1. NASA New Frontiers Program AO Released

    Image credit:

    NASA’s Science Mission Directorate (SMD) is releasing the Announcement of Opportunity (AO) for New Frontiers Program mission investigations. The New Frontiers Program conducts Principal Investigator (PI)-led space science investigations in SMD’s planetary programs under a not-to-exceed cost cap for the PI-Managed Mission Cost. At the conclusion of Phase A concept studies, it is planned that one New Frontiers investigation will be selected to continue into subsequent mission phases. New Frontiers Program investigations must address NASA’s planetary science objectives as described in 2014 NASA Strategic Plan and the 2014 NASA Science Plan. Both documents are now available at http://science1.nasa.gov/about-us/science-strategy/.

    Investigations are limited to six mission themes (listed without priority):
    • Comet Surface Sample Return,
    • Lunar South Pole-Aitken Basin Sample Return,
    • Ocean Worlds (Titan and/or Enceladus),
    • Saturn Probe,
    • Trojan Tour and Rendezvous, and
    • Venus In Situ Explorer.

    Investigations may propose the use of up to three Multi-Mission Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generators MMRTG) and/or Radioisotope Heater Units (RHUs). The costs for the use of these systems and materials are included in the AO and must be included in the PI-Managed Mission Cost.

    On or about December 9, 2016, NASA will release the final New Frontiers AO on NSPIRES (go to http://nspires.nasaprs.com and search open solicitations for NNH16ZDA011O). Proposers should read the New Frontiers AO carefully when it is released.

    The time frame for the solicitation is intended to be:

    Release of final AO…………………………………December 9, 2016
    Preproposal Conference (target)………………….January 17, 2016
    Electronic Proposal Submittal Deadline
    at 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time………………………..April 28, 2017
    Step-1 Selections Announced (target)……………November 2017 (target)
    Phase A Concept Study Reports due…………….December 2018
    Downselection of Investigation for
    Flight (target)………………………………………..July 2019 (target)
    Launch Readiness Date……………………………NLT December 31, 2025

    Further information will be posted on the New Frontiers Program Acquisition Page at http://newfrontiers.larc.nasa.gov/ as it becomes available. Questions may be addressed to Dr. Curt Niebur, New Frontiers Program Lead Scientist, Planetary Science Division, Science Mission Directorate, NASA, Washington, DC 20546; Tel.: (202) 358-0390; Email: curt.niebur@nasa.gov.

    Source: [NASA’s Science Mission Directorate]