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NASA Request for Information (RFI) - Future Space Validation of Earth Science Technologies

Status Report From: Goddard Space Flight Center
Posted: Thursday, October 27, 2011

image General Information:

Solicitation Number: NNH12ZDA005L
Posted Date: October 27, 2011
Response Date: December 31, 2011
Recovery and Reinvestment Act Action: No
Classification Code: A -- Research and Development
Issued by: Science Mission Directorate, NASA

NASA's Science Mission Directorate (SMD) currently sponsors a number of flight missions, divided between missions in development and missions in operations. One of SMD's programmatic objectives is to maximize the science return for the Nation within the available budget. One method of doing this is to space flight validate key new technologies to reduce their risk to future science missions. This Request for Information (RFI) solicits information for specific classes of missions to validate key Earth science technologies. Responses to this RFI will be used to inform NASA's program planning.

Background:

The Earth Science Technology Office (ESTO) manages technology development for the Earth Science Division at NASA Headquarters. Information on the ESTO program can be found at http://esto.nasa.gov/ .

There has been and continues to be a need for some new technologies to be validated in space prior to use in a science mission. This is necessary because the space environment imposes stringent conditions on components and systems, some of which cannot be fully tested on the ground or in airborne systems. This RFI specifically excludes ground or airborne validation. Infusion of new technologies into missions may depend on the risk reduction provided through space flight validation. In addition, some science measurements can only be fully validated through a demonstration in space. ESTO is most interested in science instrument and information system technologies.

ESTO is funding several CubeSat-based technology validations as part of a pathfinder process. ESTO is now interested in defining the parameters of a possible future competitive program to space validate selected Earth science technologies. That future program is the focus of this RFI. The program may consist of one or two parts. The first part would be a continuation of the current CubeSat-based validations or validation using suborbital reusable launch vehicles (sRLV). The second part would be a somewhat more robust program, expanding the class of possible technologies to validate.

NASA is issuing this RFI to seek the high-level details of various projects which might fit in either one or the other of these classes. Class 1 (CubeSat or sRLV) validations are limited to a budget of less than $5 million and a schedule of 3 years or less. Class 2 validations are limited to a budget of less than $20 million and a schedule of 5 years or less. In both cases the schedule limit includes the time required for the actual in-space validation of the target technology.

Definition: "CubeSat" refers to a type of nanosatellite, the dimensions of which are about 10x10x11 centimeters each (i.e., a "Cube" or a "1U"). CubeSats typically range from 1U to 6U in volume and are limited in weight to no more than 1.33 kilograms per 1U Cube. Suborbital reusable launch vehicles are managed for NASA through the Flight Opportunities Program ( https://flightopportunities.nasa.gov/).

Award: There will be no award associated with this announcement.

Requested Information:

The response to this RFI will be in the form of a PDF document that is uploaded through NASA's NSPIRES system (see Instructions below).
Respondents are asked to provide information on a space flight project which could meet a particular need for Earth science technology validation. Each response to the RFI should describe only one specific project and address the following topics, in this order:

a. Indicate the program class: class 1 (<$5M, <= 3years) or class 2 (<$20M, <= 5years).

b. Provide a description of the technology to be validated and its relevance to NASA's Earth science needs.

c. Provide a justification for why this particular technology or science measurement approach needs space flight validation.

d. Describe the system to be flown including the technology payload plus spacecraft accommodation. Estimates of the mass, power, and data rate for the system should be provided.

e. Describe the approach for access to space (e.g. dedicated launch, secondary payload...) as well as the orbit required.

f. Provide an estimated total cost and schedule with any key details driving the cost. Cost should be broken down in terms of management, system engineering, payload, spacecraft, launch and operations. The schedule should indicate the length of the periods for development and operations.

Instructions:

Page Limitation: The response must be limited to 5 pages. A page is defined as one (1) sheet 8.5 x 11 inches with one inch margins using a minimum of 12-point font size for text and 8-point for graphs.

All responses submitted in response to this RFI must be submitted in electronic form via NSPIRES, the NASA online announcement data management system, located at http://nspires.nasaprs.com/. For this RFI, a response submission will take the form of a Notice of Intent (NOI) within the NSPIRES online announcement data management system. The RFI response itself will be a PDF-formatted document that is attached (uploaded) to the NSPIRES system.

You must be registered with NSPIRES to submit a RFI response. See registration instructions at http://nspires.nasaprs.com/ (select "Getting an account"). Neither institution registration nor an institution affiliation is required to respond to this RFI.

1. Log in to your account at http://nspires.nasaprs.com/.
2. Select "Proposals" from your account page.
3. Select "Create NOI" from your proposals page.
4. Click "Continue" on the next page.
5. Select "Request for Information: NNH12ZDA005L (Future Space Validation of Earth Science Technologies)" from the bullet list of announcements. Click "Continue".
6. Enter RFI response title ("NOI title" field will be shown).
7. Select "do not link at this time" for submitting organization page.
8. Click "Save" on next page.
9. It is not necessary to complete any of the "NOI Details"; all requested information must be included in the attached PDF document. Information which is entered into "NOI Details" but not included in the attached PDF document will not be considered.
10. Prepare your RFI response offline and save as a PDF document (note NSPIRES instructions on .pdf formats). The response document must include the respondent's Name, institution, phone number, and E-mail address so the file is self-contained. File names format should be "Respondent Last Name - First Name - RFI". The response should not exceed five pages in length.
11.To attach (upload) your PDF document:
a. Click "add" under NOI attachments section;
b. Select "Proposal Document" from the drop down list;
c. Browse to attach your PDF file;
d. Select "Upload";
e. Click "OK";
f. Your RFI document has been uploaded to NSPIRES.
12. Click "Submit NOI" button. NOTE that this does not complete the submission process.
13. Ignore any warnings about incomplete NOI elements. Ensure that your NOI document is attached and click "Continue".
14. Click "Submit". This will take you to the NOI submission confirmation page, which provides you with the NOI/RFI number for your records.

Please note: You may delete and replace form fields and uploaded documents anytime before the submission deadline. Submitted NOIs cannot be deleted.

Point of contact for this RFI:
Name: Mr. Michael Pasciuto
Title: Lead, ESTO Advanced Planning Group
Phone: 301-286-0006
Email: michael.pasciuto@nasa.gov

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