NOPP BAA Frequently Asked Questions



Frequently Asked Questions are answered by the NOPP technical committee contacts specific to each BAA. Any questions submitted to the technical committee will be answered in writing and published below to assure consistency within the advertised BAA terms. To ensure confidentiality, questions should not contain any intellectual property or proprietary information.

NOTE: Please allow two weeks for the NOPP technical committee to respond to any inquiries. You will receive an email when your answer has been posted. Questions submitted within 2 weeks prior to a deadline may not be answered, and the due date for submission of the full proposal will not be extended.

NOPP FY18 BAA Frequently Asked Questions

TOPIC 1: CubeSat Sensors for Investigating Littoral Ocean & Atmospheric Dynamics

Question 1A: Is this proposal strictly focused on a cubesat  solution, with the goal of improving cubesat designs? Would a proposal based on a Group 1 UAV that adheres to part 107 (up to 55 lbs), be considered?

  • Response 1A.  This BAA is focused solely on a cubesat solution.  A proposal based on a Group 1 UAV would not be considered.

Question 1B: I have read through the CubeSat Sensors for Investigating Littoral Ocean & Atmosphere Dynamics description in the 2018 Broad Agency Announcement PDF. However, I would like to verify that my understanding of the proposal request is correct. The call is for projects carrying out sensor development and NOT application, correct?

  • Response 1B.  The current call is for sensor development in Phase A. If selected for Phase A, and successfully completing all the milestone review, your project would then be eligible (with the others), for a down select for flight.  If chosen, this would be Phase B, which would be separately funded, and would be build, launch and application.

Question 1C: This NOPP BAA sounds like a very interesting opportunity. Unfortunately, we (SkyWatch) don’t build satellites. We do however, work the data produced and help with the dissemination and processing of such data much more efficiently. Though this BAA might not be directly applicable to us, I feel like there is an opportunity to provide support and a digital distribution infrastructure to those looking to submit a proposal.

  • Response 1C.  Correct, the BAA is not directly applicable to your company, it is focused on developing smaller form sensors for CubeSats.  Should the results of this BAA be successful (a sensor designed (Phase A), and a sensor launched, operated and providing the requisite scientific data (Phase B), then in a subsequent research and/or operational application, an organized approach to digital distribution might be appropriate.  We appreciate your inquiry, but feel it would be pre-mature to focus on this aspect of the effort at present.

Question 1D: I have a question about the Cubesat portion of the BAA #N00014-17-S-B016. One of the listed variables of interest is “Cloud characterization” [table on page 20].  This variable, in contrast to the others in the table, has no units or specific physical quantity listed alongside it. Would it be possible for the NOPP science team to please provide examples of specific cloud parameters of great interest?  (E.g., microphysical parameters such as particle size, optical depth, or phase?)

  • Response 1D.  We suggest that you provide your interpretation of “specific cloud parameters” based on your experience of inherent scientific value, and provide commensurate accuracy’s and resolutions that can be expected.

Question 1E: Is topic #1, Cubesat Sensors for Investigating Littoral Ocean & Atmospheric Dynamics, only focusing on the actual image sensor or does this topic include the development of optical hardware that is typically paired with a sensor within an imaging system?

  • Response 1E.  We are seeking sensors, not components of sensors.

Question 1F: Regarding Topic 1 of the NOPP RFP, I am a little confused by the language regarding what exactly the proposing team is expected to produce. Statements like “Specific spacecraft bus models or designs have not been chosen, although it can be assumed, for example, that approximately half of a 3U spacecraft or one third of a 6U spacecraft size, weight and power will be used for power management, attitude control, communications and other basic spacecraft functions” make it sound to me like the proposing team is expected to focus ONLY on designing and fabricating the sensor. But statements like “The purpose of Phase A is to finalize the satellite design” make it sound to me like the proposing team should develop both the sensor AND the supporting CubeSat bus. I would appreciate any clarifications you can give.

  • Response 1F. First and foremost, under Program Description, 3rd Sentence: Proposals should focus on designing and/or developing the sensor hardware to the highest level of technical maturity possible within the available funds and resources.  What we anticipate, as performers move through Phase A and the reviews, that a program plan will be developed, including cost, schedule and approach, to achieving launch and operation of the satellite in Phase B.

Question 1G: The earliest start date has been defined in the BAA as 10/16/2018 (reiterated in the currently posted Q/A). However, the “notional” date guidance for Topic 1 milestone reviews (on p. 21) is as follows:
a.      Award Announcement Dec 2017
b.      Kickoff Meeting Jan 2018
c.      System Concept Review Mar 2018
d.      System Requirements Review May 2018
e.      Preliminary Design Review Aug 2018
f.      Critical Design Review Dec 2018
g.      Engineering Design Review Aug 2019
h.      Flight Selection Review Jan 2020

Can you please clarify the discrepancy in dates?

  • Response 1G. The award start dates and the Appendix I notional schedule are provided as informational estimates for proposers.  The date of 10/16/2018 is an estimate for all topics.  The Appendix I schedule provided in the question is a Topic 1 notional programmatic schedule for proposers.  If a proposal is selected for funding, each agency will use their own policies and procedures to determine more detailed project schedules.

TOPIC 2: Improved & Routine Production, Stewardship and Application of the Group for High Resolution Sea Surface Temperature (GHRSST) Data

There are no FAQs for this topic at this time.


TOPIC 3: In-situ Ocean Sensor Research & Technology Development

Question 3A. Does System of Systems (SoS) sensing over large areas fit Appendix III?  Specifically, research for autonomous platforms and collaborative modular sensors for persistent, responsive ocean sensing?

  • Response 3A. No, System of Systems sensing over large areas does not fit Appendix III, Topic 3 of the BAA.  Topic 3 addresses in-situ ocean sensor research and technology development along with platform integration as described in the subtopic descriptions.

Question 3B. Will LOIs [Letters of Intent] and proposals for advanced ocean platforms be considered for Topic 3?  If so, what subtopic would advanced ocean platforms fit best within?

  • Response 3B. Topic 3 addresses in-situ ocean sensor research and technology development along with platform integration as described in the subtopic descriptions.  LOIs and proposals for R&D of advanced platforms will not be considered for Topic 3 or any subtopic in this BAA.

Question 3C. Under the research opportunity “Improving Technology Readiness Levels of Existing & Emerging Autonomous In- situ Ocean Sensors” of which “Smart sensing – Sensor controls, diagnostics, communications/energy management” is described as a viable topic. Would research into the feasibility of nonconventional long-term power supplies (like microbial fuel cells) for benthic and pelagic sensor and on-board processor maintenance be eligible?

  • Response 3C. Topic 3, subtopic 3C does not address research for new energy sources for sensors.  It addresses improving TRLs of existing and emerging Autonomous In-situ Ocean Sensors.  Topic 3C proposals need to connect the requested effort to the TRL improvement or increase.

Question 3D. Here are general questions for Topic 3. In the letters of intent (LOIs) for Topic 3, is it permissible to include figures?  To confirm, the LOIs should have one cover page and then up to two more pages to address sections 2-8, correct?

  • Response 3D. Yes, figures are permitted.  Please submit the LOI according to BAA requirements and your institutional policies and procedures.

Question 3E. Do we need to outline steps to market the sensor package commercially, or is it sufficient to build a prototype and demonstrate its functionality?

  • Response 3EF. Topic 3 does not require an outline to commercialize the sensor package.

Question 3F. What is “OMICs”?

  • Response 3F. Please read the text in section Topic 3B2 of Appendix III, Research Opportunity Description as well as the full text of the Broad Agency Announcement.

Question 3G. I’m writing to request a 5 minute discussion about a proposal my team is considering to submit to BAA Topic 3 with the cognizant program officer. I could not find a contact in the request for proposals. Could you kindly tell me who that would be?

  • Response 3G. The LOI process is what you should use to address interest in Topic 3. Please submit your LOI per BAA requirements and your institutional policies and procedures.

Question 3H. Colleagues and I will submit a Letter of Intent for NOPP 2018 BAA Topic 3, which contains a number of subtopics.  Our proposal will address both Subtopics 3A and 3C.  Is that allowed or are we limited to addressing a single subtopic in this competition?

  • Response 3H. Yes, proposals may address more than one subtopic for Topic 3.



Question G1. In Research Opportunity Number: N00014-17-S-B016
On Page 12: part G. Significant Dates and Times Award (start date)* 10/16/2018
On Page 33: part G. Significant Dates and Times Award (start date)*  1/7/2019
Which of these is correct? Does the date depend on Topic? Are potential proposers required to use one of these start dates or can a different one be used in the proposal? eg. for Topic 2: 6/1/2018

  • Response G1. This is a contractual question and will be answered by the ONR contracts contact.

Question G2. Could you please provide clarification regarding the statement below from Announcement# N00014-17-S-B016:

Foreign institutions are eligible to apply for support as a partner under this BAA. However, the National Science Foundation (NSF) rarely provides support to foreign organizations. For proposals to be funded by NSF, NSF will consider proposals for cooperative projects involving U.S. and foreign organizations, provided support is requested only for the U.S. portion of the collaborative effort.”

1.    Does this mean that NSF would or would not support sensor development work at a partner foreign company through a sub-contract or procurement contract originating from a US institution that was the project lead?

2.    Since funding may come from ONR or NSF, do the same restrictions apply with respect to Foreign partners?

3.    Can you provide any further recommendations with respect to including a Foreign company as a partner?

  • Response G2. NSF has funded subawards to foreign organizations if a strong case can made that the foreign partner brings a unique contribution to the project.  All other NOPP partners follow their agency policies and procedures.  Please consult with your institutional policy office for any contractual questions related to any NOPP agency policies and procedures.

Question G3. For the N00014-17-S-B016 NOPP BAA, it states that the project team must include 2 of the following 3 entities: academia, industry, and government. Our question is: can an industry partner be included in a team of academics as an unfunded Collaborator, with the interest in ultimate commercialization of the technology? We have not seen a response yet, but this is critical for assembling the team for our proposal. We also have a second question: There are instructions for proposals for grants and instructions for proposals for contracts. We will have a Navy lab as one team member with budget and an academic as the other (primary) team member. Do we only submit a full proposal for a grant even though we assume the Navy lab will be supported through a separate contract?

  • Response G3. We request that you consult with your institutional grant policy and procedures office for clarification on both of these questions.  They can assist you in reviewing the BAA criteria and apply internal policies and procedures for aspects such as technology commercialization and budget preparation.  We encourage you to submit the Letter of Intent according to BAA requirements and your institutional policies and procedures.     

Question G4. According to the BAA, foreign institutions are eligible to receive funds, except that is not likely if NSF sponsors the project. Do I simply list the partners and provide all relevant information as required, and if there’s a positive response from the initial review sort out whether U.S. funds can be made available to the foreign institutions?  Or do I prepare this with the idea that any foreign involvement will not be supported by U.S. funds?

  • Response G4. NSF has funded subawards to foreign organizations if a strong case can made that the foreign partner brings a unique contribution to the project.  All other NOPP partners follow their agency policies and procedures.  Please consult with your institutional policy office for any contractual questions related to any NOPP agency policies and procedures.