NASA has asked industry for proposals to design, build and test multiple Mars ascent vehicles and related electrical and mechanical ground support equipment.
The space agency will launch a full and open competition for the Mars Ascent Vehicle Integrated System program with plans to award a potential six-year, cost-plus-fixed-fee contract on Feb. 2, 2022, according to a request for proposals posted Aug. 16.
The MAV is part of the Mars Sample Return campaign meant to gather and send sample tubes of Martian rocks, atmosphere and regolith to Earth for detailed physical and chemical analysis.
The vehicle will be a payload aboard the Mars lander vehicle and its mission objectives include receiving sample tubes on the red planet’s surface, launch them to a predefined orbit and releasing the samples into orbit.
Work on the contract will be carried out NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, and at the vendor’s facilities.
Responses to the solicitation are due Sept. 16.