The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Dryden has released a solicitation, entitled “NASA Announcement of Flight Opportunities (AFO) for Payloads Maturing Crosscutting Technologies that Advance Multiple Future Space Mission to Flight Readiness Status.” AFO #4 provides access to flights on suborbital Reusable Launch Vehicles (sRLV) and High Altitude Balloons. Parabolic flights are full until at least late 2013, so proposals for parabolic aircraft flights will NOT be accepted at this time. They may be included in a later solicitation.
Applications are due on or before 5:30 PM Eastern Time May 11, 2012 and selections will be announced in July 2012 (target). The solicitation is available by opening the NASA Research Opportunities homepage at http://nspires.nasaprs.com , selecting “Solicitations,” then selecting “Open Solicitations,” and, selecting “NOCT110 Announcement of Flight Opportunities.” To go directly to the solicitation page on NSPIRES click here.
NASA’s Office of the Chief Technologist (OCT) seeks to mature towards flight readiness status crosscutting technologies that perform relevant environment testing and advance multiple future space missions. To facilitate this goal, NASA is providing access to certain flight opportunities available to the Agency, on a no-exchange-of funds basis, to entities that have technology payloads meeting specified criteria. They may be exposed to a near-zero or reduced gravity environment by flying on aircraft that provide parabolic flight trajectories and on sRLVs that are potentially capable of flying to altitudes above 100 km. For flight tests that do not require microgravity, but do require the temperature, pressure and atmospheric conditions of high altitudes, balloon flights are available. Refer to http://flightopportunities.nasa.gov/ platforms for specific information on vehicle and flight characteristics.
This call is open to all individuals and organizations, U.S. and non-U.S. Such organizations may include educational institutions, industry, nonprofit organizations, Federally Funded Research and Development Centers, NASA Centers, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), other Government agencies, and partnerships between such entities.
Science payloads will not be evaluated under this announcement. Prospective responders with science payloads are encouraged to respond to open solicitations for science from the NASA Science Mission Directorate (SMD) and Human Exploration and Operations Research Mission Directorate (HEOMD).
All applications must be submitted electronically through NSPIRES by an authorized organizational representative (AOR). Potential applicants, and proposing organizations are urged to access the electronic proposal system well in advance of the application due date to familiarize themselves with its structure and to enter the requested information. It may require several weeks for non-U.S. organizations to obtain the registrations needed to submit a proposal.
Comments and questions may be sent via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Responses to inquiries will be answered by e-mail and may also be included in the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document located on the NSPIRES page associated with the solicitation; anonymity of persons/institutions who submit questions will be preserved.