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WASHINGTON — An ability to get on contract quickly and a price far lower that other companies were key factors in NASA’s decision to award a contract to Maxar Technologies for the first element of the lunar Gateway, the Power and Propulsion Element (PPE).
A source selection statement released by NASA May 23 outlined the agency’s assessment of proposals for the PPE submitted by Maxar and four other companies: Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems and Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC). The document provides details on the technical and management aspects of the companies’ proposals as well as their price.
Document - Maxar - Document - Space - Systems
The document shows that Maxar, identified in the document as Space Systems Loral (SSL), the former name of its satellite manufacturing division, offered a price well below the other companies. While Maxar offered a firm fixed price of $375 million, other bids ranged from $565.9 million by Northrop to $768.8 million from SNC.
The companies were more closely matched on technical approach, which had an equal rating to price in the evaluation. All the companies received a “Very Good” rating in technical approach with the exception of SNC, which received a “Fair” rating.
Factors - Management - Approach - Approach - Price
Two other factors, management approach and commercial and partnering approach, had lesser weighting that, combined, were equal to either price or technical approach. Both Lockheed and Maxar received Very Good scores in both those categories, while Boeing received Good scores in both. Northrop received a Good score in management and Excellent in partnering, while SNC received a Fair score in management and Excellent in partnering.
Another factor that worked in Maxar’s favor was the ability to start work quickly. The broad agency announcement that NASA used to solicit proposals required companies to submit a signed “model contract” for the work. Companies could take exception to any required clauses but were warned that...
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