Constellation System, or from human spaceflight enabled by Constellation missions in lunar orbit, other orbits, or missions to planetary objects. In addition, constellations of spacecraft or spacecraft that fly in formation with existing, planned, or future spacecraft may also be considered.

The committee will use two criteria for evaluating the concepts:

  1. Does the concept offer a significant advance in a scientific field (“significant” is defined as providing an order of magnitude or more improvement over existing or planned missions)?

  2. Does the concept have a unique requirement for Constellation System capabilities, e.g.,

    - Does use of the Constellation System’s elements make a previously impossible mission technically feasible?

    - Does use of the Constellation System’s elements reduce mission risk or enhance mission success for a previously complicated mission?

    - Does use of the Constellation System capabilities offer a significant cost reduction (i.e., 50% or more) in the cost of accomplishing the mission?

All responses will be considered non-proprietary public information for distribution with attribution. Those submitting responses must also fill out the relevant (i.e., government or non-government) NRC copyright form provided on the committee’s website.

The concept papers should be no longer than ten pages in length and provide the following items (by numbered sections), if possible:1

  1. A summary of the mission concept, including how it is uniquely enabled by the Constellation System.

  2. A summary of the science goals, including a description of how the proposed mission will help advance science.

  3. In addition to the two criteria listed above, other factors pertaining to the mission concepts may be used to evaluate and prioritize the candidate proposals:

  1. Whether the mission has been identified as a high priority or requirement in previous studies, for example NRC reports;

  2. How the mission contributes to important scientific questions facing space sciences today (scientific merit, discovery, exploration);

  3. How the mission complements other space science systems;

  4. NASA has asked the committee to analyze “the general cost category into which mission concept is likely to fall.” We recognize the lack of accuracy of cost estimates for space missions in the early conceptual stages of development. You may consider using the NASA Advanced Missions Cost Model located at to determine approximate costs.

  5. Technology development required by the proposed mission;

  6. Risk mitigation provided by use of the Constellation System.

Please submit the concept papers to the NRC by May 5, 2008. Papers should be submitted to

Questions about the RFI may be directed to the study director, Dwayne A. Day (, or to us: (; ( You can also contact Dr. Day by telephone at 202-334-3477, or by fax at 202-334-3701.


 10-page limit is a rough guideline, not an absolute limit, and refers to single-space text excluding references and front matter.

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