NASA JPL surveys industry for companies able to assemble avionics computer for a variety of spacecraft

June 25, 2019
Avionics Reference Bus Compute Element (RBCE) Assemblies project involves power converter, relay controllers, radiation-hardened single-board computer.

PASADENA, Calif. – U.S. government space researchers are surveying industry to find companies interested in building a computer system for a variety of spacecraft.

Officials of the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, Calif., issued a source-sought notice last week (MP-03-19) for the JPL Avionics Reference Bus Compute Element (RBCE) Assemblies project.

The RBCE assembly is composed of nine circuit cards: a power converter (CEPCU1); two critical relay controllers (CRCC-1, CRCC-2), one 3U RAD750 V3 spacecraft radiation-hardened single-board computer (SFC_V3); two serial interface assemblies (SIAs); one telecom interface (TIF); one nonvolatile memory (NVM), and one compute element backplane (CEBP).

This announcement is to determine the interest in competing for the fabrication and assembly of Avionics RBCE, and to seek a potential future partner in developing the JPL Reference Bus Hardware product line.

Related: Inside Lockheed Martin's prototype astronaut habitat: computers and even a greenhouse in deep space

JPL officials want a company to provide management support during the process by providing formal fabrication and assembly documents and travelers; performing board level test including safe-to-mate, initial-power-turn-on, and go/no-go test; procuring handling and alignment fixtures and tooling for assembly; procuring shipping containers for each completed circuit card and chassis for transportation back to JPL.

The chosen company will assemble a space computer made from one telecom interface board; two system interface and assembly boards; one non-volatile memory board; one power converter unit card; two critical relay controller cards; one compute element back plane board; mechanical card frames for the above eight circuit cards; and a box chassis.

JPL will provide printed wiring board drawings, parts list, Gerber files, and other documentation to build the circuit cards; printed wiring boards for the circuit cards; electrical, electronic, and electromechanical parts and connectors for the circuit card assembly; assembly drawings and material lists; assembly drawing and material list; applicable quality clauses; workmanship requirements; list of mandatory inspection points; nominal ground support equipment, including test software and test procedures; and test engineering support.

The company selected should meet North American Industry Classification System size standard code 334418; have at least 50 full-time employees; have a timekeeping and billing system with electronic invoicing; and have a background in supporting NASA programs.

Related: Boeing chooses remote I/O mission interface controller from Aitech for MQ-25 unmanned refueler avionics

Companies interested should email an expression of interest and any applicable information no later than 15 July 2019 to JPL's Mary Helen Ruiz at [email protected].

For questions or concerns contact JPL's Mary Helen Ruiz by email at [email protected], or by phone at 818-354-7532.

More information is online at

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of Military Aerospace, create an account today!