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

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

Jun 25th, 2019
Space Probe 25 June 2019

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

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

More information is online at

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