Space Based Laser

Original CBD Notice/Request for Information (RFI) -dated 29 July 1997

Space Based Laser (SBL) Technologies Request for Information Notice. USAF Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) has assumed the role of executing agent for the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization (BMDO) concerning Space Based Laser Technologies. In its efforts to establish a baseline reference point, SMC is inviting informational comments relative to the SBL Readiness Demonstrator (SBLRD) project. A series of questions have been placed on the AF SBL World Wide Web Homepage ( The purpose of the questions is to assess industry’s capability to perform this effort and alternatives available for its execution. The intent is to discuss this information on an Industry Day planned for 26 Aug 97, so please indicate any portion not releasable. Objectives of the SBL project are to perform technology risk reduction efforts and may include pursuit of the SBLRD, a treaty compliant, integrated demonstration of proven technologies in space against a cooperative target. Major SBLRD technologies demonstrated to date include the Alpha hydrogen-fluoride laser, the Large Advanced Mirror Program (LAMP), and the Large Optics Demonstration Experiment (LODE) for an outgoing wavefront sensor. The SBLRD encompasses the entire spectrum of effort from design, development, ground test (including facilities design and construction), and launch, through on-orbit test. The SBLRD system will also provide the capability to assess the utility of the SBL concept in performing other missions. Additionally, the inherent capability of the SBLRD system will be evaluated for its capability to support scientific missions. Submit this information, not to exceed 20 pages of text and graphics, to SMC/ADEL, Attn: Capt Mark Baird, 2420 Vela Way, Suite 1467-80, Los Angeles AFB, El Segundo, CA 90245-4659 no later than 13 August 1997. Additionally, please provide this information in Adobe Acrobatİ(.pdf) file format to SMC plans future communication with industry about this effort via the CBD and the AF SBL Homepage. This notice is not a formal solicitation. The Government will not award a contract on the basis of this request for information or responses received, nor will otherwise pay for the information requested herein.

RFI questions dated 29 July 1997

Please provide responses to any or all of the following questions:

1) The SBLRD project encompasses a broad range of technologies and scope of effort. The Government envisions a single integrator using Integrated Process and Product Development (IPPD) for the entire effort with the integrator having total system performance responsibility (TSPR). a) What source selection strategy in terms of competition, teaming, directed subcontracting, or other approaches do you believe would provide the government the highest assurance of program success? b) How would you propose to organize and manage such an effort? c) Are there any other innovative approaches the Air Force should consider? d) What, if any, government furnished equipment is desirable?

2) The SBL project has been budgeted at the ~$30M level for the last several years. Additionally, it has received substantial add-funding from Congress. a) How would you propose to execute the SBLRD project given its uncertain funding? b) Which contract strategies should the Air Force consider in executing this effort? c) Are there any innovative approaches the Air Force should consider?

3) Successful development of the SBLRD will require expertise and capabilities spanning a wide range. Please provide information on your relevant experience and abilities in any of the following areas: a) integrated space qualifiable high energy laser (HEL) systems (laser, beam control, and beam director) design, build, integration, and test, b) space qualifiable HEL design, integration, and test, c) space qualifiable HEL beam control design, build, and test, d) large, lightweight space qualifiable mirror design, build, and test, e) space qualifiable long range missile acquisition, tracking, and pointing/fire control (ATP/FC) and alignment reference systems design, build, integration and test, f) large space vehicle design, build, integration and test, g) heavy space lift integration and launch experience, h) mission planning and satellite operations experience, i) space test facilities design, build, and operation, j) other areas believed to be key to the SBLRD execution such as complex, high power optics fabrication and advance coatings.

4) The Air Force desires incremental risk reduction throughout the effort, possibly leading to a low to medium risk on-orbit demonstration. a) What are the key risk areas? b) What strategy and specific approaches would be most effective in managing these risk areas? c) Identify other efforts that can be leveraged to reduce risks in key technology areas. Explain how.

5) The Government intends to use the Alpha hydrogen fluoride (HF) laser. Should we be considering other space qualifiable (~2005), megawatt class, High Energy Laser (HEL) types or designs?

6) The BMDO is currently pursuing the design of a new ground test facility for the SBLRD space vehicle. What is the best option for design, development and procurement of facilities?

7) What are reasonable target total costs and annual funding profiles for performing this demonstration, assuming alternative launch dates of 2003, 2005, and 2007? Please identify key assumptions.

8) How soon could such a low to medium risk demonstration be performed, assuming a nominal funding profile? Please identify key assumptions.

9) Are there any other areas that should be addressed? If so, expand.

Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC)
2420 Vela Way , Ste 1467-80
Los Angeles AFB
El Segundo CA 90245-4659