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Multi-Orbit Logistics Services


Responses Due By

18 Feb 2020 23:59 EST

In anticipation of future missions, the Department of Defense seeks logistics services enabling low cost, responsive access to geostationary (GEO) and other exotic orbits beyond low Earth orbit (LEO).  For the purposes of this solicitation, a multi-orbit logistics vehicle (m-OLV) should be capable of autonomously transferring payloads or spacecraft to, within and between LEO, GEO, cislunar and other exotic orbits. Desired solutions should provide commercial services in the form of deep-space capable orbit transfer vehicles, fuel depots or other in-orbit mission enhancement opportunities.

 

Minimum desired capabilities, by category (Note: Please clearly specify the relevant category for each submission. Multiple submissions may be submitted by the same team.):

  1. Light utility m-OLV: capable of transporting (hosting) one or more mechanically-coupled payloads (~50 kg payload capacity).  The vehicle should have sufficient propellant capacity to transport one payload from LEO to GEO with guidance and control to support cooperative rendezvous, proximity operations, and release of its payload at the end of the transit.  
  2. Heavy utility m-OLV: capable of transporting (hosting) one or more mechanically-coupled payloads or spacecraft (500+kg payload capacity).  Sufficient propellant for persistent operations and maneuver to another orbit. The vehicle should include guidance and control to support cooperative rendezvous, proximity operations, and berthing with a space outpost or servicer.   
  3. Fuel depot: capable of storing and transferring sufficient chemical and/or electrical propellant to a m-OLV or self-propelled satellite to achieve a LEO-to-GEO transfer. The depot should include the necessary mechanisms, sensors and controls to couple the customer vehicle to the depot for refueling. 
  4. Rideshare approach: provide transport of detachable payloads or propellant to an m-OLV or an Outpost in GEO, cislunar or other exotic orbit. 

The following factors will be strongly considered during the selection process:

  • The architecture associated with the proposed concept
  • Description of onboard use of robotic systems or interaction with external robotic systems such as those on a fuel depot or Outpost 
  • Reusability and flexibility to support multiple mission sets and multiple transits (m-OLV)
  • Robotic capture of a less than fully coordinated free-flying target (m-OLV)
  • The ability to be refueled (m-OLV and depot)
  • Use of available/common grapple fixtures, interfaces and trusted components
  • Ability to facilitate self-disposal at the end of mission or service life
  • Ability to integrate with multiple space missions across various domains in the burgeoning new space economy
  • Commercial viability of business case
  • Cost savings and responsiveness over the current GEO/deep-space paradigm
  • Team experience and willingness to collaborate with other commercial entities

The prototype and its pricing should be considered independent of launch cost.

 

This effort will be a multi-phased effort. The first phase will include a systems engineering study to assure interoperability and completeness of a multi-orbit logistics infrastructure with other efforts. Subsequent phases will focus on employment and demonstration of on-orbit capabilities. Prototype hardware should be ready for flight within 36 months of contract award.

 

The government may facilitate teaming arrangements among submissions offering complementary capabilities to achieve desired effect.  Companies are also welcome to present their own teaming arrangements in their solution briefs.

 

Questions during the solicitation period will be entertained until 13 February 2020. Answers will be posted as appropriate on this page.

 

AMENDMENT 1: Responses are now due by 17 Feb 2020 23:59 EST.