NASA seeks industry support in GLIMR concept study

July 3, 2024
The Geostationary Littoral Imaging and Monitoring Radiometer (GLIMR) Access to Space (ATS) concept study will enable the GLIMR Instrument to fulfill mission science requirements, assess the critical thermal, mechanical, and electrical interfaces, and address the development and verification approach of the mission.

WASHINGTON - The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has announced that the agency is seeking assistance from industry as it begins a study into its Geostationary Littoral Imaging and Monitoring Radiometer (GLIMR) Access to Space (ATS) approach. 

The GLIMR mission aims to provide transformative rapid observations of dynamic coastal zone ecosystems throughout the Gulf of Mexico (GoM) and coastal continental U.S. (CONUS). Its goal is to observe and monitor ocean biology, chemistry, and ecology to help protect ecosystem sustainability, improve resource management, and enhance economic activity. This includes identifying and tracking harmful algal blooms and oil spills, while also observing, quantifying, and understanding processes associated with rapid changes in phytoplankton growth.

The GLIMR ATS scope is expected to include several key components and activities: the spacecraft itself, the launch vehicle, the integration and testing of the GLIMR payload with the spacecraft, and the integration of the spacecraft with the launch vehicle and subsequent launch. It will also cover the command uplink from the industry-provided Mission Operations Center (MOC), the downlink of GLIMR engineering and science telemetry to industry-allocated ground stations, and the delivery of error-checked GLIMR data to various mission partners. Additionally, it encompasses all related tasks and support required during the planned GLIMR Mission, such as pre-launch planning, launch support, in-orbit check-out, and operations.

Related: NASA selects Raytheon's sensor to monitor coastal ecosystems

The environmental considerations depend on whether the approach includes a launch vehicle in a total Contractor-provided solution or utilizes a government-provided launch vehicle. If the study recommends a government-provided launch vehicle, specific environmental requirements will be provided during the study to encompass all available launch vehicles.

Deployments for the initial payload configuration are acceptable and should be noted by the contractor. This might include protective aperture covers or release mechanisms for systems locked during launch. The spacecraft must retain any deployed hardware, and no hardware should be released into orbit under normal operations.

First, conduct a concept study exploring various methods to achieve the defined pointing and on-orbit disturbance requirements. This includes evaluating pointing accuracy, knowledge, stability, and jitter. Constraints such as the relative placement of inertial measurement sensors necessary to meet these requirements must be defined. Additionally, the study should outline calibration methods, their feasibility, and any required spacecraft functionality. On-orbit jitter analyses should be performed to demonstrate spacecraft disturbances at the sensor assembly interface plane during nominal science collection operations and the worst-case spacecraft operation modes, such as orbit raising or reaction wheel dumping.

Related: NASA's next-gen technologies tested in microgravity

Next, conduct a concept study considering different methods to achieve the defined launch environment requirements. This involves performing spacecraft-to-payload integrated launch environment structural and dynamic analyses at all proposed spacecraft-to-payload interfaces to ensure positive margins against the structural launch environment requirements. The launch vehicle environment interface specifications can either be supplied by the contractor as part of a full ATS approach or by the government if the government is providing the launch vehicle. Constraints needed to meet launch environment requirements and maintain positive structural margins, such as soft ride systems, component isolators, and additional support structures, should be defined. The study should also outline the proposed methods for verifying the launch environment requirements, whether through analysis or testing.

Finally, develop ATS approaches to demonstrate that the proposed approach balances technical risk and cost while meeting the design requirements. This should include details on stowed and deployed configurations (where applicable), mass properties, power, thermal, and data rate. Key and driving requirements should be identified, along with their impact on design, performance, cost, schedule, and risks. The study should include analyses showing where performance and accommodation requirements can or cannot be met and propose different methods to achieve spectrum licensing and orbital slot authorization. Constraints such as the launch vehicle, required deployments, and any changes to requirements should be defined. Cost factors, such as a rough order of magnitude for the ATS approach(es), should be included, along with development plans and timelines, considering unique supply chain and long-lead procurement considerations.

NASA's primary contact for this project is Kacey Hickman, who can be emailed at [email protected]. The deadline for offers is 15 July at 4 p.m. EDT. More information, including technical documentation, is available at

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