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Request for Information - Interest in Hosting the Curation Facility for the Canadian Samples Returned by the OSIRIS-REx Mission

1- Introduction

The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) seeks to identify the potential interest of Canadian institutions in assuming full or partial long-term curation responsibilities of the Canadian portion of samples returned by the Origins Spectral Interpretation Resource Identification Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) mission.

Launched in , OSIRIS-REx aims to return to Earth between 60 g and 2 kg of pristine material from the surface of asteroid 101955 Bennu. On , the spacecraft successfully collected a sample believed to be in excess of the 60 g requirement, and has safely stowed the sample inside the Earth Return Capsule. Departure from Bennu is planned for , with arrival at Earth in .

The Canadian Space Agency contributed the OSIRIS-REx Laser Altimeter (OLA) instrument to the spacecraft. OLA took nearly 3 billion individual measurements, providing a highly accurate three-dimensional model of Bennu's surface that aided mission planners in selecting a sampling site.

In return for the contribution of OLA, Canada will receive 4% by mass of the returned sample and 4% of the returned contact plates by surface area. The sample is expected to be in the form of unconsolidated particles ranging in size from 10 μm to a maximum of 2 cm in diameter. The returned sample and contact plates are referenced as 'the sample' thereafter.

The sample will reside at NASA's Johnson Space Center (JSC) for a minimum of six months following recovery of the return capsule. It is thus expected that the earliest reception of the samples in Canada would be early- to mid-.

2- Preliminary Task Definition

Depending on the responses to this Request for Information (RFI) and other factors, the CSA may consider competitively selecting the long-term curation facility. Under such circumstances, the sample could be kept at your facility at no direct cost, but the institution hosting the curation facility, with its own facilities, resources, and technical and management expertise, could then be expected to undertake the following tasks, with guidance from the OSIRIS-REx mission team, NASA/JSC, and the CSA:

Other roles and responsibilities are to be expected in addition to the ones identified above.

3- How to participate

Interested parties are invited to complete and return:

The documentation must be submitted in electronic form by emailing it to explorationscience@asc-csa.gc.ca. Please ensure that the total file size does not exceed 10 MB in size. If desired, a copy on digital media (e.g., USB key), which will not be returned to the Respondents, may also be submitted to:

OSIRIS-REx Curation RFI
Space Exploration Development
Canadian Space Agency
6767 route de l'Aéroport
Saint-Hubert, Quebec, Canada
J3Y 8Y9

Respondents should send their responses by at 12:00 EDT. Submissions must be properly identified with the Respondent's name and email address, and the RFI title appearing legibly.

Respondents should mark any portions of their responses that they consider proprietary or confidential. Canada will handle the responses in accordance with the Access to Information Act. Should the responses contain information identified by the submitter as "Proprietary" or "Confidential", a secure electronic transmission format can be arranged. Requests for secure electronic transmission should be made to explorationscience@asc-csa.gc.ca.

4- Response Guidelines

Information collected through this RFI will be an important consideration for CSA strategic planning. Responses to the RFI are intended to enable the CSA to determine the programmatic and technical readiness of Respondents to take on the curatorial responsibilities. The information provided is meant to demonstrate to the CSA which roles, responsibilities, and requirements the Respondent is currently capable of satisfying, and estimating the budget and timeline required to meet those that it is currently not capable of satisfying.

In addition, Respondents must detail how they will ensure the security of the sample, establish a warranty should they be compromised, and explain their capacity to manage access to sub-samples to the scientific community, and manage loan agreements of the sub-samples.

Should the CSA decide to proceed with a competitive selection of the curation facility, it is possible that a limited amount of financial resources could be made available to aid the host institution in meeting the listed requirements. However, ongoing, long-term (i.e. post-) CSA funding would not expected to be made available and would be the responsibility of the Respondent. Responses to the RFI should clearly outline the total budget required to initially meet the requirements, along with the amounts that would be requested from the CSA to do so.

5- RFI Limitations

It is emphasized that this is not a bid solicitation nor a preselection process. This RFI will not result in the award of any contract; therefore, potential suppliers of any goods or services described in this RFI should not earmark stock or facilities, nor allocate resources, as a result of any information contained in this RFI. Nor will this RFI result in the creation of any source list; therefore, whether or not any potential supplier responds to this RFI, will not preclude that supplier from participating in any future procurement. Also, the procurement of any of the goods and services described in this RFI will not necessarily follow this RFI. This RFI is for planning and information purposes only and is not to be construed as a commitment by the Government of Canada to enter into an agreement.

It should also be noted that no agreement to do business with any Respondent will result from this specific enquiry.

Canada will not reimburse any Respondent for expense incurred in responding to this RFI.

Potential Respondents are advised that any information submitted to the government in response to this RFI may be used by the government in the development of a subsequent Request for Proposal (RFP). The issuance of this RFI is not to be considered in any way as a commitment by Canada, or as authority for the Respondent to undertake any work which could be charged to Canada, nor is this RFI to be considered a commitment to issue eventual RFPs, enter into a private-public partnership or award eventual contracts in relation to this project.

Canada shall not be bound by anything stated in this RFI. All the information provided in this RFI and Appendices A, B and C are subject to changes, as preparation for the returning sample is ongoing.

6- Enquiries

Because this is not a bid solicitation, Canada will not necessarily respond to enquiries in writing or by circulating answers to all potential Respondents. However, Respondents with questions regarding this RFI may direct their enquiries to: explorationscience@asc-csa.gc.ca.

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