NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, AL, has
issued a NASA Research Announcement for the Space Launch System
(SLS) Advanced Booster risk-reduction effort. NASA is looking for
an advanced booster concept with the goal of reducing risk in the
areas of affordability, reliability and performance. Proposals will
identify and mitigate liquid or solid booster technical risks and
provide related hardware demonstrations, as well as identify
high-risk areas associated with adaptation of advanced booster
technology to SLS.
The 130-metric-ton evolved SLS vehicle will require a booster
with a significant increase in thrust over existing U.S. liquid or
solid boosters. This new heavy-lift launch vehicle will expand
human presence beyond low-Earth orbit and enable new missions of
exploration across the solar system.
"These risk-reduction efforts will set the course for the
full-scale design and development of this new advanced booster,"
said Chris Crumbly, SLS Advanced Booster NRA evaluation team chair.
"We're excited to see what innovative solutions industry will
provide as we embark on this new capability -- enabling
unprecedented missions beyond low-Earth orbit."
NASA anticipates making multiple awards in response to this
solicitation, and anticipates $200 million total funding. Final
awards will be made based on the strength of proposals and
availability of funds. The deadline for submitting proposals is
April 9. The anticipated period of performance for any contracts
awarded as a result of this announcement is not expected to exceed
30 months and will have an effective date of Oct.1, 2012.
This announcement is the second part of a three-part plan that
includes risk-reduction planning prior to design, development,
testing and evaluation of the advanced boosters.