NASA asks industry for space-qualified data recorders for future WFIRST spacecraft

GREENBELT, Md., 8 Aug. 2016. U.S. space observation experts are surveying industry to find space-qualified radiation-hardened solid-state data recorders for the future Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST).

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GREENBELT, Md., 8 Aug. 2016. U.S. space observation experts are surveying industry to find space-qualified radiation-hardened solid-state data recorders for the future Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST).

Officials of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., have issued a sources-sought notice (NASA-GSFC-RFI-WFIRST-SOLID-STATE-RECORDER) for the WFIRST Solid-State Recorder project.

The WFIRST spacecraft, set for launch in 2024, will be an orbiting observatory for wide-field imaging and surveys of the near infrared sky. The spacecraft will operate for six to ten years and will operate in the orbit about the Sun-Earth second Lagrange point (L2), which is about 930,000 miles from Earth.

L2 is a gravitational saddle point where spacecraft may remain at roughly constant distance from the Earth throughout the year by small station-keeping maneuvers. The future James Webb Space Telescope also will operate at L2.

WFIRST will study dark energy, exoplanets, and infrared astrophysics with a 7.9-foot primary mirror. The spacecraft will have two instruments -- the Wide Field Instrument, and the Coronagraph Instrument.

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The Wide Field Instrument will measure light from a billion galaxies over its mission lifetime. It will perform a microlensing survey of the inner Milky Way to find about 2,600 exoplanets. The Coronagraph Instrument, meanwhile, will perform high-contrast imaging and spectroscopy of dozens of individual nearby exoplanets.

From industry, NASA officials are interested in new or existing space-qualified high-capacity and high-throughput data recorders to store science data packets from the Wide Field Instrument and the Coronagraph Instrument. The solid-state recorder would be a component of the WFIRST's payload command and data handling subsystem.

This announcement is for planning, and is not a formal solicitation, NASA officials caution. From industry NASA wants written and illustrated concepts, estimates for development costs and schedule, assumptions for cost and schedule estimates, design assumptions, and descriptions of capabilities.

Companies interested should email responses no later than 1 Sept. 2016 to NASA's Scott Pursley at Scott.R.Pursley@nasa.gov.

For questions or concerns contact NASA's Julie Anne Janus by email at julie.a.janus@nasa.gov, or by phone at 301-286-4931. More information is online at https://www.fbo.gov/spg/NASA/GSFC/OPDC20220/NASA-GSFC-RFI-WFIRST-SOLID-STATE-RECORDER/listing.html.

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