Author Topic: NASA contract for in-orbit cryogenic transfer demo May 2021  (Read 16129 times)

Offline gongora

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Found this when looking at the federal contracting database (fpds.gov or beta.sam.gov), don't see a link that doesn't require a login. $50M contract from NASA for SpaceX to perform an in-orbit cryogenic transfer demo, planned before the end of 2022.

Contract 80MSFC21C0007 (from solicitation 80HQTR20NOA01-20STMD80)
On-Orbit Large Scale Cryogenic Propellant Management and Transfer Demonstration

Contracting Office Name:   NASA MARSHALL SPACE FLIGHT CENTER
Vendor Name: SPACE EXPLORATION TECHNOLOGIES CORP.

Date Signed (mm/dd/yyyy) :   05/04/2021
Period of Performance Start Date (mm/dd/yyyy) :   05/04/2021
Est. Ultimate Completion Date (mm/dd/yyyy) :   12/31/2022

Action Obligation:   $15,135,000.00
Base And Exercised Options Value:   $50,450,000.00
Base and All Options Value (Total Contract Value):   $50,450,000.00


Offline Slarty1080

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Wow developments appearing thick and fast for SpaceX today !
My optimistic hope is that it will become cool to really think about things... rather than just doing reactive bullsh*t based on no knowledge (Brian Cox)

Offline Herb Schaltegger

Great find, Gongora!
« Last Edit: 05/13/2021 10:18 pm by Herb Schaltegger »
Ad astra per aspirin ...

Offline jbenton

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Is this the first time in history that in-orbit cryogenic refueling transfer will be demonstrated?
« Last Edit: 05/14/2021 04:27 am by jbenton »

Offline nacnud

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Might not be refuelling, could be moving propellant between tanks, ie header tank and main tank. Would just need to open some valves and apply a small amount of thrust.

Edit 1:Could even be two tanks carried as cargo, its a demo so could be liquid nitrogen? Vent tanks to space before landing to reduce mass.

Edit 2:Could be secondary payload on F9... was all caught up with starship news.
« Last Edit: 05/13/2021 10:30 pm by nacnud »

Offline neoforce

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Is this the "Tipping Point Selection" announced in October?  https://www.nasa.gov/directorates/spacetech/solicitations/tipping_points/2020_selections

Quote
SpaceX of Hawthorne, California, $53.2 million
Large-scale flight demonstration to transfer 10 metric tons of cryogenic propellant, specifically liquid oxygen, between tanks on a Starship vehicle. SpaceX will collaborate with Glenn and Marshall.

Offline gongora

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Is this the "Tipping Point Selection" announced in October?  https://www.nasa.gov/directorates/spacetech/solicitations/tipping_points/2020_selections

Quote
SpaceX of Hawthorne, California, $53.2 million
Large-scale flight demonstration to transfer 10 metric tons of cryogenic propellant, specifically liquid oxygen, between tanks on a Starship vehicle. SpaceX will collaborate with Glenn and Marshall.

Yes, it seems to be.  I forgot about that one.

Offline yg1968

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I still think that it's news.

From what I can tell, there is a difference between being selected and receiving an award. SpaceX was selected last fall but the award was only made recently:

Quote from: page 5 of the solicitation
Schedule:
Appendix Release Date: January 29, 2020
Virtual Industry Forum: February 19, 2020
Mandatory Preliminary Proposal Questions Due: March 18, 2020
Mandatory Preliminary Proposal Due: March 23, 2020 (5 p.m. Eastern)
Notification Letter: May 18, 2020 (target)
Final Proposal Questions Due: July 15, 2020
Final Proposal Due: July 20, 2020 (5 p.m. Eastern) (target)
Selection Announcement: September 30, 2020 (target)
Award Date: January 15, 2021 (target)

https://nspires.nasaprs.com/external/viewrepositorydocument/cmdocumentid=728899/solicitationId=%7B73A65D34-DD48-D3ED-9EFC-58771C88BC53%7D/viewSolicitationDocument=1/Tipping%20Point_%202020%20Appendix_Amendment%204.pdf
« Last Edit: 05/14/2021 12:24 am by yg1968 »

Offline QuantumG

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Human spaceflight is basically just LARPing now.

Online oldAtlas_Eguy

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The result is that if the Orbital attempt does achieve orbit. Executing the transfer demo in 2022 should not be much of challenge to execute. Take a couple of LOX Header tanks and create the piping and valves representative of 2 Starships docked between the 2 tanks. And then add a side attachment to the fill and drain pipe for the regular SS LOX Header to fill one of the tanks before liftoff. And your good to go with very little costs except that of actually successfully launching the hardware in the payload area.

Offline Alpha Lima

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Re: NASA contract for in-orbit cryogenic transfer demo May 2021
« Reply #10 on: 05/14/2021 12:46 am »
Found this when looking at the federal contracting database (fpds.gov or beta.sam.gov), don't see a link that doesn't require a login. $50M contract from NASA for SpaceX to perform an in-orbit cryogenic transfer demo, planned before the end of 2022.

Contract 80MSFC21C0007 (from solicitation 80HQTR20NOA01-20STMD80)
On-Orbit Large Scale Cryogenic Propellant Management and Transfer Demonstration
Here's a direct link that doesn't require any login:
https://fpds.gov/ezsearch/jsp/viewLinkController.jsp?agencyID=8000&PIID=80MSFC21C0007&modNumber=0&transactionNumber=0&idvAgencyID=&idvPIID=&actionSource=searchScreen&actionCode=&documentVersion=1.5&contractType=AWARD&docType=D

Offline Nascent Ascent

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Re: NASA contract for in-orbit cryogenic transfer demo May 2021
« Reply #11 on: 05/14/2021 01:33 am »
Boy, would I love to see this operation being recorded by a nearby loitering Dragon.  Manned or unmanned.  Yeah, it's frivolous and not needed but it certainly would be awesome cinema.  Maybe make it part of Tom Cruise's movie. Ha!

Offline Curriston

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Re: NASA contract for in-orbit cryogenic transfer demo May 2021
« Reply #12 on: 05/14/2021 03:25 am »
It is nice to get a contract to help with this, but $50 million seems like pocket change, they have to build the hardware, launch 2 rockets, then demonstrate the transfer and land 2 starships. Lets see, if Boeing did this, it would be about 10-20 billion and take 20 years? So they throw SpaceX a bone and then get all this technology delivered to them that they can share with the rest of the industry. It is nice to get some money and I am sure that NASA has already done a lot of studies and can also supply SpaceX with some help getting this done, but dang, that is pretty cheap to get state of the art technology delivered to you??

Offline warp99

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Re: NASA contract for in-orbit cryogenic transfer demo May 2021
« Reply #13 on: 05/14/2021 03:44 am »
It is nice to get a contract to help with this, but $50 million seems like pocket change, they have to build the hardware, launch 2 rockets, then demonstrate the transfer and land 2 starships. Lets see, if Boeing did this, it would be about 10-20 billion and take 20 years? So they throw SpaceX a bone and then get all this technology delivered to them that they can share with the rest of the industry. It is nice to get some money and I am sure that NASA has already done a lot of studies and can also supply SpaceX with some help getting this done, but dang, that is pretty cheap to get state of the art technology delivered to you??
This is for liquid oxygen transfer between two tanks on a single Starship.  So launch with the oxygen header tank empty and then fill it from left over propellant in the main tank. 

Job done with probably no extra hardware required.

Offline Alpha Lima

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Re: NASA contract for in-orbit cryogenic transfer demo May 2021
« Reply #14 on: 05/14/2021 03:56 am »
It is nice to get a contract to help with this, but $50 million seems like pocket change, they have to build the hardware, launch 2 rockets, then demonstrate the transfer and land 2 starships. Lets see, if Boeing did this, it would be about 10-20 billion and take 20 years?
Check the announcement from October.  Boeing/Lockheed (ULA) will be getting $86 million to do a demonstration that's more  complex in some ways, with "multi-week propellant storage" in addition to tank-to-tank transfer, and also demonstrating the transfer of hydrogen (more difficult than oxygen):

https://www.nasa.gov/directorates/spacetech/solicitations/tipping_points/2020_selections

SpaceX of Hawthorne, California, $53.2 million
Large-scale flight demonstration to transfer 10 metric tons of cryogenic propellant, specifically liquid oxygen, between tanks on a Starship vehicle. SpaceX will collaborate with Glenn and Marshall.
 
United Launch Alliance (ULA) of Centennial, Colorado, $86.2 million
Demonstration of a smart propulsion cryogenic system, using liquid oxygen and hydrogen, on a Vulcan Centaur upper stage. The system will test precise tank pressure control, tank-to-tank transfer, and multi-week propellant storage. ULA will collaborate with Marshall, Kennedy, and Glenn.

Offline mrweidler

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Re: NASA contract for in-orbit cryogenic transfer demo May 2021
« Reply #15 on: 05/14/2021 04:29 am »
Found this when looking at the federal contracting database (fpds.gov or beta.sam.gov), don't see a link that doesn't require a login. $50M contract from NASA for SpaceX to perform an in-orbit cryogenic transfer demo, planned before the end of 2022.

Contract 80MSFC21C0007 (from solicitation 80HQTR20NOA01-20STMD80)
On-Orbit Large Scale Cryogenic Propellant Management and Transfer Demonstration

Contracting Office Name:   NASA MARSHALL SPACE FLIGHT CENTER
Vendor Name: SPACE EXPLORATION TECHNOLOGIES CORP.

Date Signed (mm/dd/yyyy) :   05/04/2021
Period of Performance Start Date (mm/dd/yyyy) :   05/04/2021
Est. Ultimate Completion Date (mm/dd/yyyy) :   12/31/2022

Action Obligation:   $15,135,000.00
Base And Exercised Options Value:   $50,450,000.00
Base and All Options Value (Total Contract Value):   $50,450,000.00
I wonder if this is an add-on to the contract they won in October? Or did it just take this long to negotiate a contract?

Offline joek

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Re: NASA contract for in-orbit cryogenic transfer demo May 2021
« Reply #16 on: 05/14/2021 05:24 am »
I wonder if this is an add-on to the contract they won in October? Or did it just take this long to negotiate a contract?
The latter. Per the original 2020 NASA Tipping Point Selections (emphasis added)...
Quote
The following selections, organized by topic area, are based on NASA’s fifth competitive Tipping Point solicitation and have an expected combined award value of more than $370 million. NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD) will negotiate with the companies to issue milestone-based firm-fixed price contracts lasting for up to five years.

Offline TrevorMonty

Its feast or famine. No cryo fuel in space demostrations and now we get 4 in next few years.

Sent from my SM-G570Y using Tapatalk
« Last Edit: 05/20/2021 07:27 pm by TrevorMonty »

Offline Confusador

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Re: NASA contract for in-orbit cryogenic transfer demo May 2021
« Reply #18 on: 05/14/2021 01:56 pm »
Its feast or fame. No cryo fuel in space demostrations and now we get 4 in next few years.

There's a lot of pent up interest that's been held back by Sen Shelby.  But NASA said they'd evaluate the HLS proposals on "sustainability", and so all three bidders proposed in orbit refueling.  Since you can't have Artemis without HLS, suddenly orbital refueling is necessary to keep SLS flying... and the dam breaks.

Offline equiserre

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Re: NASA contract for in-orbit cryogenic transfer demo May 2021
« Reply #19 on: 05/14/2021 02:09 pm »
Its feast or fame. No cryo fuel in space demostrations and now we get 4 in next few years.

There's a lot of pent up interest that's been held back by Sen Shelby.  But NASA said they'd evaluate the HLS proposals on "sustainability", and so all three bidders proposed in orbit refueling.  Since you can't have Artemis without HLS, suddenly orbital refueling is necessary to keep SLS flying... and the dam breaks.

you are right! SLS program needs refuelling... its sponsor bans refuelling...

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