of report ("Monthly Technical Progress Report") and the period/unit being reported. (3) Contractor's name, address, and organizational segment generating the report. (4) Signature of Contractor's cognizant Project Manager (or, if submitted electronically, an unambiguous indicator that the Project Manager has generated/reviewed the report). (5) Date of issuance. (6) Inclusion of the following statement: "Prepared for NASA Glenn Research Center, Cleveland, OH 44135".

(b) Section I-- Technical Progress Summary: A description of the work performed during the report period and the overall technical progress achieved. The current schedule status shall also be addressed in this summary.

(c) Section II -- Current Problem(s): A description of any current problem(s) which may impede technical, schedule and/or cost performance, along with proposed corrective action(s).

(d) Section III -- Risk Management: Include a list of Significant Open Risks and associated Mitigation Plans.

(e) Section IV -- Work Planned: A description of the work to be performed during the next monthly reporting period.

(f) Section V -- Analysis: Interpretation of the results obtained, recommendations of further action, and discussion of the relationships between work performed and the ultimate objectives of the Purchase Order.

C. A final report shall be submitted. The Final Report shall conform to the format for Monthly Technical Reports and shall address the accomplishments of the entire effort.

Work product(s) of Tasks 1 through 4 as generated shall be delivered to the NASA Glenn Research Center, Attn: Rodger Dyson, 21000 Brookpark Road, M.S. 301-2, Cleveland, OH 44135 with a written notice of said delivery to the NASA GRC Contracting Officer, Marilyn D. Stolz via an email: . Delivery shall be FOB Destination.

The NAICS Code and the small business size standard for this procurement are 541712 and 500 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.

Offers for the items(s) described above are due by April 30, 2010, 4:30 p.m. local time and may be mailed or faxed to Marilyn D. Stolz, 21000 Brookpark Road, M.S. 500-306, Cleveland, OH 44135 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 to use the Standard Form 1449, Solicitation/Contract/Order for Commercial Items form found at URL:

All contractual and technical questions must be in writing (e-mail or fax) to Marilyn D. Stolz not later than April 20, 2010. Telephone questions will not be accepted.


Award will be based upon overall best value to the Government among those offerors that meet the technical specifications shown above. Technical acceptablility will be determined by information submitted by the offeror providing a description in sufficient detail to demonstrate their technical expertise, experience concerning their ability to perform the requirements and past performance. It is critical that offerors provide adequate detail to allow evaluation of their offer. (SEE FAR 52.212-1(b)) For selection purposes, ability to perform the specifications, total price and the best value criteria are essentially equal in importance. The offeror is encouraged to address the best value criteria shown below as part of their offer. BEST VALUE CRITERIA:

The following criteria will be considered best value for this procurement:

1). An offeror who is a current cooler manufacturer with a history of timely delivery and execution within budget is of greater value to the Government.

2). An offeror with demonstrated multistage Stirling and pulse-tube cooler heritage (including successful space missions incorporating their cooler technology) is of greater value to the Government.

3). Since the approximately three foot diameter Venus lander will have a mass of less than 1000 kg, and due to limited radioisotope energy availability, it is critical for the cooling system mass, volume, and efficiency to be optimized to operate within the following envelope: 30 kg, 3 cubic feet, and at least 20% of Carnot efficiency for each stage. An offeror with previously flown flight hardware meeting or exceeding these performance parameters is of greater value to the Government.

The provisions and clauses in the RFQ are those in effect through FAC 2005-39.

Offerors shall provide the information required by FAR 52.212-1 (JUNE 2008), Instructions to Offerors-Commercial Items, which is incorporated by reference. Addenda to FAR 52.212-1 are as follows: None.

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.

FAR 52.212-4 (MAR 2009), Contract Terms and Conditions-Commercial Items is applicable. Addenda to FAR 52.212-4 are as follows: None.

FAR 52.212-5 (FEB 2010), Contract Terms and Conditions Required To Implement Statutes or Executive Orders-Commercial Items is applicable and the following identified clauses are incorporated by reference:

(a) The Contractor shall comply with the following Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) clauses, which are incorporated in this contract by reference, to implement provisions of law or Executive orders applicable to acquisitions of commercial items:

52.222-50, Combating Trafficking in Persons (Feb 2009) (22 U.S.C. 7104(g)). Alternate I (Aug 2007) of 52.222-50 (22 U.S.C. 7104(g)); 52.233-3, Protest After Award (Aug 1996) (31 U.S.C. 3553); 52.233-4, Applicable Law for Breach of Contract Claim (Oct 2004) (Pub. L. 108-77, 108-78).

(b) The Contractor shall comply with the FAR clauses in this paragraph (b) that the Contracting Officer has indicated as being incorporated in this contract by reference to implement provisions of law or Executive orders applicable to acquisitions of commercial items:

52.203-6, Restrictions on Subcontractor Sales to the Government Sept 2006), with Alternate I (Oct 1995) (41 U.S.C. 253g and 10 U.S.C. 2402); 52.222-3, Convict Labor (June 2003) (E.O. 11755); 52.222-21, Prohibition of Segregated Facilities (Feb 1999); 52.222-26, Equal Opportunity (Mar 2007) (E.O. 11246); 52.222-35, Equal Opportunity for Special Disabled Veterans, Veterans of the Vietnam Era, and Other Eligible Veterans (Sept 2006) (38 U.S.C. 4212);52.222-36, Affirmative Action for Workers with Disabilities (Jun 1998) (29 U.S.C. 793); 52.222-37, Employment Reports on Special Disabled Veterans, Veterans of the Vietnam Era, and Other Eligible Veterans (Sept 2006) (38 U.S.C. 4212); 52.225-13, Restrictions on Certain Foreign Purchases (June 2008) (E.O.’s, proclamations, and statutes administered by the Office of Foreign Assets Control of the Department of the Treasury); 52.232-33, Payment by Electronic funds Transfer - Central Contractor Registration (Oct 2003)(31 U.S.C. 3332)

The FAR may be obtained via the Internet at URL:

The NFS may be obtained via the Internet at URL:

Offerors must include completed copies of the provision at 52.212-3 (AUG 2009), Offeror Representations and Certifications - Commercial Items with their offer. These may be obtained via the internet at URL: . These representations and certifications will be incorporated by reference in any resultant contract.

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: Marilyn D. Stolz
Title: Contract Specialist
Phone: 216-433-2756
Fax: 216-433-5489

Name: Linda M. Kendrick
Title: Contracting Officer
Phone: 216-433-2407
Fax: 216-433-5185

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