NASA Intention to release draft Heliophysics MIDEX AO

Status Report From: NASA Science Mission Directorate
Posted: Monday, December 10, 2018

NASA's Science Mission Directorate (SMD) intends to release a DRAFT Announcement of Opportunity (AO) for 2019 Heliophysics Medium-class Explorers (MIDEX) missions in January 2019 and a Final AO for 2019 Heliophysics MIDEX missions in June 2019. The Heliophysics Explorers Program conducts Principal Investigator (PI)-led space science investigations in SMD's heliophysics programs under a not-to-exceed cost cap. It is anticipated that no more than three 2019 Heliophysics MIDEX investigations will be selected for 9-month, $1.25M (FY19) Phase A concept studies through this AO. At the conclusion of these concept studies, it is planned that at least one MIDEX investigation will be down-selected to continue into Phase B and subsequent mission phases. Multiple missions may be down-selected if their total cost remains below the cost cap. There will be no Missions of Opportunity (MO) solicited as part of this AO nor through an accompanying Program Element Appendix to the SALMON-3 AO. The DRAFT and Final AOs will appear on the NSPIRES Solicitations Page:


NASA recognizes and supports the benefits of having diverse and inclusive scientific, engineering, and technology communities, and fully expects that such values will be reflected in the composition of all proposal teams as well as peer review panels (science, engineering, and technology), science definition teams, and mission and instrument teams.


Heliophysics Explorers Program investigations must address NASA's heliophysics science objectives as described in 2018 NASA Strategic Plan and the 2014 NASA Science Plan.


NASA values the use of innovative, new technologies and encourages the demonstration of them in mission-relevant environments. MIDEX Program investigations may therefore propose PI-Team-Developed Enabling and Enhancing Technology Demonstration Opportunities (TDOs) to demonstrate new capabilities. PI-Team-Developed Enhancing TDOs, like Science Enhancement Opportunities (SEOs), are funded outside of the cost cap and may possibly not be selected even if the parent mission is selected for flight. 


NASA endeavours to provide NASA-developed technologies for NASA-Developed Enabling TDOs on science missions. The specific technologies to be offered for 2019 Heliphysics MIDEX have not yet been determined. More information about NASA-developed technologies will be announced at a future date.


Launch Vehicle costs and procurement will be the responsibility of NASA. Launch vehicle standard services will be provided as Government Furnished Equipment

and the cost will not be included in the cost cap. The cost of mission specific and special launch services is the responsibility of the PI and must be included within the cost cap. 


Foreign contributions to science instruments should not exceed approximately one-third of the science payload. Proposals shall include a discussion of the scale of the internationally-contributed instruments, how the proposed contribution is consistent with NASA's policy that the contribution does not exceed approximately one-third of the science payload,  and how the programmatic risks associated with the contribution will be handled.


Investigations will be capped at a Phase A-F cost of $250M (FY19), excluding standard launch services. A 25% minimum unencumbered cost reserve on Phases A-D will be required within the cost cap. Lower-cost investigations and cost-efficient operations are encouraged.


The time frame for the solicitation is intended to be:


Release of Draft AO ………………………..

January 2019

Release of final AO  ………………………..

June 2019 

Pre-proposal conference ……..……………

~3 weeks after final AO release

Proposals due ……………………………….

90 days after AO release

Down-selection ………………….…………..

4th Quarter 2021 (target)

Launch readiness date ..……………………

NLT February 2026



The 2019 Heliophysics MIDEX AO will be based on the Standard PI-led Mission AO Template version 5.0 available at Proposers should read the AO carefully when it is released. Any costs incurred by prospective investigators in preparing submissions in response to this notification or the planned 2019 Heliophysics MIDEX AO are incurred completely at the submitter's own risk.


Further information will be posted, as it becomes available, on the website of the Science Office for Mission Assessments (SOMA) of NASA Langley Research Center (LaRC) at in the 2019 Heliophysics MIDEX Acquisition Pages.


Questions may be addressed to Dr. Dan Moses at:


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