NASA Releases RFI for Reusable Suborbital Research Technologies

Commercial Reusable Suborbital Research Technologies
Request for Information
Solicitation Number:


The NASA Authorization Act of 2010 (P.L. 111-267) authorizes creation of a Commercial Reusable Suborbital Research (CRuSR) initiative within the NASA Office of the Chief Technologist (OCT). OCT has implemented the CRuSR initiative through the Flight Opportunities Program within the Crosscutting Capability Demonstrations Division. OCT has determined that commercial suborbital reusable launch vehicles (sRLVs) provide an opportunity to qualify a number of key space technologies in unique environments under affordable and repeatable flight tests before committing to more expensive demonstrations in Earth orbit or beyond. OCT has also determined that the research capabilities of commercial reusable suborbital vehicles can be broadened for NASA and other users by developing and demonstrating vehicle enhancements and facilities for research-specific needs. Such investments can improve or enable new spacecraft capabilities and hold the promise of reduced costs and greater availability of near-space research capabilities for science and technology demonstration. To this end, the Flight Opportunities Program in cooperation with the Game Changing Technology Division plans in the near future to solicit proposals from entrepreneurs, scientists, technologists, instrument builders,research managers, vehicle builders, and vehicle operators.

As a first step in this process, the Program has identified three technology demonstration components that can utilize or enhance research flights aboard commercial reusable suborbital vehicles: (1) Payloads to Demonstrate Space Technologies, (2)Demonstration of Vehicle Technology Enhancements, and (3) Deployment of on board Research Facilities for Technology Testing and Demonstration.

The Program has also selected for development a sub-set of technology areas from OCTs draft Space Technology Roadmaps( Topics have been identified for each of the technology demonstration components listed above.

The purpose of the Request for Information (RFI) is to solicit (1) interest in the technology development topics provided in Attachment 1; (2) interest in other space technology road map areas; and (3) comments regarding how such technology development can further OCTs goals, as well as industry goals. Specifically, the Government is soliciting:

(1) Interest regarding potential technology demonstration payloads that can utilize the environments provided by commercial sRLVs that fit into any of the categories described in sections 2.1.1 through 2.1.11 of Attachment 1.

(2) Comments regarding other potential technology demonstration payload topic areas that can utilize the environments provided by commercial sRLVs beyond those listed in section2.1 of Attachment 1.

(3) Interest regarding potential technology enhancements that fit within the topic areas defined in section 2.2.1 through 2.2.9 of Attachment 1 for sRLVs and additional special capabilities necessary to fly and/or integrate any such payload.

(4) Comments for additional technology enhancement topic areas for sRLVs that go beyond those listed in section 2.2 of Attachment 1.

(5) Interest regarding potential on board research facilities that fit into the categories described in sections 2.3.1 through 2.3.4 of Attachment 1 and could leverage and utilize the environments that are provided by sRLVs.(6) Comments for additional topic areas (beyond those covered in section 2.3 of Attachment 1) which would leverage and utilize the environments that are provided by sRLVs.

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 offerors responsibility to monitor these sites forthe release of any solicitation or synopsis.

This document is for information and planning purposes, to conduct market research, as well as to promote competition. The Government encourages all segments of industry,academia, and government to reply with information regarding how their technology payload, sRLV technology enhancement or onboard research facilities could benefit from the environments that are provided by sRLVs. Technologists and researchers interested in developing and flying their technology demonstration payloads on sRLVs as well as sRLV providers with suggestions for technology enhancements are encouraged to respond to this RFI.

Responses should be submitted in Adobe PDF or Microsoft Word format, and are limited to five (5) pages in length. Responses should include the following (as applicable): name and address of the firm; size of business; average annual revenue for past 3 years and number of employees; ownership; whether they are large, or any category of small business, number of years in business; affiliate information: parent company, joint venture partners, potential teaming partners, prime contractor (if potential sub) or subcontractors (if potential prime); list of customers covering the past five years(highlight relevant work performed, contract numbers, contract type, dollar value of each procurement; and point of contact – address and phone number). This information is separate from the responses to Attachment 1 and is not included in the five page limitation.

Responses should be forwarded to L.K. Kubendran via electronic transmission ( by October 2, 2011. Please reference NNL11OCTGCD-2 in any response.

All responses are to be for general access by Government evaluators. If so requested in your response, all information received from this RFI will be considered confidential and proprietary, however, NASA may use responses to aid the drafting of an open solicitation for research investigations. It is not NASAs intent to publicly disclose 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 for planning and information purposes only, and is NOT to be construed as a commitment by the Government to enter into a contractual agreement, nor will the Government pay for information solicited.

Respondents will not be notified of the results of the evaluation. Respondents deemed fully qualified will be considered in any resultant solicitation for the requirement. The Government reserves the right to consider a small business or 8(a) set-aside based on responses hereto.

Technical questions should be directed to L.K. Kubendran ( All other questions should be directed to LaShonda Jacobs-Terry( Any referenced notes may be viewed at the following URLs linked below.


ATTACHMENT 1 – Posted on Sep 02, 2011

Point of Contact(s):

LaShonda P. Jacobs-Terry
Contract Specialist
Phone: 757-864-2359
Fax: 757-864-9775,

Lisa M. Harvey
Contracting Officer
Phone: 757-864-2444
Fax: 757-864-8863