NASA Solicitation: Robot System for Use in Geosynchronous Earth Orbit

Status Report From: Goddard Space Flight Center
Posted: Sunday, March 11, 2012

Synopsis - Mar 09, 2012

General Information

Solicitation Number: NNG12FA83-RFI
Posted Date: Mar 09, 2012
FedBizOpps Posted Date: Mar 09, 2012
Recovery and Reinvestment Act Action: No
Original Response Date: Mar 23, 2012
Current Response Date: Mar 23, 2012
Classification Code: 99 -- Miscellaneous
NAICS Code: 336419

Contracting Office Address

NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, Code 210.S, Greenbelt, MD 20771


The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is soliciting information to conduct market research to improve its understanding regarding the current state-of-the-art of available space robot systems. NASA is seeking broad information concerning existing robot systems that are relevant to long duration spacecraft missions designed to operate in Geosynchronous Earth Orbit (GEO).

In accordance with FAR 15.201(e), the information requested is for planning purposes only and is not intended to bind the Government.

Background and Study Plan:

NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) has undertaken a study regarding the feasibility, practicality, and cost of operating spacecraft for long duration mission lifetimes in GEO. One particular area of this study that is of keen interest to GSFC is the availability of existing robot systems for long-term usage at GEO to conduct servicing of other existing satellites. This RFI augments past studies to identify relevant and interested partners to join GSFC in the development of these various systems.

1. Robot System Descriptions:

Based on studies conducted over the last few years, NASA/GSFC envisions 2 or 3 robot arms, approximately 2 meters in length, mounted on a satellite bus to be used for autonomous capture and servicing tasks. The robot system is to include only the shoulder, elbow, and wrist actuators; a NASA/GSFC-developed tool drive system will be attached to the end of the arm. Electronics to drive the actuators is considered part of the overall robot system that is of interest in this RFI.

2. Technical Specifications:

NASA/GSFC is interested in a robot system that:

- Has 7 degrees-of-freedom

- Is roughly 2-3 meters in length

- Is designed for the thermal and radiation environment at GEO

- Has a 10 kg payload capacity at the end of the arm when the arm is operated in 1-g

3. Disclaimer

It is not NASA's intent to publicly disclose vendor proprietary information obtained during this RFI. To the full extent that it is protected pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act and other laws and regulations, information identified by a respondent as "Proprietary or Confidential" will be kept confidential. It is emphasized that this RFI is NOT a Request for Proposal, Quotation, or Invitation for Bid. This RFI is for information and planning purposes only, subject to FAR Clause 52.215-3 entitled "Solicitation for Information or Planning Purposes".

This RFI is NOT to be construed as a commitment by the Government to enter into a contractual agreement, nor will the Government pay for information submitted in response to this RFI. 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. The Government reserves the right to consider a small business or 8(a) set-aside based on responses hereto.

All questions must be submitted in writing via e-mail to both points of contact as outlined below. As part of its assessment of industry capabilities, the NASA/GSFC may contact respondents to this RFI, if clarifications or further information is needed.

4. Instructions to Respondents:

NASA appreciates responses from all capable and qualified U.S. sources including, but not limited to, NASA Centers, universities, university affiliated research centers, federally funded research and development centers, private or public companies, and government research laboratories.

Respondents are required to include the following technical specifications for their respective robot system on a per-arm basis:

- Summary of the robot system and how it could be used in a system/mission context

- Level of maturity (how many and what types of arms have been built that are of the flight design, heritage based on previous work, description of level of testing planned or actually performed on the arm, including thermal vacuum, vibration, EMI/EMC, and radiation. etc.)

- Rough order of magnitude (ROM) mass (including drive electronics)

- Rough order of magnitude (ROM) bounding box dimensions (length, width, height)

- Rough order of magnitude (ROM) nominal and peak power draw

- Description of data available to support mission studies (e.g. drawings, 3-D models, analysis, etc.)

Respondents are also required to address the following programmatic items:

- Name of corporate point of contact, telephone number, full mailing address, and e-mail address.

- Corporate competencies and past performance with regard to the development and production of similar robot systems. Relevant flight heritage/history is extremely important.

- Responses must have classified and proprietary information properly marked.

- Responses must include a Rough Order of Magnitude (ROM) cost estimate for: three (3) flight arms, one (1) qualification unit and one (1) engineering unit with associated electronics.

- Respondents must specify earliest possible delivery dates of the following deliverables: one (1) engineering unit, one (1) qualification unit, and three (3) flight arms with associated electronics from the date of any potential contract award.

- Availability of an existing robot arm for testing and evaluation.

5. How to Respond:

- Submit by March 23, 2012, 11:59 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time (EDT)

- Executive summary, not to exceed five (5) pages , 12-point font size, one inch margins; no limit on supporting documentation

- Format: Microsoft Word (.doc) or Portable Document Format (.pdf)

- Mark all responses: Robot system for use in GEO

Point of Contact

Name: Claudia Canales
Title: Contracting Officer
Phone: 301-286-5990
Fax: 301-286-1670

Name: Dean S Patterson
Title: Procurement Manager
Phone: 301-286-8085
Fax: 301-286-1670

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