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REQUEST FOR INFORMATION FOR LOW-SWAP HOSTED PAYLOAD PRODUCTION PROGRAM
13 Oct 2021
SECTION 1. INTRODUCTION
The Government has identified a need for evolutionary or revolutionary space-based SDA sensors to augment current and planned systems by providing frequent, timely, assured volume revisit of significant portions of the GEO belt with real-time or near-real-time downlink and processing of collected data. As hosted payloads, these sensors should support a scalable architecture that can extend coverage as hosting opportunities arise. The goal is to demonstrate militarily useful, space-based SDA hosted sensor concepts with significantly lower recurring engineering costs (≤$10M).
In 4QFY20, the Government initiated a broad agency announcement (BAA) for a hosted payload concept design review and prototype development. The BAA attempted to identify, develop, and demonstrate concepts for low-cost, low size, weight, and power (SWaP) hosted space-based sensors to improve Space Domain Awareness (SDA) of the GEO belt. In the next few years, the Government intends to follow up the prototype effort with a competition for a formal ACAT production program. The production program will notionally produce 3-4 payloads per year and will be launched on various space vehicles including international hosts.
The purpose of this Request For Information (RFI) is to inform the community of the potential future competition for the production program and to request hosted payload concepts from the community that would address the objectives in the table below (no more than 2 page concept description). In the submission, please include any key inputs that the Government should consider that might be critical for production efficiency or the acquisition strategy development.
The RFI is not a formal request for proposal. This RFI is used solely to request information for planning purposes and does not constitute a solicitation. Responses to this RFI are not offers and cannot be accepted to form a binding contract. The Government is under no obligation to issue a solicitation or to award any contract on the basis of this RFI. However, the information received from this RFI may be utilized by EAC in developing future acquisition strategies.
SECTION 2. OBJECTIVE
The objective of the production program will be to develop and demonstrate concepts for low-cost, hosted SDA payloads to provide timely, assured volume revisit of the GEO belt.
The operational construct for the hosted payload is for the SDA sensors to be mounted on either the east or west face of a host spacecraft in a GEO orbit with an unobstructed field of regard down the GEO belt. The sensors will operate in a non-tasked manner, executing search-based SDA operations of the GEO belt within the sensor’s field-of-regard (FOR). While scanning through a predefined search volume, the sensors will collect SDA data on all GEO objects that fall within the sensors’ minimum sensitivity threshold. The sensors will operate autonomously and require minimal commanding, with the exception of potential commands during anomaly resolution or emergency operations, as well as limited, non-time-sensitive commands to narrow or adjust scan coverage areas within pre-defined system limits.
The system will consist of a space segment (the hosted payload capable of flying on varied hosts) and a supporting ground segment at a US Payload Ops Control Center (POCC). Command and Control (C2) of the spacecraft bus will be performed by the host, while C2 of the payload will be done at the POCC. Encrypted data will flow between the POCC and the payload through an existing link segment that is part of the host spacecraft architecture. The payload ground segment development will include a nominal interface that can be tailored for any particular selected link segment.
The SDA data will flow near real-time to be further processed at the POCC for correlation of the observations. The processed SDA data will be published net-centrically to the Unified Data Library and be of sufficient quality to augment the Space Surveillance Network (SSN). Data collected by the payload will support the Combine Space Operations Center (CSpOC) and National Space Defense Center (NSDC) operations as a dedicated SSN sensor.
The key performance parameters include the following key areas: recurring engineering cost, volume surveilled, volume revisit rate, operating period, and sensitivity.
See attachment for performance parameters
SECTION 3. INFORMATION FOR PARTICIPANTS
Respondents are encouraged to provide information that is not constrained by limited/restricted data rights. However, if proprietary data is included in a reply, respondents should clearly mark any proprietary or restricted data contained within its submission as such, so it can be identified and protected. Respondents are solely responsible for all expenses associated with responding to this RFI. The Government intends to evaluate all data received and responders may be contacted for further discussion on an as-needed basis.
Responses to this RFI will not be returned, and respondents will not be notified of the results of the review.