NASA LaRC Solicitation: Max Launch Abort System Attitude Control Subsystem Thruster

Status Report From: Langley Research Center
Posted: Monday, August 15, 2011

Synopsis - Aug 11, 2011

General Information

Solicitation Number: N/A
Reference Number: NNL11MAXABORTSYS
Posted Date: Aug 11, 2011
FedBizOpps Posted Date: Aug 11, 2011
Recovery and Reinvestment Act Action: No
Original Response Date: Aug 26, 2011
Current Response Date: Aug 26, 2011
Classification Code: 17 -- Aircraft launching, landing and ground handling eqpt.
NAICS Code: 336412 - Aircraft Engine and Engine Parts Manufacturing

Contracting Office Address

NASA/Langley Research Center, Mail Stop 12, Industry Assistance Office, Hampton, VA 23681-0001


NASA/LaRC is hereby soliciting information about potential sources for a 1500 lbf liquid propellant rocket engine, herein referred to as a thruster. It must be able to operate from sea level to vacuum conditions without nozzle flow separation and is quick acting as well as fast pulsing. The Max Launch Abort System (MLAS) project is considering incorporating a conventional technology liquid attitude control subsystem (ACS) for coast flight stabilization and reorientation on Flight Test Vehicle (FTV) #2.

NASA/LaRC is currently conducting market research to identify firms with specialized expertise in the design, analysis, fabrication and test of thrusters commensurate with the below expectations for the Max Launch Abort System Project. The thrusters being sought should be readily available and meet the following top level expectations:

* Operates from sea level to vacuum producing highthrust. (e.g., 1200 lbf sea level, 1500 lbf vacuum)

* Uses low expansion ratio nozzle to avoid nozzle flow separation. (e.g., 8:1) Quickly acts from command "on" to build up rated thrust. (e.g., 90% within 20 mSec)

* Supports unconstrained, fast-pulsing duty cycles. (e.g., 50 mSec electrical "on" / "off")

* Provides reasonable cumulative burn and cycle life. (e.g., 30 seconds, 300 cycles)

* Packages lightly and efficiently. (e.g., 10 lbm, 12 inch long x 6 inch dia. right hand cylinder) Operates during abort environments. (e.g., 15g acceleration, 35g-rms vibration, 1000g shock) Operates stably on pressure budget from a repurposed Orbiter 750 psig helium regulator.

Respondents should have demonstrated capability and experience in the design, analysis, fabrication, and testing of thrusters, preferably with experience on systems for space applications.

Respondents shall emphasize how their stated capabilities and experience relate to the specific expectations as previously mentioned. Respondents shall comment on their derived performance requirements as well as the challenges associated with designing, analyzing, fabricating and testing thrusters for space applications.

Respondents may offer responses to any or all of the following:

1. Design, analysis, fabrication, and testing: (a) Provide technical description for the thruster. (b) Provide operating box for propellant supply conditions (and if applicable, pressurant supply) at valve inlet interface for the thruster. (c) Provide steady state and pulse mode performance capabilities for the thruster at vacuum and sea-level conditions, including thrust, specific impulse, pulsing impulse bit at minimum electrical pulse width, thrust build-up and tail-off times, etc. (d) Provide configuration description including mass, packaging and interfaces for the thruster. (e) Describe operating environment limits for the thruster. (f) Describe development and qualification testing already completed for the thruster. (g) Describe stability testing already completed for the thruster. (h) Describe readiness to initiate fabrication of current design for delivery of the thruster. (i) Describe acceptance testing necessary for delivered thrusters.

2. Costs: a) Provide Rough Order of Magnitude (ROM) costs to deliver two thrusters suitable for an attitude control subsystem hot fire ground risk mitigation experiment. (b) As necessary, provide Rough Order of Magnitude (ROM) for any remaining work necessary to design, analyze, fabricate, and test the thruster with the work broken out as a minimum in the following categories: design, analyze, fabricate and test. (c) Provide assumptions used in development of ROM costs. (d) Provide ROM costs for potential follow on option to subsequently deliver eight additional thrusters suitable for integration in a flight test vehicle.

3. Delivery: (a) Provide an estimated delivery time frame. (b) Describe the major risks and foreseen or unforeseen challenges to meeting the delivery as well as how they can be overcome.

4. Experience: (a) Describe experience of interested respondent with design, analysis, fabrication, and testing of thrusters for space applications.

In addition to the above information, responses must include the following: name and address of firm, size of business; average annual revenue for past 3 years and number of employees; ownership; whether they are large, small, small disadvantaged, 8(a), HUBZone, and/or woman-owned; number of years in business; affiliate information: parent company, joint venture partners, potential teaming partners, prime contractor (if potential sub) or subcontractors (if potential prime); list of customers covering the past five years (highlight relevant work performed, contract numbers, contract type, dollar value of each procurement; and point of contact - address and phone number).

Information, such as trade secrets and commercial or financial information provided to the Government on a privileged or confidential basis that, if released, would result in competitive harm should be identified and marked as Proprietary. Government civil servant employees are subject to the non-disclosure obligations of a felony criminal statute, the Trade Secrets Act, 18 USC 1905. NASA will likely provide proprietary information to its support service contractors who are under an obligation to keep third-party proprietary information in confidence. As such, to the extent that any information submitted in response to this RFI is marked as or construed to be proprietary or business-sensitive, submitters are hereby notified (a) about the potentiality that such information may be disclosed to support service contractors and (b) submission of information in response to this RFI constitutes consent to such handling and disclosure of submitted information.

Responses are requested not exceed 10 pages total, in 12 point font, not including diagrams, pictures, or figures. Preferred file format is PC formatted Microsoft Word, Power Point, Excel or Adobe (PDF). Existing documents that describe suitable existing products or proposed products are acceptable.

The information obtained will be used by NASA for planning and acquisition strategy development. NASA will use the information obtained as a result of this Sources Sought on a non-attribution basis. Providing data and information that is limited or restricted for use by NASA for that purpose would be of very little value and such restricted/limited data/information is not solicited. No information or questions received will be posted to a website with public access.

No solicitation exists; therefore, do not request a copy of the solicitation. If a solicitation is released it will be synopsized in FedBizOpps and on the NASA Acquisition Internet Service. It is the potential offeror(s) responsibility to monitor these sites for the release of any solicitation or synopsis.

This Sources Sought is being used to obtain information for planning purposes only and the Government does not presently intend to award a contract, nor will the Government pay for information solicited. As stipulated in FAR15.201(e), responses to this notice are not considered offers and cannot be accepted by the Government to form a binding contract. Inputs shall be compliant with all legal and regulatory requirements concerning limitations on export controlled items.

All questions should be directed to Mr. Joseph Cook at: via email.

Please advise if the requirement is considered to be a commercial or commercial-type product. A commercial item is defined in FAR 2.101.

The Government reserves the right to consider a small business or 8(a) set-aside based on responses hereto.

All responses are requested by 4:30 on August 26, 2011 and shall be emailed to Mr. Joseph Cook at

An ombudsman has been appointed -- See NASA Specific Note "B".

Point of Contact

Name: Alene L Arnott
Title: Contract Specialist
Phone: 757-864-5483
Fax: 757-864-7709

Name: Teresa M Hass
Title: Contracting Officer
Phone: 757-864-8496
Fax: 757-864-8863

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