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  Mercury - Gemini - Apollo
  Contractor bids to build the Apollo spacesuit

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Author Topic:   Contractor bids to build the Apollo spacesuit
BBlatcher
Member

Posts: 54
From: Savannah, GA, USA
Registered: Aug 2011

posted 03-17-2014 02:15 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for BBlatcher     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
When ILC, David Clark and Hamilton were competing against each for contract to design the Apollo spacesuits, does anyone know how much each company was estimating the cost would be? I.e. who was the lowest bidder and who was the highest?

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 29222
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 03-17-2014 02:25 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I don't have the numbers, but to widen the field a bit, according to "U.S. Spacesuits" (Thomas, McMann), the competitors included:
  • Bendix Corporation's Eclipse-Pioneer Division of Litton Systems
  • General Electric/B.F. Goodrich
  • Grumman Aircraft/AiResearch Division of Garrett Corporation
  • Hamilton Standard/David Clark Company
  • International Latex/Republic Aviation/Westinghouse Corporation
  • Ling-Temco-Vought
  • North American Aviation
  • Northrop Corporation's Space Laboratory

BBlatcher
Member

Posts: 54
From: Savannah, GA, USA
Registered: Aug 2011

posted 03-17-2014 03:28 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for BBlatcher     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Good point Robert! But to be more clear, I'm thinking of the a competition that was taking place in July of 1965. Hamilton and David Clark were supposed to be the only companies participating, but ILC managed to get in and wound up winning.

I'm curious what the bid amounts were and whether they were important to ILC winning. I don't think they were, ILC scored better than the others and their suit didn't malfunction, but am looking for more clarity and specifics.

Headshot
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Posts: 285
From: Streamwood, IL USA
Registered: Feb 2012

posted 03-17-2014 03:52 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Headshot   Click Here to Email Headshot     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Does anyone have the date the contract was awarded? I might be able to track down the numbers with that information.

Headshot
Member

Posts: 285
From: Streamwood, IL USA
Registered: Feb 2012

posted 03-17-2014 03:59 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Headshot   Click Here to Email Headshot     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Sorry, I do not have the numbers. For anyone with a complete collection of Aviation Week & Space Technology, this info might be in the August 2, 1965 issue on page 23.

DG27
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Posts: 28
From: USA
Registered: Nov 2010

posted 03-20-2014 03:11 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for DG27     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
References which I have come across show that NASA announced ILC as the winner of the Appllo Block II re-competition at the end of July 1965. In Sept 1965 NASA took over the roll of integrator of the suit with the PLSS. According to NASA News Release 65-346, "NASA to Negotiate for Apollo Suit, Support System" in Nov 1965, the ILC contract was estimated at $10M and the HS contract for the life support system at $20M. Keep in mind those are estimates out of the public Affairs people. The final numbers would be on the contracts. Also those are 1965 year dollars.

As someone previously mentioned, the winning contract cost may be posted in AWST as they used to have a nice listing of contracts by subject and award amount.

Keep in mind the suit evaluation was a technical evaluation. I suspect the cost negotiations were independent of the techncal evaluation and followed later after selection of the winner. If cost numbers were included as part of the evaluation, the standard practice is to not release the information on the loosing contractors. Cost information is tightly held during source selections, and destroyed at the end.

Also, keep in mind that the suit unit production cost is buried in the total contract cost, since the contract included development costs (non-recurring costs) as well as production costs. The only way to find out the suit unit cost would be to get ahold of the negotiated contract and look at the recurring costs for suit production.

Does anyone know where the Apollo programattic documents (contracts, etc) are archived?

kr4mula
Member

Posts: 617
From: Cinci, OH
Registered: Mar 2006

posted 03-21-2014 12:15 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for kr4mula   Click Here to Email kr4mula     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The three suit contractors in the 1965 recompete weren't asked to provide cost details.

As it was originally envisioned for the competition, Hamilton Standard would remain the primary suit contractor/integrator (as well as PLSS provider), while BF Goodrich and David Clark (not ILC, as mentioned) were competing, via a technical competition for the best suit, to become the new PGA subcontrator to HSD. HSD would then bid for the overall contract as a sole-source provider using the winning suit subcontractor.

However, when NASA capitulated and allowed ILC to enter the competition, and subsequently win, it threw a wrench in NASA's plans. It couldn't put HSD and ILC back together again, so it split the contract, as previously mentioned, with ILC getting the PGA contract (NAS9-3535) and HSD getting the PLSS contract (I don't recall the number off hand).

ILC's initial contract was valued around $6 million, but likely doubling by the end of the program. I can dig up more specific figures if necessary.

In short, cost wasn't a factor in the competition.

kr4mula
Member

Posts: 617
From: Cinci, OH
Registered: Mar 2006

posted 03-21-2014 12:19 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for kr4mula   Click Here to Email kr4mula     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
One clarification: Goodrich was Ham Standard's partner in the competition, so while HSD was the official entrant in the recompete, it was really a BFG suit and that's how I tend to think of it.

Headshot
Member

Posts: 285
From: Streamwood, IL USA
Registered: Feb 2012

posted 03-21-2014 12:52 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Headshot   Click Here to Email Headshot     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The Nov. 15, 1965 issue of AWST gives this estimate: "The backpack contract is expected to total approximately $20 million and the suit contract at least $10 million." It also states that, "International Latex Corp. ... will fabricate the Block 2 pressure suit under a separate MSC contract."

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