Spacesuit makers will try again for contract

Image: Spacesuits
NASA is looking for a spacesuit system that has two configurations: One, at left, would be worn during launch, landing, spacecraft emergencies and zero-gravity spacewalks. The other, at right, would be used during moonwalks.
/ Source: The Associated Press

A business venture that lost out on its bid for NASA’s next-generation spacesuit says it will submit a new proposal.

Exploration Systems & Technology, a joint venture between Hamilton Sundstrand and ILC Dover, two companies that have supplied space suits and components since the 1960s, said on Thursday that it is waiting for formal direction from NASA on criteria for the rebidding.

Hamilton Sundstrand is a subsidiary of Hartford-based United Technologies Corp.

NASA spokesman Grey Hautaluoma said the space agency will not comment on procurements.

The agency last week terminated its contract with Houston-based Oceaneering International Inc., which was selected in June. NASA told the U.S. Government Accountability Office that the space agency had to re-examine the cost proposals of the two bidders and asked that protests by Exploration Systems & Technology be dismissed.

In July, Exploration Systems & Technology protested the awarding of the contract to Oceaneering International.

This week, Oceaneering International said it will submit a revised bid for the spacesuit contract. In a statement, the company said the original contract was "terminated for the convenience of the government." The do-over was "based on a narrow compliance issue," Oceaneering said.

The three-phase $745 million contract called for 109 suits, 24 of which will be suits designed for lunar exploration. The spacesuit is being developed to protect astronauts during voyages to the international space station and surface of the moon, where the space agency hopes to return by 2020.

This report was supplemented by