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Gas Generator Separation System for Europa Lander Deorbital Stage Motor

Alabama, United States
Government : Federal
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Gas Generator Separation System for Europa Lander Deorbital Stage Motor

Request for Information 



The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) invites Industry to submit a response to this inquiry to assist NASA in assessing the Technology Readiness Level (TRL) and possible inclusion on the Europa Lander Deorbital Stage Braking Motor of a gas generator driven system to separate it from the mission’s Powered Descent Vehicle (PDV).  Industry response to this Request for Information (RFI) is sought within the context of the requirements and general approach described in the following sections and the associated appendix.  A detailed description of the Gas Generator Separation System (GGSS) and related system design requirements are contained in the attached Appendix.


Proposed system, if utilized, would prevent impingement of hot exhaust gases and particulates onto the PDV.  Employment would also reduce time between Deorbtial Stage (DOS) braking motor detachment and separation from the PDV.  Due to the nature of solid rocket motors operating in a space environment, a gas-generator driven system eliminates the low probability of braking motor re-contact with the PDV.  Gas generator units would be fabricated to actuate moveable struts and thus replace small, solid rocket motors used for separation purposes on space missions.  Finally, the GGSS shall be able to meet a planetary protection requirement of a very low probability of a viable Earth organism contaminating another planet to an approximate probability on the order of 1x10-4 bio-reduction, and shall also be capable of surviving a high radiation dose of approximately 6 Megarads (Mrads), and remain capable of operations.

Requested Response Topics

The specific objectives of this RFI are to solicit information to assist NASA in determining the viability of utilizing a gas-generator operated system on the future Europa Lander mission to 1) possibly detach the spent DOS braking motor from the lander’s PDV (i.e., replace motor’s forward-end pyros) though not a requirement of this RFI (optional), and to 2) separate the DOS from the PDV by means of actuating moveable struts to push the DOS braking motor off and away from the PDV (i.e., replace motor’s aft-end small separation motors).

Specific goals for this solicitation and eventual flight, if pursued, include:

      ·       Optional - Demonstrate the feasibility of such a system to adequately perform the detachment function of the DOS braking motor from the Europa Lander mission’s PDV;

     ·       Demonstrate the feasibility of such a system to adequately perform the separation function of moving the spent DOS braking motor away from the Europa Lander mission’s PDV;

     ·       Demonstrate the adequacy of the selected device: design, safe storage, planetary protection, and handling.

Comments are requested but not limited to any of the following topics:

     ·       Gas-generator system conceptual design, performance, and capabilities;

     ·       Notional top-level concept of operations for proposed gas-generator operated system to include initiation requirements and hazards before and after use;

     ·       Conceptual gas-generator powered development program to include rough order-of-magnitude funding requirements and top-level schedule including vendor recommended development units;

     ·       Suggestions for possible Industry-Government teaming arrangements related to the gas- generator powered system development.

Response Instructions

The information obtained will be used by NASA for planning and acquisition strategy development. No information or questions received will be posted to any website or public access location. NASA does not plan to respond to the individual responses. This RFI is being used to obtain information for planning purposes only and the United States Government does not presently intend to award a contract at this time. As stipulated in Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) 15.201(e), responses to this notice are not considered offers and cannot be accepted by the United States Government to form a binding contract. This RFI is subject to FAR 52.215-3.  

Phone Calls will not be accepted.  The subjec line of the submission should be "RFI Gas Generator Separation System".  All responses should be provided in MS Word document format via electronic media. Font should be Times New Roman, size 12. Responses should not exceed 30 pages.

Please submit responses no later than 4:00 P.M. CST January 17, 2020

David H. Brock, Contract Specialist, Phone 2565445138, Email - Belinda F. Triplett, Contracting Officer, Phone 2565443203, Email

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