NASA has issued a request for proposal for key guidance, navigation and control hardware for the new Ares I crew launch vehicle.
The upper stage instrument unit avionics will be used during the Ares I ascent.
Proposals are due no later than 2 p.m. EDT July 30, with a selection expected in November. The contract will be awarded through a full and open competition. The avionics unit will be mounted on the Ares I upper stage. It will provide guidance, navigation and control for the entire launch vehicle as it transports the Orion crew exploration vehicle to low Earth orbit.
The request for proposal calls for the selected contractor to partner with the NASA design team to provide engineering support during the design phase. It also specifies that the contractor will produce avionics for the development and flight program and will provide sustained engineering support for the upper stage avionics system through 2016.
The instrument unit is part of the Ares I upper stage, which includes a separately procured upper stage engine. The first stage will consist of a single reusable solid rocket booster and motor, similar to those used on the space shuttle, with a fifth integrated motor segment. The instrument unit with avionics installed will be mounted on the Ares I at NASA's Michoud Assembly Facility in Louisiana.