NASA awards major contract to UAB for space cold stowage
NASA on Thursday announced that the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) has been awarded a contract to continue providing a state-of-the-art suite of freezers to maintain a controlled temperature environment for science samples aboard the International Space Station (ISS), as well as during travel to and from the orbiting laboratory.
Cold Stowage II is a single award, cost-no-fee contract with cost-no-fee and firm-fixed-price indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity task orders.
According to a release, the contract’s base period begins January 1, 2021, and runs through September 30, 2022, followed by two additional one-year options and one additional 14-month option that may be exercised at NASA’s discretion. The maximum potential value of the contract, including all options and incentives, is $48.3 million.
The contract will reportedly support maintenance, sustaining engineering, integration and operations of the freezers in support of researchers’ objectives involving temperature-controlled science.
This fleet of hardware is used to maintain sample integrity aboard the space station and during transit aboard current and future visiting spacecraft. The suite of freezers, built at UAB, includes Polar, Glacier, Iceberg, Cryo Chiller, Glovebox Freezer and MERLIN (owned by the university) and their equivalents. A dynamic combination of these lockers is being used on the station, supporting critical science.
UAB has supported groundbreaking cold stowage efforts involving the ISS for well over a decade through the university’s Engineering Innovation and Technology Development (EITD) research group, which is comprised of nearly 40 engineers and technicians led by UAB School of Engineering professor Lee Moradi, Ph.D.
Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn