Vendor On-ramp and Evaluation
NASA’s ESD has established a formal process for identifying commercial smallsat vendors for on-ramp and evaluation. This process involves Request For Proposals (RFPs) followed by an independent NASA evaluation of selected commercial data products.
As necessary, NASA ESD will perform market research to assess the development of Earth science commercial data products and market growth across the industry. If warranted, RFPs will be issued to on-ramp additional vendors as the industry emerges with new candidates and capabilities.
Vendors meeting the minimum qualifications could submit a RFP so that NASA can evaluate the data to determine their suitability for advancing NASA’s science and application goals. All RFPs and contracts contain standardized scientific use EULAs to avoid confusion for users about how the data can be used. The CSDA Final Request for Proposal (RFP) was posted March 21, 2023.
Data products from selected vendors are evaluated by teams of principal investigators (PIs) selected by the ESD. Evaluation criteria include:
- Accessibility of data
- Completeness and accuracy of metadata
- User support services provided by the commercial entity
- Usefulness of submitted data for science and applications
The evaluation results are summarized and distributed to ESD senior management. NASA uses the summary evaluation report, individual PI reports, and other information to determine the suitability of data from each vendor for future procurement.
More details on the data evaluations are available on the Smallsat Data Evaluation page. All data purchased during the evaluation phase are preserved for long-term use by the scientific community in accordance with the EULA.
Ongoing CSDA Program Activities
CSDA continually reaches out to the scientific community via science meetings, workshops, and conference presentations to increase interest in the program and learn how researchers are using the commercial data. Read publications by NASA-funded researchers to see how CSDA-acquired commercial Earth science data are being used.