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  NASA contracts for Constellation spacesuit

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Author Topic:   NASA contracts for Constellation spacesuit
Robert Pearlman
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posted 06-12-2008 03:44 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA release
NASA Awards Contract for Constellation Spacesuit for the Moon

Above: The Constellation Program mission requires two spacesuit system configurations to meet the requirements of Orion missions to the space station and to the moon. Configuration One will support dynamic events such as launch and landing operations; contingency intravehicular activity (IVA) during critical mission events; off-nominal events such as loss of pressurization of the Orion crew compartment; and microgravity EVAs for contingency operations.

Configuration Two, at right, will build upon Configuration One and will support lunar surface operations. While preparing to walk on the moon, the astronauts will construct Configuration Two by replacing elements of Configuration One with elements specialized for surface operations.

NASA has awarded a contract to Oceaneering International Inc. of Houston, for the design, development and production of a new spacesuit system. The spacesuit will protect astronauts during Constellation Program voyages to the International Space Station and, by 2020, the surface of the moon.

The subcontractors to Oceaneering are Air-Lock Inc. of Milford, Conn., David Clark Co. of Worcester, Mass., Cimarron Software Services Inc. of Houston, Harris Corporation of Palm Bay, Fla., Honeywell International Inc. of Glendale, Ariz., Paragon Space Development Corp. of Tucson, Ariz., and United Space Alliance of Houston.

"The award of the spacesuit contract completes the spaceflight hardware requirements for the Constellation Program's first human flight in 2015," said Jeff Hanley, Constellation program manager at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston. Contracts for the Orion crew capsule and the Ares I rocket were awarded during the past two years.

The cost-plus-award-fee spacesuit contract includes a basic performance period from June 2008 to September 2014 that has a value of $183.8 million. During the performance period, Oceaneering and its subcontractors will conduct design, development, test, and evaluation work culminating in the manufacture, assembly, and first flight of the suit components needed for astronauts aboard the Orion crew exploration vehicle. The basic contract also includes initial work on the suit design needed for the lunar surface.

"I am excited about the new partnership between NASA and Oceaneering," said Glenn Lutz, project manager for the spacesuit system at Johnson. "Now it is time for our spacesuit team to begin the journey together that ultimately will put new sets of boot prints on the moon."

Suits and support systems will be needed for as many as four astronauts on moon voyages and as many as six space station travelers. For short trips to the moon, the suit design will support a week's worth of moon walks. The system also must be designed to support a significant number of moon walks during potential six-month lunar outpost expeditions. In addition, the spacesuit and support systems will provide contingency spacewalk capability and protection against the launch and landing environment, such as spacecraft cabin leaks.

Two contract options may be awarded in the future as part of this contract. Option 1 covers completion of design, development, test and evaluation for the moon surface suit components. Option 1 would begin in October 2010 and run through September 2018, under a cost-plus-award fee structure with a total value of $302.1 million.

Option 2 provides for the Orion suit production, processing and sustaining engineering under a cost-plus-award fee or a firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contract structure with a maximum value of $260 million depending on hardware requirements. Option 2 would begin at the end of the basic performance period in October 2014, and would continue through September 2018.

Oceaneering was one of two teams competing for the contract. The other was a joint effort by Hamilton Sunstrand and ILC Dover.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 06-12-2008 07:50 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Oceaneering release
Oceaneering Announces NASA Space Suit Contract

Oceaneering International, Inc. announced it has secured a contract from The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to design and build the agency's next generation space suit known as the Constellation Space Suit System, or CSSS.

The initial contract term is for approximately six years with an estimated revenue value of over $180 million. During this time, Oceaneering will design and build suits for use during launch, abort, and re-entry of the new Orion spacecraft and for contingency Extravehicular Activity (EVA). The contract includes options to build additional suits, provide ongoing operational and training support, and to design and build suits for use during lunar surface activities. The first of these options is exercisable by NASA in October 2011.

The CSSS is a key component of the EVA System for NASA's Vision for Space Exploration. The new spacesuit system will be designed to be highly reliable, operationally efficient and simple to maintain. The CSSS will be used to sustain an American presence in low Earth orbit, help establish an outpost on the moon, and lay the foundation to explore Mars and beyond.

T. Jay Collins, President and Chief Executive Officer, stated, "We are pleased to have been selected to participate in the United States' continuing journey of space exploration. Our commitment to safety and 30-year heritage of developing and providing spaceflight hardware for NASA was instrumental in securing this contract award. While the contract will have minimal impact on Oceaneering's 2008 earnings, we look forward to a growing contribution from our Advanced Technologies business."

In collaboration with NASA, Oceaneering will lead a team that includes David Clark Company Incorporated and its subsidiary Air-Lock Incorporated, United Space Alliance LLC, Harris Corporation, and Paragon Space Development Corporation.

"Our team is excited about this tremendous opportunity to assist NASA in pushing the boundaries of space exploration," said Mark Gittleman, Vice President and General Manager of Oceaneering Space Systems. "We have a world class team of companies and individuals who are all committed to NASA and the Vision for Space Exploration. We have been working together with NASA for some time and are fully prepared to meet all of the requirements for the program."

The Oceaneering CSSS program office is located at Oceaneering Space Systems' facilities in Houston, Texas immediately adjacent to the Johnson Space Center. The team will be largely co-located, with program management, systems engineering, detailed design, production, testing, integration, and processing all provided in Oceaneering's facilities. The pressure suit will be produced in Worchester, Massachusetts and Milford, Connecticut, the avionics in Glendale, Arizona, selected thermal and life support components in Tucson, Arizona, and the communications system in Melbourne, Florida. Crew evaluations and fitting, and final acceptance testing, will also be performed at Oceaneering's facilities in Houston.

Oceaneering Space Systems supports NASA in training astronauts for extravehicular activity, and designs, develops, tests, produces, and certifies astronaut equipment, robotic systems, and thermal protection systems for NASA, the Department of Defense, and commercial applications.

Oceaneering is a global provider of engineered services and products primarily to the offshore oil and gas industry, with a focus on deepwater applications. Through the use of its applied technology expertise, Oceaneering also serves the defense and aerospace industries.

Oceaneering's CSSS Program Manager is former NASA astronaut Jim Buchli (STS-51C, STS-61A, STS-29, STS-48).

Matt T
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posted 06-13-2008 03:25 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Matt T   Click Here to Email Matt T     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Sad to see ILC and Hamilton miss out; truly the end of an era. It'll be interesting to see what new concepts Oceaneering have brought to the table to clinch this win.

KSCartist
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posted 06-13-2008 07:46 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for KSCartist   Click Here to Email KSCartist     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The image on the left looks like Major Matt Mason.

AFGAS
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posted 06-13-2008 08:53 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for AFGAS   Click Here to Email AFGAS     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by KSCartist:
The image on the left looks like Major Matt Mason.
Who thought Mattel would have such far-reaching vision! Let's hope they don't run into this guy!

Robert Pearlman
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posted 06-13-2008 09:48 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Matt T:
Sad to see ILC and Hamilton miss out; truly the end of an era.
Hartford Courant: NASA Spacesuit Pact Slips Away From Hamilton Sundstrand
Dan Coulom, a spokesman for Hamilton, called NASA's decision "disappointing, obviously" and said the company would attend a formal debriefing with space agency officials "in a couple weeks."

"We'll decide what to do once we hear what they have to say," he said.

Coulom declined to say whether Hamilton would challenge the contract award, as other UTC units have recently done with other lost contracts.

Hamilton's Space, Land & Sea unit is its smallest, generating about 6 percent of the company's revenue, or $330 million last year. The spacesuit is a small part of that.

Nonetheless, the loss badly stings the company. It is easily the most identifiable product Hamilton makes. Last October, in the thick of the spacesuit contest, Ed Francis, head of the Space, Land & Sea unit, said, "This is a big deal to us. We feel obligated to compete at the highest level."

Matt T
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posted 06-13-2008 10:18 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Matt T   Click Here to Email Matt T     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
As the wrangles over the Apollo spacesuit contract showed, it ain't over until the pressurized fat guy in white steps off the footpad. That said, I'd far rather that Oceaneering and it's sub-contractors do get it right first time; the many failings and contract shifts during the development of the Apollo suit meant that it was nip and tuck that the suit would've been ready in time for the landings. Without the delay caused by the Apollo 1 fire astronauts would have gone to the moon in the A6L suit, a dubious proposition in hindsight.

kr4mula
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posted 06-13-2008 11:24 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for kr4mula   Click Here to Email kr4mula     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It's interesting to see how similar the winning suit is to the ones batting around JSC over the past decade or so. It's hard to tell from the pictures if the PLSS is integrated into the suit like those prototypes (and the Russians) such that it swings open like a hatch for donning. Given the lack of external hoses and such, I'd say this is probably the case.

I wonder how the IVA-EVA interchangeability will work out in real life. It sounds good from a space-saving perspective, but how well will those pieces work out on the way home after weeks or months of surface use? Even with what looks like a surface coverall, you'll still get dust in them.

As Matt pointed out, it's a long way from a contract award to the final product, so we'll see what happens in future years. As ILC experienced in Apollo, an initial development contract doesn't necessarily mean you'll get a follow-on or production contract and even then, bad performance can lead to a whole new contract.

I'll be curious to see what happens to ILC's suit business once shuttle shuts down. It would be helpful to NASA to maintain a competitive industry in the event the DCC suit doesn't go as well.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 06-13-2008 11:33 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by kr4mula:
It's interesting to see how similar the winning suit is to the ones batting around JSC over the past decade or so.
I asked about the similarities to the Mark III (MK-III) during the telecon yesterday and was told that while they expect the lessons learned from that model will be integrated into the new design, the CSSS suit will be different.

The illustrations above are not of the Oceaneering CSSS but of a NASA concept, which may or may not differ from the suit that will be developed and produced. NASA said they were unable to share the details of the Oceaneering proposal until after Hamilton/ILC had a chance to review the selection process.

kr4mula
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posted 06-13-2008 11:42 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for kr4mula   Click Here to Email kr4mula     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks for the clarification. I assumed those were Oceaneering's pics from their proposal.

In speaking with some of the NASA suit guys (including Joe Kosmo, who had been around forever) about the Mark III suit a while ago, they seemed pretty convinced that it was the basic architecture for future suits. It had the hard upper torso like the shuttle EMU, but eliminated the annoying waist bearing/seal, and had the rear-entry hatch that made it much easier to ingress. Despite Joe being a long-time hard suit fan, he didn't think a true hard suit was in the cards. For one thing, the astronauts in general much preferred the feel and action of soft limbs. It also dictates the need for a separate IVA suit. So while the CSSS may differ from the pics, I suspect that architecture is the same. As with the shuttle EMU (and many other examples), once NASA has settled on its technical preferences, it's hard to win a proposal that differs significantly from that.

kr4mula
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posted 06-13-2008 11:46 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for kr4mula   Click Here to Email kr4mula     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Is the subcontractor "Harris Corporation" related to Gary L. Harris, author of the Advanced EVA suit book? I know he has worked with some companies on suits and seem to recall Oceaneering to be one of them.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 06-13-2008 11:56 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The Harris Corporation is a company that specializes in communication systems. They were named in 1895 by founding brothers Charles and Alfred Harris.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 06-14-2008 05:28 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
And here's the ILC reaction, via The News Journal:

Del. company misses out on space suits for moon

ILC has helped design and build space suits worn by NASA astronauts since the mid-1960s. About 350 people work at ILC. No layoffs are expected.

"It was a sad day, a disappointing day for ILC Dover," said Brad Walters, the company's vice president of operations. "We were hoping to win but when you get into a competition, there are no guarantees."

The new $745 million contract calls for 109 space suits, 24 of which will be the lunar suits. New suits will be worn on voyages to the space station and, later, to the moon. NASA made the announcement about the contract award Thursday.

ILC officials hope to talk with NASA and Oceaneering about ways it could help in making the new suits.

"What our role will be is based on discussions that haven't happened yet," Walters said. "We're going to find that out, hopefully, in the coming months."

LCDR Scott Schneeweis
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posted 06-14-2008 08:01 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for LCDR Scott Schneeweis   Click Here to Email LCDR Scott Schneeweis     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I think ILC will have an opportunity to prove its metal again as the commercial space industry evolves and perhaps with other foreign space agencies who might lack the domestic capability to produce their own spacesuits. Under an optimum acquisition process however, the down-select to either Oceaneering or ILC ideally should have occurred only after both companies had actually produced operational prototypes that were tested and evaluated in the flight environment but NASA budgetary constraints likely didn't permit that.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 06-19-2008 12:51 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
The Harris Corporation is a company that specializes in communication systems
Further to Harris' role in the CSSS:
Under the new Constellation Space Suit System (CSSS) contract, Harris will supply a radiation-hardened, software-defined radio (SDR); a voice-only contingency radio; and low profile antennas. The SDR provides the flexibility and adaptability required to accommodate evolving voice and data networking requirements of future lunar missions with the goal of future-proofing the space suit's communications system.

LCDR Scott Schneeweis
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posted 06-19-2008 01:27 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for LCDR Scott Schneeweis   Click Here to Email LCDR Scott Schneeweis     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This is one example where technology initially developed for Military use is being leveraged for spaceborne application - Harris got into the SDR buisiness while competing for the JTRS (Joint Tactical Radio System) contract... they will likely incorporate much of JTRS functional attributes into their work on Constellation

328KF
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posted 06-19-2008 06:19 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for 328KF   Click Here to Email 328KF     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Interestingly, I believe Oceaneering International is the same company that Curt Newport called on to assist him in the 1999 recovery of Liberty Bell 7.

Philip
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posted 06-20-2008 12:47 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Philip   Click Here to Email Philip     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA Ames has been testing spacesuits for years in order to "customize" these for "Moon, Mars & beyond" missions. Hope to see a real photo of the FINAL design soon!

Robert Pearlman
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posted 06-20-2008 01:29 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA Ames has been doing research, but the Constellation spacesuit design was led by Johnson Space Center. It will be some time before any photos of hardware are available. The suit has yet to even reach the design stage.

The decision as to contractors was made primarily based on their management skills.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 07-15-2008 02:51 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Not totally unexpected...

Hartford Courant: Windsor Locks Co. Protests NASA Spacesuit Choice

Windsor Locks-based Hamilton Sundstrand Corp. has formally protested NASA's selection of a Texas firm as the supplier of the space agency's next spacesuit, a marquee product for Hamilton that the company has supplied for decades.

A special company formed by Hamilton and a partner , ILC Dover, Exploration Systems and Technology, filed the protest late Monday with the Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress, Hamilton spokesman Dan Coulom said this morning.

The GAO has 100 days to rule on protests. Its decisions are technically non-binding, but can serve as powerful political leverage for companies trying to reverse a contract award to a competitor.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 08-15-2008 03:48 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Reuters: NASA to re-open bidding for space suits -letter
NASA plans to terminate its contract for oilfield services company Oceaneering International Inc. to produce a new space suit as it seeks more information on costs, according to a document obtained by Reuters on Friday.

The move by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration gives diversified U.S. manufacturer United Technologies Corp's Hamilton Sundstrand unit a chance to win back the contract. Hamilton has been the prime contractor on the space suit program since 1981.

A NASA official told Washington auditors in a letter dated Thursday that the U.S. space agency found it had not asked Oceaneering for a required "cost accounting standards disclosure statement," and it would hold "limited discussions" with Oceaneering and United Tech about new proposals.

NASA will terminate its current contract for Houston-based Oceaneering to produce the space suits, senior attorney Alexander Bakos wrote in the letter obtained by Reuters.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 08-15-2008 05:17 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA release
NASA To Take Corrective Action In Spacesuit Contract Protest

NASA has concluded that corrective action is appropriate in the Government Accountability Office bid protest of Exploration Systems & Technology, Inc. NASA determined that a compliance issue requires the termination of the contract for the Constellation Space Suit System with Oceaneering International, Inc. of Houston for the convenience of the government.

NASA anticipates that corrective action will involve reconsideration of its procurement decision. The pending protest litigation is subject to a Government Accountability Office Protective Order.

NASA had awarded the contract on June 12. The spacesuit will protect astronauts during Constellation Program voyages to the International Space Station and, by 2020, the surface of the moon. The Constellation Space Suit System contract is for design, development, test, evaluation and production of equipment to support astronauts aboard the Orion crew exploration vehicle, the Altair lunar lander, and during human exploration of the surface of the moon.

Suits and support systems will be needed for as many as four astronauts on moon voyages and as many as six space station travelers. For short trips to the moon, the suit design will support a week's worth of moon walks. The system also must be designed to support a significant number of moon walks during potential six-month lunar outpost expeditions. In addition, the spacesuit and support systems will provide contingency spacewalk capability and protection against the launch and landing environment, such as spacecraft cabin leaks.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 08-21-2008 01:44 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Oceaneering release
Oceaneering Announces Intention to Resubmit Constellation Space Suit Contract Proposal

Oceaneering International, Inc. (NYSE: OII) announced that it intends to submit a revised proposal to NASA for development and production of the Constellation Space Suit System (CSSS). NASA's initial contract award to Oceaneering was terminated for the convenience of the government. Based on a narrow compliance issue, NASA intends to re-open limited discussions, request new final proposal revisions, and re-award the contract. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has dismissed the protest by a competitor of the initial contract award.

Mark Gittleman, Vice-President and General Manager of Oceaneering Space Systems, stated, "While we are disappointed that NASA terminated our contract, we believe in their process and support their decision. We are pleased the GAO has dismissed the protest. We look forward to submitting a limited final proposal revision as required by NASA and to a timely contract award."

Jim Buchli, Vice President & CSSS Program Manager, emphasized, "We remain confident our offering will continue to be judged as the best value to the government. Our world-class and highly experienced contractor team offered an innovative and comprehensive solution to develop and produce the next spacesuit for NASA. We remain fully committed and prepared to meet all requirements of the Constellation spacesuit program."

Oceaneering is a global provider of engineered services and products primarily to the offshore oil and gas industry, with a focus on deepwater applications. Oceaneering Space Systems, located in Houston, Texas immediately adjacent to NASA JSC, supports NASA in training astronauts for extravehicular activity, and designs, develops, tests, produces, and certifies astronaut equipment, robotic systems, and thermal protection systems for NASA, the Department of Defense, and commercial applications.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 08-21-2008 08:25 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Associated Press: New bid readied for NASA space suit
A new bid will be submitted for NASA's next-generation space suit, less than a week after the space agency terminated a contract with a Houston company.

Exploration Systems & Technology, a joint venture between Hamilton Sundstrand and ILC Dover, two companies that have supplied space suits and components since the 1960s, said today it is waiting for formal direction from NASA on criteria for the rebidding.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 09-09-2008 07:51 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Senator Chris Dodd release
Dodd Calls for Fairness in New NASA Space Suit Competition

Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT) recently sent a letter to National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Administrator Michael Griffin expressing concern about how the recent competition for the new Constellation Space Suit System was executed. The competition resulted in NASA awarding the new contract to Oceaneering International, a firm that specializes in deep sea diving suits, instead of Connecticut-based Hamilton Sundstrand, the company that has manufactured America's space suits for more than 40 years. This decision has since been withdrawn by NASA due to concerns voiced by the NASA Inspector General and a protest filed by Hamilton Sundstrand with the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

Dodd urged Administrator Griffin to respond to the concerns raised by the NASA Inspector General and ensure that the new competition will be carried out in a fair and open manner.

"As NASA begins a new space suit competition, it is important that we get it right this time," said Dodd. "The people who know space-suits best-- the Hamilton Sundstrand workers who have been making them since the early years of the Apollo program - should get the fair shot that they deserve. I will remain vigilant in working to ensure that NASA executes an unbiased competition. At the end of the day, I am convinced that Hamilton Sundstrand can win this competition fair and square and will continue manufacturing the suits that protect America's astronauts for years to come."

The full text of the letter is below:

Dear Administrator Griffin:

I am writing to express concern regarding the recent competition for the new Constellation Space Suit System (CSSS) for astronauts aboard the Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle.

I have been informed that after selecting a new suit manufacturer on June 12, 2008, NASA almost immediately began negotiating a contract. It is my understanding that, according to protocol, NASA should have first fully briefed all contractor teams that competed for the contract selection. Indeed, it is my understanding that a Government Accountability Office (GAO) protest was filed simply because this process was left largely incomplete. However, thirty days after the GAO protest was filed, NASA cancelled the contract, and announced that it would take corrective action regarding CSSS procurement decisions. In light of these discrepancies, I respectfully request that NASA take every step possible to ensure continued fairness in the CSSS acquisition process. In doing so, I hope that your agency would refrain from modifying the Request for Proposal (RFP) in a way that would somehow bias the competition toward one contractor team over the other.

Furthermore, I have recently learned that during an audit of the acquisition planning for the CSSS, NASA's Inspector General found several issues of concern. First, the request for proposal did not include or reference the Earned Value Management clause that is required by NASA acquisition regulations. Second, and more troubling, we note with concern that the Inspector General identified a potential conflict of interest concerning a least one member of the CSSS standing review board.

I know that you share my goal of providing our astronauts with the safest, most durable, and most capable equipment possible to fulfill their critically important missions. It is my belief that this can be accomplished through the procurement of quality, well-priced products. I therefore urge NASA to review its evaluation process and make certain that any corrective actions taken ensure a truly fair competition and fully address the serious concerns raised by the Inspector General.

Thank you for your attention to this important matter. I look forward to working with you on NASA's space programs. Please contact me if you have any questions or concerns.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 12-16-2008 08:29 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Associated Press: Competitors for space suit to work together
Two companies that competed against each other in a contested bid to design the next-generation space suit for NASA will now work together in a joint enterprise.

Dan Coulom, a spokesman for Hamilton Sundstrand, which is a partner of ILC Dover in the project, said Tuesday the venture will bid for the $745 million contract with Oceaneering International Inc.

...Coulom said the Windsor Locks, Conn.-based Hamilton Sundstrand decided to work with Oceaneering following "a lot of debate inside the company."

"We're still very much in the space suit industry," he said.

NASA spokesman Grey Hautaluoma said the space agency expects to award the contract in 2009 and is waiting for details from Hamilton Sundstrand and Oceaneering about how the two companies plan to work together on the project.

Coulom said Hamilton Sundstrand and Oceaneering have not yet worked out the details.

Matt T
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posted 12-17-2008 07:50 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Matt T   Click Here to Email Matt T     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
That's excellent news if it comes off. If only for sentimental reasons I'd like to see the 'old team' continue to provide NASA's spacesuits, though I suspect there will be many tangible benefits to including companies with such unparalleled experience.

kr4mula
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posted 12-17-2008 11:54 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for kr4mula   Click Here to Email kr4mula     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This sounds good - if the two companies can actually work together. Remember, ILC and Hamilton Standard (as Ham Sunstrand was then) were paired together with different corporate cultures and differing levels/fields of expertise and things were nearly disastrous. ILC as the suit expert, yet positioned as sub to H-S created a lot of conflict, ultimately with H-S elbowing ILC out and doing its own suit work. NASA basically fired both, then re-did the contract such that H-S did the PLSS and ILC did the suit, with MSC as the integrator. Now the two work together just fine, after 40 years of practice. What will happen in a new contract if Oceaneering is the prime and the suit experts at ILC/HS are subs? Just as H-S used the early Apollo period to learn on the job and position itself for a larger piece of the pie (especially the production contract) at the expense of ILC, I can't see Oceaneering being content with HS-ILC doing all the development work. A "joint venture" would theoretically create equal partners, but again pairing the technical experts with management experts with different expertise doesn't bode well.

Or perhaps we historians just like to see history repeating itself...

Robert Pearlman
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posted 02-27-2009 04:15 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA release
NASA Awards Contract for Constellation Spacesuit for the Moon

NASA has awarded an interim letter contract to Oceaneering International Inc. of Houston to begin work on the design, development and production of a new spacesuit system for the Constellation Program. The system will protect astronauts during voyages to the International Space Station and exploration of the moon's surface.

The letter contract requires Oceaneering International to begin work on the basic period of performance while NASA and the company negotiate the contract's final terms. The current award amount for the performance of the letter contract is limited to $9.6 million. It will become effective March 2 and be in effect until the full contract is defined, no later than Aug. 29, 2009.

The defined contract will include the same basic period of performance and contract options as those in the contract awarded in June 2008. The project schedule has been updated to align with the latest Constellation Program schedule. Changes also were made to include Federal Acquisition Regulation and NASA Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement updates. The schedule updates result in a basic period of performance of March 2009 to September 2015. The extension of the period of performance is required to support the Constellation Program schedule.

Option 1 covers completion of design, development, test and evaluation for the moon surface suit components. It has been adjusted to begin in October 2011 and run through September 2020. Option 2, for the suit astronauts will wear in the Orion crew module, provides for production, processing and sustaining engineering under a cost-plus-award fee or a firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contract structure. It will begin at the end of the basic performance period in October 2015 and run through September 2020.

The spacesuit and support systems will provide protection against the launch and landing environment and spacecraft cabin leaks. The system offers the ability to conduct contingency spacewalks. For short trips to the moon, the suit design will support a week's worth of moon walks. The system also must be designed to support multiple spacewalks during potential six-month lunar outpost expeditions. Suits and support systems will be needed for as many as four astronauts on moon voyages and as many as six space station travelers.

Robert Pearlman
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From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 02-27-2009 06:58 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Oceaneering release
Oceaneering Signs Contract with NASA to Develop and Produce the Constellation Space Suit System

Oceaneering International, Inc. (NYSE: OII) announced that it has signed a letter contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) for development and production of the Constellation Space Suit System (CSSS), a new space suit for solar system exploration. The CSSS is a key component of the Extravehicular Activity (EVA) System for NASA's Space Exploration program. It will be used to sustain the U.S. presence in low Earth orbit, help establish an outpost on the moon, and lay the foundation for further exploration.

Oceaneering will start work immediately, and the letter contract will be finalized within six months. Oceaneering anticipates that the final contract will include a base period of approximately six years, and have an estimated value of over $180 million. Oceaneering will design and build the Configuration 1 CSSS, which will be used during launch, abort, and re-entry of the new Orion spacecraft, and for contingency extravehicular activity. The contract also includes options to build additional Configuration 1 suits, provide ongoing CSSS-related operational and training support, and design and build the CSSS Configuration 2 suit, which will be used for activities on the lunar surface. These options would extend the contract through 2020.

The Oceaneering-led team includes United Space Alliance, LLC, David Clark Company Incorporated and its subsidiary Air-Lock, Incorporated, Harris Corporation, Cimarron Software Services, Inc., Paragon Space Development Corporation, Hamilton Sundstrand Corporation, and ILC Dover LP.

T. Jay Collins, President and Chief Executive Officer, stated, "We are pleased to be moving forward on this important component of our country's space exploration program and we appreciate NASA's confidence in our team to provide high quality services. Our team is fully prepared to begin work. We look forward to a growing contribution from our Advanced Technologies business in 2009."

The Oceaneering CSSS program office is located at Oceaneering Space Systems' facilities in Houston, Texas immediately adjacent to NASA's Johnson Space Center. Oceaneering Space Systems supports NASA in training astronauts for extravehicular activity, and designs, develops, tests, produces, and certifies astronaut equipment, robotic systems, and thermal protection systems for NASA, the Department of Defense, and commercial applications.

Oceaneering is a global provider of engineered services and products primarily to the offshore oil and gas industry, with a focus on deepwater applications. Through the use of its applied technology expertise, Oceaneering also serves the defense and aerospace industries.

kr4mula
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Posts: 599
From: Cinci, OH
Registered: Mar 2006

posted 03-02-2009 12:02 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for kr4mula   Click Here to Email kr4mula     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Not surprising, but wow did they throw in the whole space suit kitchen sink into their contract: Oceaneering, David Clark, AirLock, ILC, and Hamilton Sunstrand. I guess they want to make sure no one protests, but I sure wouldn't want to manage all those players. Good luck to Oceaneering as the prime on this.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 01-28-2010 01:23 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
MIT's Technology Review has a first look at the new spacesuit...


Credit: Technology Review/Brittany Sauser
David Clark Company, in partnership with Oceaneering International, is designing a new U.S. space suit. It has interchangeable parts, so the arms, legs, boots, and helmet can be switched. The first configuration, shown here, is designed for launch, descent, and emergency activities.
A video of the new spacesuit in motion is also available.

Spacewalker
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posted 02-07-2010 02:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Spacewalker   Click Here to Email Spacewalker     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I saw the video but one thing it's not clear: where are located the connectors? On the limb portion? And if correct, this position in the pressure suit layout don't sound strange in order to work properly during lift off and re-entry?

Spacewalker
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posted 04-14-2011 06:41 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Spacewalker   Click Here to Email Spacewalker     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Excuse me in advance if there are already some post related to the object that now I'm asking for, but I don't have found anything about It. Coming up with the argument, somebody can confirm if the CSSS contract between NASA and Oceaneering is still in act? And if yes, it was changed for some aspects?

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