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Douglas Isbell June 11, 1997

Headquarters, Washington, DC
(Phone: 202/358-1753)

Lanee Cobb
Stennis Space Center, Stennis, MS
(Phone: 601/688-3341)

RELEASE: 97-131



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

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

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.