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Solicitation Number: SS-ARES
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Office: Langley Research Center
Location: Office of Procurement
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Sources Sought
Added: Nov 19, 2009 1:30 pm
The NASA Langley Research Center (LaRC) is performing a technical assessment toform the basis of a possible proposal for the NASA Science Mission Directorate DiscoveryProgram opportunity. This assessment is focused on conducting scientific exploration ofthe planet Mars using ARES, a robotic aerial platform (ARES: Aerial Regional-scaleEnvironmental Surveyor).The purpose of this announcement is to enable LaRC to obtain potential providers toparticipate in the development of the technical concept, proposal, and mission elementimplementation of several mission areas in response to the upcoming NASA DiscoveryProgram Announcement of Opportunity (AO). Specific mission areas where LaRC is seekingassistance include:(1) The ARES Science Team.(2) ARES Education and Public Outreach (E/PO) Team(3) Design and development of the aerial platform structures and mechanisms subsystemincluding the composite airframe, associated hinging and latching mechanisms, and controlsurfaces. (4) Design and development of the liquid rocket propulsion subsystem for the aerialplatform. (5) Design and development of the command and data handling, flight software, and thenavigation sensors (only for entry and flight over Mars). (6) Design and development of the telecommunications subsystem for the aerialplatform and entry system.(7) Design and development of two complete cameras.Discovery Program investigations address NASAs planetary science goals as described inSolar System Exploration, NASAs 2006 roadmap for planetary science. The roadmap may befound at . While Discoveryinvestigations may focus on any body in the Solar System, excluding the Earth and theSun, and including Mars and the Moon, the ARES synopsis focuses on the exploration ofMars. Discovery investigations will be led by a Principal Investigator and will be comprised ofscientists in partnerships, potentially involving NASA Centers, academia, and industry.These teams will pursue missions of high scientific value utilizing observation platformsof their choice and design.Release of a draft Discovery AO is expected by the end of CY 2009. It is anticipatedthat approximately two to three Discovery investigations will be selected for 9-monthPhase A concept studies. At the conclusion of these concept studies, it is planned thatone Discovery investigation will be selected to continue into Phase B and subsequentmission phases. A launch date of 2016 is planned.Key attributes of the baseline concept for each area are noted below. These attributesare provided as a guide, however, the final system design submitted for the Discoveryproposal will be developed between the selected Offeror(s) and LaRC. All responsesprovided should have demonstrated space heritage. While each of the subsystems may becomprised of multiple elements, it is the intention of the Government to solicit entitiesto provide complete subsystems for eventual integration into the mission in lieu ofprocuring specific components via this announcement. Key attributes of the ARES Science Team are scientists with past experience andpublications and understanding of Mars atmospheric chemistry, the structure and dynamicsof the planetary boundary layer, Mars geology and geochemistry, including crustalmagnetism and sub-surface water and the evolution of Mars. Key attributes for Education and Public Outreach (E/PO) providers include activities thatextend the knowledge learned through the ARES Discovery mission and engage students andthe general public through various forms of media, including social networking, formaland informal education in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). Morespecifically, LaRC is looking for E/PO providers that have previous experience ineducating the public on previous NASA science missions, are willing to cost share, andhave a clear approach to marketing the program activities and achievements to a regionaland national audience.Key attributes of the aerial platform structures and mechanisms subsystem include a highstrength composite airframe structural material system suitable for use in spacestructures. Structures and mechanisms include compound curvature elements and the abilityto fold the wings and tail of the airframe allowing for rapid deployment in theatmosphere of Mars. Key attributes of the liquid rocket propulsion subsystem for the aerial platform consistof a hypergolic bi-propellant propulsion subsystem. The preferred bi-propellantcombination is monomethyl hydrazine (MMH) and nitrogen tetroxide (MON-3). Thepropulsion subsystem includes all necessary storage elements, pressurant, propellantmanagement and control elements, and the thrusters. The baseline total thrust rangenecessary is 50-95 Newtons. Key attributes of the command and data handling, flight software, and navigation sensorsinclude high reliability integrated space electronics for commanding and data storage.Navigation sensors include inertial measurement unit(s) and radar. Software includesflight software as well as all associated ground support and testing software.Key attributes of the telecommunications subsystem for the aerial platform include a UHFtelecommunications subsystems with simultaneous transmit and receive capability suitablefor space flight systems. Key elements include a UHF transceiver, and multipleomni-directional low gain conformal antennas. Key attributes for the camera provider will include past experience in planetary imagingsystems, demonstrated space heritage and the ability for still and video operation of thecameras.Offers will be reviewed, evaluated, and selected at NASA LaRC. If selected through thissynopsis, each provider is expected to participate in the technical assessment, proposaldevelopment, and on the mission implementation team. LaRC will require each selectedprovider to submit a detailed letter of commitment outlining their contribution, whichwill be included in the proposal.LaRC anticipates issuing contracts or other agreements to the Offerors provided the ARESmission concept is selected for implementation. Interested parties may propose as aprovider for any, all, or any combination of the areas sought. Provider selections willbe made by LaRC based on the listed criteria in the following order of importance:(1) Relevant Experience and Past Performance: This criterion evaluates the Offerorsrelevant technical experience and past performance in similar development activities.Provide a description of relevant technical experience including a summary of significantachievements and technical performance. The Offeror shall specifically discuss therelevance of their experience in reference to the design and development of compositestructures, liquid propulsion systems, command and data handling, navigation sensors, andflight software, UHF telecommunications systems, and/or cameras. (2) Cost and Schedule Control: This criterion evaluates the Offerors ability tocontrol both cost and schedule. The Offeror should provide evidence of successfullycontrolling cost and schedule for similar development programs and provide evidence ofmanagement processes in this area.(3) Technical Capability, Key Personnel and Facilities: This criterion evaluates theOfferors technical capability to perform the development proposed, the availability andadequacy of key personnel, and the availability and adequacy of facilities. The Offerorshall describe the technical capability, facilities and key personnel available tosupport the proposal and mission development.NASA will not reimburse organizations for the cost of submitting information in responseto this synopsis. NASA will not pay for technical assessment or proposal preparationcosts incurred by Offerors. It is expected that the selected providers will participate actively in the proposalprocess and that selection of the proposal for mission implementation would result incontract(s) or grant(s) for the selected providers. This synopsis opportunity does notrepresent a guarantee to selection of award of any contracts, nor is it to be construedas a commitment by NASA to pay for the information solicited. It is expected thatprovider(s) selected would provide (at no cost to NASA), conceptual designs, technicaldata, proposal inputs, schedule and cost estimates consistent with the NASA Discoveryguidelines as described in the AO. Responses to this synopsis shall be limited to 5 pages for each mission area of interest.Offerors responding to more than one area of interest may submit up to 5 pages for eacharea of interest. Responses shall address each of the aforementioned evaluation criteria.A cover page that clearly identifies the area or areas of interest addressed by theresponse does not count towards the total allocated page count. All responses shall besubmitted to LaRC electronically via e-mail by 5:00 PM Eastern Standard Time on December18, 2009 to: e-mail: william.c.edwards@nasa.govName: William Edwardsande-mail: robert.b.gardner@nasa.govName: Brad GardnerTechnical and programmatic questions should be directed to:Name: William EdwardsPhone: (757) 864-1555e-mail: william.c.edwards@nasa.govProcurement questions should be directed to:Name: Robert B Gardner Title: Contract Specialist/Contracting OfficerPhone: (757) 864-2525Fax: (757) 864-7709e-mail:
NASA/Langley Research Center, Mail Stop 144, Industry Assistance Office, Hampton,VA 23681-0001
Robert B. Gardner, Contracting Officer, Phone 757-864-2525, Fax 757-864-7898, Email - Timothy P Cannella, Contracting Officer, Phone 757-864-5028, Fax 757-864-9097, Email

Robert B. Gardner