NASA Presolicitation Notice; Access to space: The Evolution of an Idea and a Technology History Book Preparation

Status Report From: Goddard Space Flight Center
Posted: Thursday, November 21, 2002

General Information

  • Document Type: Presolicitation Notice
  • Solicitation Number: RFOW-08072
  • Posted Date: Nov 20, 2002
  • Original Response Date: Dec 20, 2002
  • Original Archive Date: Nov 20, 2003
  • Current Archive Date:
  • Classification Code: A -- Research & Development

Contracting Office Address

NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, NASA Headquarters Acquisition Branch, Code 210.H, Greenbelt, MD 20771


NASA Headquarters plans to issue a Request for Offer (RFO) to complete a scholarly book-length manuscript on the history of the access to space. The NASA History Office will administer this project and manage professional review and oversight of the final publication of the work.

The scope of work shall include, but is not limited to the preparation of a book-length manuscript on Access to Space: The Evolution of an Idea and Technology. The goal of this research project is to produce an approximate 500-page manuscript history of the views of scientists, engineers, policymakers, enthusiasts, and the general public regarding the various methods conceivable and available to put humans and payloads into space. Access to space has been the critical question in spaceflight since the beginning of the space age: how best and most efficiently to reach Earth orbit.

Reaching Earth orbit efficiently has been the key obstacle to overcome because once a payload has escaped most of Earth's gravitational pull, it is much easier for it to travel elsewhere in the solar system or beyond. In addition, there are a number of kinds of applications satellites that function within Earth orbit itself.

This work will present a conceptually challenging analysis of the manner in which humanity has thought about the methodologies of reaching Earth orbit (focusing on the twentieth century), exploring the various technologies conceived and developed. It will describe the process of technological innovation that has led to the development of chemical rocket launch vehicles that presently exist, and will explore the debates over the use of expendable launch vehicles versus reusable rockets. It will also explore the possible other types of launch systems that have been considered such as nuclear, electromagnetic, laser, and ion propulsion technologies, in addition to hypersonic aircraft.

The finished manuscript is to be delivered within three years and must reflect extensive research in NASA records, scientific journals, the records of other relevant government agencies (for example, the Smithsonian Institution, the Department of Defense, and the Department of Energy), personal paper collections, and private company archives.

The contractor should use oral history interviews as appropriate to augment written records as source material for this book. The contractor should transcribe the most significant oral histories and deliver them to the NASA History Office to make part of its Historical Reference Collection. All of the research material, including interview tapes and transcripts, collected during the project will be archived with the NASA History Office, forming a coherent collection other researchers can use for future histories.

Work Location: Work shall be performed at the contractor facility and at NASA Headquarters and relevant Field Centers. The contractor shall carry out the project using contractor office space, equipment, and supplies; however, accommodations for workspace and photocopying will be made available to the investigator when researching in NASA facilities. Period of Performance and

Contract Type: The period of performance for this contract includes a 12-month base period and two 12-month option periods, not to exceed 36 months after contract award. NASA intends to award a firm-fixed price contract. The Government does not intend to acquire a commercial item using FAR Part 12. See Note 26.

The NAICS Code and Size Standard are 541710 and 1,000 employees respectively. The DPAS Rating for this procurement is DO-C9. The Government is contemplating conducting a full and open competition. However, in the event two or more small businesses submit capability statements which demonstrate the ability to successfully perform this effort, the Government will convert this effort to a small business set-aside.


The anticipated release date of the RFO is on or about December 23, 2002 with an anticipated offer due date of on or about January 23, 2003. The firm dates for the offer due date will be stated in the RFO. This procurement is being conducted under NASA Midrange Procurement Procedures (NASA FAR Supplement 1871). An ombudsman has been appointed -- See NASA Specific Note "B".

The solicitation and any documents related to this procurement will be available over the Internet. These documents will be in Microsoft Office 97 format and will reside on a World Wide Web (WWW) server, which may be accessed using a WWW browser application. The Internet site, or URL, for the NASA/HQ Business Opportunities home page is

It is the offeror's responsibility to monitor the Internet site for the release of the solicitation and amendments (if any). Potential offerors will be responsible for downloading their own copy of the solicitation and amendments (if any). Any referenced notes can be viewed at the following URL: . All qualified responsible sources may submit an offer which shall be considered by the Agency.

Original Point of Contact

Michele Hull, Contract Specialist, Phone (301) 286-2749, Fax (301) 286-0356, Email - Carolyn Gonser, Procurement Manager, Phone (301) 286-3294, Fax (301) 286-0357, Email

Email your questions to Michele Hull at

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