On January 6, 2017, NOAA’s Satellite and Information Service (NESDIS) published its Commercial Space Activities Assessment Process. The document establishes a process by which NESDIS will assess and pursue commercial opportunities to support NOAA’s space-based observational information requirements.
The NESDIS Process lays out the phases of the process that NESDIS will follow leading to any potential commercial data acquisition:
- First, NESDIS will release one or more Requests for Information (RFIs) to gather a sense of commercial capabilities and convey its interest in a new dataset.
- Based on assessment of the RFI responses, NESDIS will then release one or more solicitations to acquire and evaluate commercial data, which will include the required data specifications. The specifications will be unique to each individual dataset. The solicitations will focus on individual systems and allow for an in-depth, detailed description of requirements.
- Based on solicitation responses, NOAA may purchase data from one or more vendors for analysis and evaluation through a demonstration project.
- Following the demonstration project and the pending results, NESDIS may issue one or more solicitations to purchase on-orbit observations from commercial sources for operational use by NOAA.
The NESDIS Process supplements the principles established in the NOAA Commercial Space Policy. NOAA developed both documents as timeless guidance to provide a foundation for a long-term endeavor. The NOAA Commercial Space Policy and the NESDIS Process firmly establish the principles that will guide NOAA’s engagement with the commercial sector and the practices for how NOAA will assess, pursue, and determine the viability of using commercial data.
NOAA is actively implementing the activities identified in the two documents. NOAA will use multiple platforms to share additional information in this regard, including RFIs, solicitations, the Office of Space Commerce website, and ongoing engagement events to promote dialogue and transparency.
The NESDIS Process document incorporates public comments received on the draft version released in 2016.