"ATK is the only source for a large human-rated, reusable solid propellant motor. "
Reader note: "What is even more interesting is this was released during Thanksgiving week, with a due date of Dec. 2. How is anyone supposed to do the research required for even a minimal response in 7 working days? Somehow this doesn't seem fair or realistic."
"NASA/MSFC was assigned the project under an internal NASA competition based largely on concepts and expertise contributed by Johns Hopkins University/Applied Physics Lab (JHU/APL.) NASA/MSFC intends to purchase the items from JHU/APL pursuant to 10 U.S.C. 2304(c)(2), unusual and compelling urgency ... Only JHU/APL is in position to meet the required schedule based upon implementing their existing, unique, and innovative mission concept with an established project team including a world class lunar scientist."
Editor's note: Well, DUH, if you base the spacecraft on a JHU/APL concept, of course they know the idea better than anyone else. Why not compete the concept to see if anyone can do it better? Why is this an "usual and compelling urgency" anyway?
"NASA/MSFC intends to purchase the prototype LNCI system from Johns Hopkins University/Applied Research Laboratory (JHU/APL). JHU/APL's status as a University Affiliated Research Center (UARC) allows JHU/APL to function as an extension of a program or project office in providing, without an Organizational Conflict of Interest (OCI), oversight, risk reduction and problem solving capability in a manner that ensures the best interests of the government and contractors are protected."
Editor's note: I don't get it. Mike Griffin constantly complains about the lack of engineering expertise resident within NASA - and seeks to get it back via "in sourcing" - and then he turns around decides to send all of this work to JHU/APL (his former employer) on a sole source basis.
Editor's update: I asked MSFC Center Director Dave King about this today at lunch here at the NASA Risk meeting. Specifically, I asked him why the RLEP2 mission was not openly competed, and why, in a time when NASA wanted to bring expertise back in-house, MSFC wanted to send it to JHU/APL instead. At first, he replied that this project had been "internally competed" between MSFC and GSFC. A few moments later he re-characterized the selection of JHU/APL as having been "sort of competitively chosen." King did not respond to the issue of in-sourcing as it relates to RLEP2.