Douglas Isbell Headquarters, Washington, DC (Phone: 202/358-1753) Lanee Cobb Stennis Space Center, Stennis, MS (Phone

: 601/688-3341) RELEASE: 97-131

June 11, 1997

NASA SEEKS PROPOSALS FOR PURCHASE OF EARTH SCIENCE DATA AND PRODUCTS NASA's Stennis Space Center, Stennis, MS, has issued a Request for Offers from private industry and other external organizations to provide unique Earth science data and related information products for purchase by the Agency. This information will be used by science teams within NASA's Mission to Planet Earth enterprise, which manages NASA's portion of an internationally coordinated research effort to study the Earth as a global environmental system. Consistent with U.S. national space policy, NASA is seeking new ways of doing business and more efficient methods of providing scientific information to researchers. The U.S. Congress provided $50 million in the fiscal year l997 NASA budget to initiate the purchase of Earth science data. "We are seeking innovative proposals to supplement the traditional approach of government-owned and operated spacecraft providing the vast majority of data for remote-sensing research needs," said William Townsend, Acting Associate Administrator for Mission to Planet Earth. "We hope to determine whether industry is able to provide affordable measurements that meet our accuracy and coverage requirements, while at the same time meeting the needs of their commercial customers." As NASA's lead center for commercial remote sensing, Stennis will manage the data acquisition by defining the procurement specifications, managing the evaluation process, and leading the business evaluation and risk assessment. The NASA Headquarters Office of Mission to Planet Earth will define the science requirements, provide overall scientific guidance, and make the final selection.

Responses are due June 20, with Phase I selections to be announced by mid-August. The subsequent six months will be spent analyzing these sample data sets to evaluate their scientific utility. Those selected to continue to Phase II will receive a letter describing the price, quantity of data and required data characteristics, based on terms and conditions commonly found in the commercial marketplace. This includes a "cash on delivery" approach to data acquisition by NASA, Townsend said. Proposals may include data collected from spaceborne instruments specifically orbited for this solicitation, or data produced by innovative processing of data from existing systems. As part of its new ways of doing business, NASA plans to use approaches similar to this whenever it is within the ability of industry to respond to and accept the terms and conditions offered. Recognizing the groundbreaking nature of this approach, NASA will consider optional offers from this solicitation that exceed the existing $50 million budget if the offer provides the best value to NASA in executing the Mission to Planet Earth program. The overall scientific goal of NASA's Mission to Planet Earth is to provide long-term understanding of the Earth's land, air, oceans and life as a total system. Its five science themes are land cover and land-use change; predicting seasonal climate change; natural hazards research and applications; long-term climate research; and ozone studies. The text of the Request For Offers is available on the Internet at the following URL: For further details, contact Rebecca Dubuisson of NASA Stennis at 60l/688-1636. -end-