Request for Information (RFI) for 5G for Space Data Transport (SDT)

Agency: DEPT OF DEFENSE
State: California
Type of Government: Federal
Category:
  • 11 - Nuclear Ordnance
Posted: Feb 19, 2021
Due: Mar 18, 2021
Solicitation No: FA8806
Publication URL: To access bid details, please log in.
Request for Information (RFI) for 5G for Space Data Transport (SDT)
Active
Contract Opportunity
Notice ID
FA8806
Related Notice
Department/Ind. Agency
DEPT OF DEFENSE
Sub-tier
DEPT OF THE AIR FORCE
Major Command
AFSPC
Sub Command
SPACE AND MISSILE COMMAND
Sub Command 2
SPACE SYSTEMS2
Office
FA8806 RANGE AND NETWORK SYS PKK XG
General Information
  • Contract Opportunity Type: Sources Sought (Original)
  • All Dates/Times are: (UTC-05:00) EASTERN STANDARD TIME, NEW YORK, USA
  • Original Published Date: Feb 18, 2021 06:23 pm EST
  • Original Response Date: Mar 18, 2021 05:00 pm EDT
  • Inactive Policy: 15 days after response date
  • Original Inactive Date: Apr 02, 2021
  • Initiative:
    • None
Classification
  • Original Set Aside:
  • Product Service Code: AR11 - Space R&D Services; Space flight, research and supporting activities; Basic Research
  • NAICS Code: 541715 - Research and Development in the Physical, Engineering, and Life Sciences (except Nanotechnology and Biotechnology)
  • Place of Performance:
    El Segundo , CA 90245
    USA
Description

The Cross Mission Ground and Communications Enterprise Directorate (SMC/ECX) is the office responsible for enterprise data transport.

Problem Statement

The goal of this RFI is to provide ECX with information from US and coalition industry, academics, and federal research institutions regarding their capability to provide Fifth Generation (5G) networking, radio frequency access, mobility support, and related big data adapted to the needs of US space systems.

SMC/ECX is conducting market research to determine how to leverage rapidly emerging 5G technologies to support space data transport (SDT) terrestrially, in space, and in the space-ground links. Any aspect of 5G applied to any aspect of space systems is of potential interest. However, in response to this RFI we are particularly interested in your capabilities to address any or all of the following areas.

Scope

The development is focused on these potential areas

1. MIMO: 5G Multiple-Input and Multiple Output (MIMO) or massive MIMO to enhance communication links between earth and US spacecraft and/or between spacecraft.

2. Millimeter Wave (MMW): How could compact, low-cost, high gain array antennas and data links in the 5G millimeter wave (MMW) bands between 24 and 71 GHz be deployed to provide data networking in space?

3. Radio Access Network (RAN) Slicing: There are multiple 5G technologies for RAN slicing. How could 5G RAN Slicing technology be adapted to connect a Space Operations Center (SOC) through terrestrial networks into a space network and then to a given spacecraft?

4. Network Slice Orchestration (NSO): How could the Government employ 5G cloud-based and hybrid (cloud and on-premises) NSO to manage dozens, hundreds or potentially even thousands of RAN slices of the type envisioned in area 3 above?

5. AI/ML/DL: 5G includes many applications of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML). Which 5G AI/ML tools and techniques would provide message stream recognition and content analysis to prioritize stream data rate by content type, potentially storing data in a Multi-tenant Edge Computing (MEC) node and sending it later? How can we enhance the TRL level for deep learning (DL) for accurate, automatic content recognition, categorization and prioritization?

6. Trustworthy Autonomous Networks: To what degree should the USSF look ahead to 6G Intelligent Radio (IR) with Cognitive Radio, autonomic networking, and orchestration OODA Loops?

7. Cyber Security: As networks become more highly integrated, federated, and orchestrated, the complexity of control increases. What 5G cybersecurity technologies are applicable to protecting such control systems from unauthorized access and manipulation?

8. IoST: What are your capabilities and interests in the 5G Internet of Space Things (IoST)?

9. MEC: As indicated above, Multi-tenant Edge Computing (MEC) is transforming the 4G from smart bit-pipes into distributed computing infrastructure, e.g. for self-driving automobiles. What are the best opportunities for MEC in space? What are the opportunities for MEC in ground support networks?

10. 5G Space to Ground Networks: 5G has defined specifications for 5G in space. What are your capabilities to provide 5G services from space?

11. Network topology: How and where 5G technology could be used in the network topology when building out a terrestrial network (e.g. meshONE-T) comprised of diverse mediums (e.g. optical fiber, copper, etc.)? An example of this could be utilizing cost efficient 5G for the “last mile” or traverse restricted areas in place of laying new fiber.

Need Summary

In response to this RFI, respondents shall submit an electronic copy of their response to the Government’s questions found in the attachment. If you are unable to answer a specific item, please indicate the reason that you are not able to answer.

In addition, respondents are welcome to suggest any additional NAICS in their submissions.

Response Classification & Submission Instructions

The Government requests respondents deliver one (1) electronic soft copy no later than 30 days from the posting date. Responses shall be searchable Microsoft 2013 or newer, or PDF format and sent electronically via email to the Primary Point of Contact by the Response Due Date. Hard copy responses will not be accepted. The response is limited to 10 pages. Page size shall be 8.5” x 11”. Font size shall be 11 point Calibri, and pages shall have 1 inch margins. The Government will not accept company literature or marketing materials. Respondents should provide a non-proprietary response to this RFI if possible. If proprietary material is deemed essential, all proprietary information should be clearly marked and associated with restrictions on Government use identified. Classified submittals will not be accepted. Information should be provided as email attachments as appropriate.

Responses from small businesses and small, disadvantaged business firms are highly encouraged. The applicable small business size standard is 1,250 employees for 541715. Firms responding should indicate if they are a small business, a socially and/or economically disadvantaged business, 8(a) firm, historically black college, and/or minority institution.

In order to review RFI response, PROPRIETARY information may be given to Federally Funded Research and Development Center (FFRDC) and/or Advisory and Assistance Services (A&AS) contractors working for the Government. Non-government support contractors listed below may be involved in the review of any responses submitted. These may include, but are not limited to:

The Aerospace Corporation (FFRDC)

MITRE (FFRDC)

Exigo A&AS

Centauri A&AS

Tecolote Research A&AS

ENSCO Inc. A&AS

LinQuest

Each of these contractors is contractually prohibited from disclosing such information outside the performance of their Government contract. If respondents take exception to this, respondent must explicitly state so in their response.

DISCLAIMER: This synopsis is not a solicitation, but rather only a Request for Information (RFI). The Government does not intend to award a contract on the basis of this synopsis. The Government does not intend to pay for information received in response to this RFI. Responders are solely responsible for all expenses associated with responding to this RFI. This RFI is issued solely for market research purposes.

14. Place of Contract Performance: Evaluation of any submitted information will occur at Space and Missile Systems Center, Los Angeles Air Force Base

El Segundo, California 90245

15. Set Aside: N/A

16. Archiving Policy: Automatic, 15 days after response date

17. Allow Vendors to Add/Remove From Interested Vendors? No

18. Allow Vendors to View Interested Vendors List? No

19. Attachments: Yes, 5G for SDT RFI Attachment, incorporated below

20. Is this package (attachment) sensitive/secure? (If “yes”, see FBO Guide for guidance): No

Request for Information: 5G for Space Data Transport Questions

The US Space Force (USSF) is interested leveraging rapidly emerging 5G technologies to support space data transport (SDT) terrestrially, in space, and in the space-ground links. Any aspect of 5G applied to any aspect of space systems is of potential interest. However, in response to this RFI we are particularly interested in your capabilities to address any or all of the following areas.

1. MIMO: Can 5G Multiple-Input and Multiple Output (MIMO) or massive MIMO enhance communication links between earth and US spacecraft? Does this rely on Line-of-Sight MIMO techniques? Can we quantify this enhancement in terms of link reliability and/or data rates? How could 5G massive MIMO Radio Access Networks (RAN) in the low bands (

2. MMW: How could compact, low-cost, high gain array antennas and data links in the 5G millimeter wave (MMW) bands between 24 and 71 GHz be deployed to provide data networking in space? How could such antennas be employed in spacecraft for data transport? How do 5G mmw antennas compare to optical links for inter-satellite linkage (cross-connect)? What mmw RF network architecture(s) would optimize data transport speed? Resilience? Connectivity? Multi-function Software Defined Radio (SDR) e.g. programmable radar and comms modes?

3. RAN: There are multiple 5G technologies for Radio Access Network (RAN) slicing. How could this 5G RAN Slicing technology be adapted to connect a Space Operations Center (SOC) through terrestrial networks into a space network and then to a given spacecraft? How does 5G RAN slicing compare to conventional networking alternatives such as Software Defined Networking (SDN), Network Function Virtualization (NFV) and/or Virtual Private Network (VPN)? Could one slice RANs across low and high bands for example with a low band uplink and a high band downlink via space networking in another part of the world at the same time as the low band uplink?

4. Network Slice Orchestration (NSO): How could the Government employ 5G cloud-based and hybrid (cloud and on-premises) NSO to manage dozens, hundreds or potentially even thousands of RAN slices of the type envisioned in area 3 above? What is the Technology Readiness Level (TRL) of slice orchestration commercially and for USSF applications? What are the EW and cyber security issues with NSO? Could there be a network architecture that has employed Functional Mission Analysis for Cyber (FMA-C) to eliminate inappropriate control actions of an orchestration layer to minimize cyber vulnerabilities of NSO?

5. AI/ML/DL: 5G includes many applications of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML). Which 5G AI/ML tools and techniques would provide message stream recognition and content analysis to prioritize stream data rate by content type, potentially storing data in a Multi-tenant Edge Computing (MEC) node and sending it later? How would such AI/ML techniques assist network slice orchestration? How could future space networks become self-monitoring autonomic networks with automatic end-to-end adaptation? How can we enhance the TRL level for deep learning (DL) for accurate, automatic content recognition, categorization and prioritization? How could AI/ML/DL be used to automatically suppress content (data packets and flows) that are not needed, e.g. because they have been Overcome By Events (OBE)?

6. Trustworthy Autonomous Networks: To what degree should the USSF look ahead to 6G Intelligent Radio (IR) with Cognitive Radio, autonomic networking, and orchestration OODA Loops? What are the risks of deploying such increasingly autonomous systems? What tools, techniques, and technologies can be used to assure trust (meaning that they have not been manipulated by a hostile actor) in future autonomous networks?

7. Cyber Security: As networks become more highly integrated, federated, and orchestrated, the complexity of control increases. What 5G and emerging 6G cybersecurity technologies are applicable to protecting such control systems from unauthorized access and manipulation? What are the TRL timelines for improved, globally standardized 5G cyber security measures?

8. IoST: What are your capabilities and interests in the 5G Internet of Space Things (IoST)? What IoST use cases do you believe will be broadly adopted? Which of these defined IoST cases are you participating in yourself? Which aspects of IoST can you show to have high TRL? What types of experiments are you prepared to conduct on existing, planned, or emerging spacecraft that would enhance IoST TRL? What would be the military and commercial benefits to advancing IoST TRL?

9. MEC: As indicated above, Multi-tenant Edge Computing (MEC) is transforming the 4G from smart bit-pipes into distributed computing infrastructure, e.g. for self-driving automobiles. What are the best opportunities for MEC in space? What are the opportunities for MEC in ground support networks?

10. 5G Space to Ground Networks: 5G has defined specifications for 5G in space. What are your capabilities to provide 5G services from space? What are the infrastructure needs and costs on the ground both for supporting constellations and for realizing services in remote areas? To what degree can commercial 5G towers (e.g. Crown Castle) be expected to connect to a spacecraft whose signals conform to the specifications, thus opening a WiFi type of 5G for space? Alternatively, how will space-based 5G per se be deployed to user communities?

These ten areas include a wide range of interests. Depending on your answers, our focus for funding future acquisition programs related to space data transport may be adjusted. At present, our focus is on adapting 5G RAN to space-ground communications in contested environments and on adapting 5G network slicing and orchestration to realize a federation of existing and emerging space data transport networks that include the legacy space control networks, ground data transport infrastructure, commercial augmentation services (CAS) networks, partner networks, and potentially commercial 5G networks. This focus may be adjusted based on how your innovative applications of 5G technologies might empower the US Space Force for more cost-effective SDT support to the entire range of current and future space missions, particularly in congested and contested environments.

Attachments/Links
Contact Information
Contracting Office Address
  • CP 310 653 1748 483 N AVIATION BLVD
  • EL SEGUNDO , CA 90245-2808
  • USA
Primary Point of Contact
Secondary Point of Contact
History
  • Feb 18, 2021 06:23 pm ESTSources Sought (Original)
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