Centennial Challenges Issues Deep Space CubeSat RFI

moon_wires
NASA Centennial Challenges Program
Small Spacecraft Challenges Request for Information

Full RFI:
https://www.fbo.gov/index?s=opportunity&mode=form&id=ec040a31b16194f877d1034ccefdda40&tab=core&_cview=0

Overview

The Centennial Challenges program is seeking input on two challenges being considered for start in 2014. Both challenges would be to design, build, and deliver flight-qualified small spacecraft capable of advanced operations near the moon and beyond.

The first challenge will focus on finding innovative solutions to deep space communications with small spacecraft, while the second focuses on primary propulsion for small spacecraft. Together, these challenges are expected to contribute to opening deep space exploration to non-government spacecraft for the first time.

The proposed challenges would be NASA’s first prize competitions demonstrated and competed in deep space and potentially would be carried into trans-lunar trajectory of the Interim Cryogenic Propulsion Stage (ICPS) on the first launch (EM-1) of the NASA Space Launch System (SLS) and Orion planned for late 2017.

Challenge Description

NASA’s two challenges would provide competitive opportunities for competition teams to deploy CubeSats on a NASA provided launch that could include Exploration Mission (EM-1) of SLS.

Challenge 1 would award prizes in three areas:

1) ground demonstration of communications subsystem performance and acceptance for launch vehicle integration;

2) the highest data volume (bit error corrected) transmitted from and uplinked to a CubeSat within a prescribed period of time from at least 356,700 km (the minimum distance to the moon); and

3) the transmission of a prescribed small data set to the farthest distance beyond the moon and back to Earth.

Challenge 2 (to be run concurrently with the Challenge I) would also award prizes in three areas:

1) ground demonstration of propulsion subsystem performance and acceptance for launch vehicle integration;

2) the first CubeSat to achieve a verifiable lunar orbit; and

3) verifiable achievement of at least a prescribed minimum number of lunar orbits.

Awards

NASA plans to offer the following prizes, for Challenge I (communications performance) and Challenge II (propulsion performance):

Challenge 1 Prizes

Phase A: Communication Subsystem – Ground Demonstration and Selection for Launch. TBD $ will be awarded to all teams that meet all requirements to be selected for launch vehicle integration, based on ground demonstrations of (at least) a communications subsystem meeting TBD minimum requirements, while meeting all specified safety and launch vehicle interface requirements.

Phase B – Award 1: Largest Amount of Data Transmitted from Distance of Lunar Orbit. TBD $ will be awarded to the team that proceeds to at least 356,700 km from Earth and transmits (round trip, Earth to CubeSat and return) the largest volume of data over a prescribed period of time (a number of days) on or before a prescribed deadline date . In addition TBD $ will be divided amongst all teams that exceed the minimum data volume requirement within the prescribed time period and deadline.

Phase B – Award 2: Last CubeSat Standing (Farthest CubeSat Transmission to Earth). TBD $ will be awarded to the very last team to reliably transmit (round trip, Earth to CubeSat and return) a prescribed small set of data (TBD) (i.e., the CubeSat that receives and transmits from the farthest distance to Earth). The prize will be awarded once no transmissions are received from any CubeSat over a span of 28 (TBD) consecutive days (i.e., TBD days after the last CubeSat heard from), or at most launch + 365 days, whichever occurs first. In the event that the last successful transmission by more than one team is on the same date, then those teams will split this Award.

Challenge 2 Prizes

Phase A: Propulsion Subsystem Ground Demonstration and Selection for Launch. TBD $ will be awarded to all teams that meet all requirements to be selected for launch vehicle integration, based on ground demonstrations of (at least) a propulsion subsystem meeting TBD minimum requirements, while meeting all specified safety and launch vehicle interface requirements.

Phase B – Award 1: First CubeSat to Achieve Lunar Orbit. TBD $ will be awarded to the first team that successfully achieves TBD lunar orbits (as prescribed TBD) on or before a prescribed end-of-competition date (launch date + 365 days).

Phase B – Award 2: Runner-up CubeSats to Achieve Lunar Orbit. TBD $ will be divided amongst all teams that achieve TBD lunar orbits (as prescribed TBD) and exceed the minimum (TBD) number of orbits/duration of lunar orbits, on or before a prescribed end-of-competition date (launch date + 365 days).

Full RFI:
https://www.fbo.gov/index?s=opportunity&mode=form&id=ec040a31b16194f877d1034ccefdda40&tab=core&_cview=0