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NASA IPP Opportunity Notice to Participate in its Centennial Challenges Program as an Allied Organization

Status Report From: NASA Innovative Partnerships Program
Posted: Wednesday, March 9, 2011

image Synopsis - Mar 08, 2011

General Information

Solicitation Number: NNH11UA003L
Posted Date: Mar 08, 2011
FedBizOpps Posted Date: Mar 08, 2011
Recovery and Reinvestment Act Action: No
Original Response Date: May 06, 2011
Current Response Date: May 06, 2011
Classification Code: R -- Professional, administrative, and mgmt support services
NAICS Code: 541611 - Administrative Management and General Management Consulting Services

Contracting Office Address

NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, NASA Headquarters Acquisition Branch, Code 210.H, Greenbelt, MD 20771

Description

Through this Opportunity Notice (NOTICE) NASA seeks to select an Allied Organization for the Nano-Satellite Launcher prize competition (hereinafter "Challenge") to be conducted under the Centennial Challenges Program of NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Allied Organizations are responsible for the following elements as they relate to individual Challenges:

* Challenge Planning.
* Sponsor Recruitment. * Competitor Recruitment.
* Challenge Administration and Execution.
* Challenge Publicity.

NASA provides the monetary prize purse (which can be supplemented by outside organizations) but no funding for the conduct of the competition itself. Allied Organizations must administer the Challenges with their own funding or they must acquire the funding needed to administer the Challenges through agreements with sponsoring organizations or through other means.

Sponsoring organizations are those entities that team with an Allied Organization to augment the prize purse, provide funding for administrative expenses and/or provide in-kind support through separate agreements with the Allied Organization.

SPACE ACT AGREEMENTS NASA anticipates entering into an unfunded Space Act Agreement with a selected Allied Organization to manage the Nano-Satellite Launcher Challenge. Selection of an Allied Organization will be through a competitive process based on evaluation of submitted proposals. Participation as an Allied Organization will be contingent upon selection by NASA and negotiation of an appropriate agreement between NASA and the proposer. The Space Act Agreement will detail the contributions and responsibilities of NASA and the Allied Organization for a specific Challenge. The agreement will address intellectual property rights, concurrence on rules, team agreements, media rights, insurance, registration fees and eligibility, and typically include a term of 3 years. NASA reserves the right to select for Space Act Agreement negotiations all, some, or none of the proposals submitted in response to this NOTICE. Respondents will be responsible for funding their own activities associated with responding to this NOTICE and conducting the Challenge. The Allied Organization may collect reasonable registration fees from competitors but the use of registration fees as a primary means to cover Challenge administration costs is discouraged.

ELIGIBILITY Domestic non-profit organizations are eligible to submit proposals in response to this NOTICE. Allied Organizations cannot compete in the Challenge that they manage. Allied Organizations and their officers and employees may not have a financial or other interest in any teams that compete in any Challenge(s) they manage.

Multiple organizations may form a team to manage the Challenge and may submit a joint proposal.

CENTENNIAL CHALLENGES BACKGROUND NASA Centennial Challenges was established to conduct prize competitions to generate innovative solutions to technical problems of interest to NASA and the nation. Those competing for the NASA monetary prizes can be individuals, independent teams, student groups, research organizations or private companies but they cannot receive government funding to support any of their work related to the technical area of the prize Challenge.

The program seeks unconventional solutions from non-traditional sources and, thereby, hopes to identify new talent and stimulate the creation of new businesses. Unlike contracts and grants based on proposals, prizes are only awarded after competitors have successfully demonstrated their innovations. Competitors retain ownership of their intellectual property.

To be eligible to win a NASA Centennial Challenge monetary prize, an individual or entity-- (1) shall have registered to participate in the competition pursuant to any rules promulgated by NASA; (2) shall have complied with all the rules of the competition and requirements of applicable law; (3) in the case of a private entity, shall be incorporated in and maintain a primary place of business in the United States, and in the case of an individual, whether participating singly or in a group, shall be a citizen or permanent resident of the United States; and (4) shall not be a Federal entity or Federal employee acting within the scope of their employment.

The Centennial Challenges in the past have typically required several annual competitions to occur before the total prize purses have been claimed. Competitions have been conducted in a first-to-demonstrate format and in a head-to-head contest format. The competition events, especially in the head-to-head contest format, typically involve public spectators, televised or Webcasted coverage and are high-visibility opportunities for public outreach. Additional information can be found at www.nasa.gov/challenges

NEW CENTENNIAL CHALLENGE The specific Challenge for which an Allied Organization is sought with this NOTICE is the Nano-Satellite Launch Challenge to place a small satellite into Earth orbit, twice in one week. The prize purse is $2 million.

A description of the Challenge outlining NASA's objectives is provided in the appendix to this NOTICE. Further refinements and creative enhancements of the Challenge objectives by the Allied Organizations, with concurrence by NASA, are encouraged.

SELECTION CRITERIA NASA will select an Allied Organization based on the following evaluation criteria:

1) Capabilities of the organization to administer the Challenge and competition events including ability to:

a. encourage the participation of individuals, groups, students, and businesses, especially those outside the traditional aerospace community and those from minority and under-represented communities so as to attract a diverse field of competitors with wide geographic distribution. b. conduct competition events safely and impartially. c. formulate competition rules, judging criteria, and competition plans in consultation with NASA and with appropriate public comment. d. provide, as necessary, appropriate competition venues and supporting equipment. e. access technical expertise in the area of the Challenge and select qualified and impartial judges. f. conduct competitor registration and establish agreements with competitors covering legal, insurance, and other issues. g. maintain communication with competitors and with NASA. h. organize ancillary activities, including parallel student-class competitions (university, high school, or other levels) to enhance and broaden the impact of the Challenge. i. publicize and promote the goals of the Challenge through creative use of public media including websites. Report competition results to NASA and to the public. j. collect and report to NASA data on competitor progress and performance.

2) Experience of the organization in similar or analogous activities that demonstrate competence, integrity, commitment to safety, and ability to work cooperatively in partnering arrangements.

3) Ability of the organization to support Challenge administration through internal financial resources or firm commitments of sponsors. Existing financial resources or sponsor commitments will be a positive factor in evaluation of proposals.

PROPOSAL INSTRUCTIONS Responses to this NOTICE should be no more than seven pages in length, not including any letters of commitment from sponsoring or partner organizations. Pages in excess of the page limitations for each section will not be evaluated. A page is defined as one (1) sheet 8 1/2 x 11 inches using a minimum of 12-point font size for text and 8-point for graphs. Proposals should not include proprietary information. Submitted information will be shared within NASA and with contractor personnel associated with the Centennial Challenges Program. Prospective Allied Organizations are encouraged to periodically check www.nasa.gov/challenges for any updates or clarifying information.

The proposal shall consist of:

Page 1: Cover page including:

- Name of the Centennial Challenge addressed by proposal. - Date of submission.

- Name of Lead Organization. - Business mailing address and phone number of organization. - Web site of organization (if applicable). - Name, business mailing address, e-mail address, and phone number of primary officer of the organization having authority to enter into a Space Act Agreement with NASA - Name, business mailing address, e-mail address, and phone number of organization's point-of-contact for the proposal (if different from primary officer).

- Name of Team organization(s) (if a joint proposal). - Business mailing address and phone number of Team organization(s). - Web site of Team organization(s) (if applicable). - Name, business mailing address, e-mail address, and phone number of primary officer of the Team organizations having authority to enter into an Agreement with the Lead Organization

Page 2: Briefly describe your organization(s), including history, primary activities, interests, capabilities, and financial and personnel resources. Include any experience of the organization(s) that is similar or analogous to the proposed Challenge administration, and that demonstrates competence, integrity, commitment to safety and ability to work cooperatively in partnering arrangements. List any current or previous (for the past five years) contracts, grants or agreements with your organization(s) and any federal agencies. Identify the person with primary responsibility for management of the Challenge and the anticipated level of effort.

Page 3: Describe your organization's interest in the specific Challenge that you are proposing to manage and your reasons for wanting to manage it. Describe any objectives that you would have for the Challenge, above and beyond those of NASA.

Pages 4, 5, & 6: Describe your approach to managing the Challenge including:

a. proposed competition format (first to demonstrate, head-to-head, or other) b. encouraging the participation of individuals, groups, students, and businesses, especially those outside the traditional aerospace community and those from minority and under-represented communities so as to attract a diverse field of competitors with wide geographic distribution. c. ways to maximize the safety of the public, organizers, and competitors prior to and during competitions. d. concepts for developing competition rules judging criteria, and competition plans e. a description of the venue, facilities and equipment needed, and your approach to securing them. Plans to ensure that proposed format, venue, and associated elements do not provide any competitive advantage to any participant. f. accessing technical expertise in the area of the Challenge and approach for selecting judges. g. conducting competitor registration and establish agreements with competitors covering legal, insurance, and other issues. h. maintaining communication with competitors and with NASA. i. organizing ancillary activities, including parallel student-class competitions (university, high school, or other levels) to enhance and broaden the impact of the Challenge. j. use of public media including websites, social networking tools, and media coverage prior to, during, and after the competition reporting competition results to NASA and to the public. k. providing brief monthly reports on team registration and other pertinent issues; quarterly written reports providing NASA with teams' aggregate reported information on their investments directly related to their participation in the CHALLENGE; and a Final Report on the CHALLENGE including an assessment of the effectiveness of the CHALLENGE and recommendations for improvement.

Page 7: Provide a proposed schedule for major milestones in the process of planning and conducting the Challenge. These include the date when the competition rules will be finalized, when competitors can register, and when the competition will take place. Reference milestone dates to signing date of a Space Act Agreement for this Challenge.

Provide an estimate of the expected cost of managing the challenge and an estimate of the expected registration fee that might be charged to competitors. Describe the financial resources that your organization has or will obtain through sponsorships or in-kind contributions to conduct this Challenge. Provide a schedule that identifies major milestones toward securing funding or other resources needed for Challenge development or management. Discuss any dependencies between securing these resources and milestones for registration and the competition.

Describe your approach to staffing for Challenge administration and for conducting competition events.

Include attachments for: - Letters of commitment from any known sponsoring organizations or others providing financial or in-kind contributions. - Resumes of key personnel

SUBMISSION INSTRUCTIONS All proposals in response to this NOTICE, including signed letters of commitment, must be submitted in a single PDF file as an attachment to an electronic mail message to larry.p.cooper@nasa.gov no later than 11:59 PM, EST, May 6, 2011. Paper submissions will not be reviewed.

GENERAL INFORMATION NASA will notify all proposers of the results of the evaluation and selection process. After the completion of the evaluation and selection process, as appropriate, NASA will begin negotiations with selected proposers to finalize the terms and conditions of a Space Act Agreement. All work, as required, will commence after the parties execute a Space Act Agreement. Selection of an Allied Organization for this NOTICE is expected to occur by May 30, 2011.

Contact Information Questions regarding this NOTICE should be directed to Larry Cooper at 202 358-1531 or larry.p.cooper@nasa.gov. Answers to questions of general interest will be posted at www.nasa.gov/challenges.

APPENDIX - Description of Challenge

Nano-Satellite Launch Challenge

Objectives

* Safe, low-cost, small payload delivery system for frequent access to Earth orbit.

* Innovations in propulsion and other technologies as well as operations and management for broader applications in future launch systems.

* A commercial capability for dedicated launches of small satellites at a cost comparable to secondary payload launches--a potential new market with Government, commercial, and academic customers.

Description Deliver a payload with a mass of at least one kilogram and dimensions of at least 10x10x11 centimeters to Earth orbit, complete at least one orbit past the launch site and deliver payloads successfully at least two times in one week.

The specified payload matches the standard 1U CubeSat. One orbit past the launch site imposes an absolute minimum orbital velocity requirement and an injection maneuver to achieve orbit. Repeatability within a time constraint deters one-time stunts that would not lead to a useful launch capability. This is anticipated to be a first-to-demonstrate challenge.

Allied Organizations will have to verify that payloads have been placed in orbit via ground tracking or other means, which might be done through partnerships with NASA, the U.S. Air Force, private entities, or through sponsorships. Range safety costs and procedures will be a critical issue for competitors, but some existing and new ranges may offer incentives to attract competitors. The Federal Aviation Administration will have an important role in permitting and/or licensing of competitors.

Prize Purse $2 million is available from the Centennial Challenges Program. If additional prize funds become available from the Government or other sources, a second-place prize and supplemental prizes might be offered for the primary objective or additional accomplishments.

Outreach Opportunities Example: Competitors could offer payload space to student payloads. University teams may attempt the Challenge itself but a student-level competition for a suborbital flight to a very high altitude (i.e. 100 miles) might be considered. Such efforts should be coordinated with the NASA Student Launch Initiative and other existing programs. Additional NASA prize money may be available for student-level competitions.

Point of Contact

Name: Dr. Larry P Cooper
Title: Program Executive for Centennial Challenges
Phone: 202-358-1531
Fax: 202-358-3223
Email: Larry.P.Cooper@nasa.gov

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