NASA Sole Source Contract Modification With Teledyne Scientific and Imaging - Wide-Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST)

Status Report From: NASA HQ
Posted: Friday, November 16, 2012

Synopsis - Nov 16, 2012

General Information

Posted Date: Nov 16, 2012
FedBizOpps Posted Date: Nov 16, 2012
Recovery and Reinvestment Act Action: No
Original Response Date: Dec 03, 2012
Current Response Date: Dec 03, 2012
Classification Code: A -- Research and Development
NAICS Code: 334413

Contracting Office Address

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


NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) has a requirement for additional H4RG-10 Sensor Chip Assemblies (SCAs) for the Wide-Field Infrared Survey (WFIRST) project.

The Wide-Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST) is the highest ranked recommendation for a large space mission in the New Worlds, New Horizons (NWNH) in Astronomy and Astrophysics 2010 Decadal Survey. The most pressing scientific questions in astrophysics today require a very wide-field survey in order to be answered, and existing telescopes such as the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) or the Keck Telescope cannot make these kinds of observations due to their optical designs and narrow fields of view. The absence of atmospheric distortion and absorption, the darkness of space, and the opportunity for continuous observations enable space-based surveys to go deeper, with more precision and accuracy, than can ever be possible from the ground. WFIRST will be the most sensitive infrared space telescope designed for precision wide-field survey work, and will produce the most powerful and informative astronomical data set for probing the nature of dark energy, cataloguing the variety of exoplanet systems, and mapping the distribution of matter across cosmic time. The NWNH science goals for WFIRST are quite broad - tiered infrared sky surveys of unprecedented scope and depth; a census of cold (as opposed to hot) exoplanets using microlensing; measurements of the history of cosmic acceleration using 3 distinct but interlocking methods; a galactic plane survey and a general observation/archival research program. These very different science goals were brought together by the recent advances in infrared detector technology that makes it possible to launch a wide field instrument system that has a large number of diffraction limited effective pixels in a the focal plane.

Recently, WFIRST completed a two year Design Reference Mission (DRM) activity with a Science Definition Team (SDT). The results presented NASA with two viable mission concepts (DRM 1 and 2). The DRMs were built upon detector testing results obtained from the Joint Dark Energy Mission (JDEM) Engineering Development Unit (EDU) Detector Module Subassembly, which was acquired under a previous competitively awarded contract (NASA Contract NNG10FD62C) with Teledyne Scientific and Imaging, LLC (TS&I).

NASA/GSFC intends to issue a sole-source Request for Proposal (RFP) to TS&I for twelve (12) additional H4RG-10 SCAs for the WFIRST Project. TS&I will provide the materials and labor to deliver the additional H4RG-10 SCAs to be used for testing in the GSFC Detector Characterization Laboratory (DCL), and incorporated into the WFIRST EDU Focal Plane Assembly (FPA). The period of performance is approximately 36 months for delivery.

TS&I is uniquely qualified for this contract not only because of their extensive experience and expertise but also due to the existing hardware (including H4RG-10 SCAs) and infrastructure currently in use by the WFIRST project, and the data already developed from that hardware and infrastructure. Further, they are the only organization currently qualified to perform the manufacture of the H4RG-10s that enable a WFIRST mission that meets the following requirements which flow from the NWNH goals listed above:

1. TS&I is the only known provider of the H4RG-10 detector module subassemblies needed for the WFIRST mission. Based on the responses to the Request for Proposal (RFP) for Contract NNG10FD62C, other viable vendors do not exist to provide detector assembly that meets the mission requirements as defined by the decadal survey.

a. WFIRST Exoplanet science requirements require a large Field of View (FOV) and high angular resolution for an effective space-based microlensing survey. Hundreds of millions of main sequence source stars with a sampling of 15 minutes or less is required. Also, resolving the motions of the planet host stars of the Galactic bulge require fine sampling that only H4RG-10 arrays can enable a FOV that is large enough to produce the statistical sampling needed.

b. WFIRST Dark Energy science requirements require wide-field observation that is more efficiently conducted with H4RG-10 detectors. Dark energy techniques of supernovae type 1a (SNe), galaxy clustering including baryon acoustic oscillations (GC BAO) and redshift space distortions, and weak lensing (WL) will be performed by the WFIRST mission. H4RG-10 detector arrays increase the pixel count and maximize the field of view while simultaneously keeping the pixel sampling at a level needed for the required precision WL measurements.

c. The WFIRST requirement of providing a deep map of the sky at near-infrared wavelengths in both the Galactic plane and in extragalactic fields. H4RG-10s enable these large area surveys improving both the FOV and PSF sampling in each image taken.

d. The WFIRST requirement for the General Observer (GO) Program requires a minimum of ten percent of the primary mission to be dedicated for observations other than those listed above. H4RG-10s enable a wider range of observations, providing better morphological information and larger field coverage.

e. The mission requirements for the WFIRST mission are designed to be met through the coordination of the results of each of these separate areas of inquiry to create an overall product. Only the H4RG-10 SCA can meet all of these functions with a single type of sensor array.

2. On August 20, 2012, the GSFC 2011 Strategic Astrophysics Technology (SAT) solicitation proposal was selected, which specifically named TS&I as the provider for the H4RG-10 SCAs. TS&I has developed the H4RG-10 design, processes, and testing that is the basis of the award along with the existing data by which subsequent testing will conducted. Changing the detector hardware at this point will moot the testing data already collected.

Statutory authority for this sole source procurement is 10 U.S.C. 2304(c)(1)--Only One Responsible Source. However, organizations who believe they can provide these services without any detrimental impact to the program schedules supported by this work, should fully identify their interest and capabilities within 15 days after publication of this synopsis.

Interested organizations may submit their capabilities and qualifications to perform the effort in writing to the identified point of contact not later than 4:30 p.m. local time on December 3, 2012. Such capabilities/qualifications will be evaluated solely for the purpose of determining whether or not to conduct this procurement on a competitive basis. A determination by the Government not to compete this proposed effort on a full and open competition basis, based upon responses to this notice, is solely within the discretion of the government. All responsible sources may submit an offer which shall be considered by the agency.

The Government does not intend to acquire a commercial item using FAR Part 12. See Note 26. An Ombudsman has been appointed. See NASA Specific Note "B". Any referenced notes may be viewed at the following URLs linked below.

Point of Contact

Name: Julie A. Janus
Title: Contracting Officer
Phone: 301-286-4931
Fax: 301-286-0341

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