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October 3rd, 2019

RFI Published by DARPA for Contractor Support of Launch Services

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has issued a Request For Information (RFI) that seeks information for contractor support in the area of launch services, with the following characteristics:

1. Launch is anticipated to take place in calendar year 2022.

2. Desired orbit is circular, at 450 km +250/-150 km altitude, with an inclination of 125 degrees +/- 20 degrees or an inclination of 45 degrees +15 / -0 degrees.

3. Upper stage will mechanically and electronically interface with a Government furnished payload. The launch vehicle interface specifications are in development and are anticipated to be finalized in first quarter calendar year 2020. The upper stage will be required to have its own electrical power system, guidance and control system, ground support communications, and attitude determination and control system. Preliminary requirements for the upper stage are as follows:

a. The upper stage will mechanically interface with the payload using an interface similar to a lower ring for a 24 inch diameter Mark II Motorized Lightband (36 equally spaced UNF 1/4 -28 bolts on a 24 inch bolt center diameter)
b. Electrical interfaces with the payload will be jointly designed with an associate payload contractor after contract award. It is envisioned that data interfaces will initiate power up of the payload, communication of power up built in test (BIT) results and initiation of payload deployment.
c. The upper stage will have sensors capable of providing position knowledge within 100 m.
d. The upper stage will have sensors and attitude control propulsion capable of providing attitude control to within +/- 0.1 degrees in all axes.

4. Payload

a. Nominal payload mass is 325 kg, +150 / -125 kg.
b. Maximum payload volume is 1 m x 1 m x 2 m.
c. Payload may be classified and may include sight sensitive components.
d. The payload separation system will be provided by the Government.

Submission instructions are contained within a PDF that may be viewed at this direct link...