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Ares V Update

By Keith Cowing
NASA Watch
December 7, 2008

NASA Calls for Comment on Draft Ares V Request for Proposals

“This document is a draft of the final version of the RFP for Phase I, expected in January 2009.”

Ares V to Support Heavy Lift for U.S. Space Exploration, Industry Day Conference 2008, December 3, 2008 (PDF)

Issued Draft RFP Nov 25, 2008
– Pre-solicitation Conference Dec 3, 2008
– Plan is to Synopsize RFP Dec 19, 2008
– Plan is to Issue RFP Jan 5, 2009
– Proposals Due Feb 9, 2009
– Clarification of Proposals Complete Feb 16, 2009

Fourth Item of Business: Ares V, NASA Strategic Management Council, 27 August 2008

Steve Cook, MSFC Ares Projects Manager, presented the approach to initiating and acquiring Ares V.

– Cook would like to get industry involved as early as possible. He stated that a point of departure design has been identified, along with key technology areas, such as a composite case booster. He noted that lessons learned from the Ares 1 vehicle integration are being applied, as well as from previous contract constructs. He stated that the contracting approach includes maintaining NASA ownership of overall Ares V vehicle system architecture and key discipline areas; there will be government led contractor teams acquired through dedicated contract activity; the contracted work will involve severable entities with clear evaluation criteria so NASA can go elsewhere if needed; 5 work packages are being considered; and the request for proposal is in development with an aim to release it mid-December. He noted that when the NASA civil servants feel ownership of the products, the morale, excitement, and quality goes up dramatically.

Griffin confirmed that he really likes this approach, an acquisition strategy used in the Apollo days. He observed that NASA never gets rid of the ownership and that it is important to feel ownership, because the Agency, in fact, owns the system and its design.

No decision, no action required.

NASA Watch founder, Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA, Away Teams, Journalist, Space & Astrobiology, Lapsed climber.