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Astrophysics Explorers - AMENDED

Release Date:  August 24, 2021
Mandatory Notice of Intent to Propose Due: November 4, 2021
Proposals Due: December 9, 2021

NASA will release concurrently the 2021 Astrophysics Medium Explorer (MIDEX) Announcement of Opportunity (NNH21ZDA018O), and the 2021 Astrophysics Explorers Mission of Opportunity (MO) Program Element Appendix Q (PEA-Q) (NNH17ZDA004O-APEXMO2) as Amendment 20 to the NASA Third Stand Alone Missions of Opportunity Notice (SALMON-3) Announcement of Opportunity NNH17ZDA004O.

1. NNH21ZDA018O Medium Explorer AO is available at

2. NNH17ZDA004O-APEXMO2 (Amendment 20 to the SALMON-3 AO: NNH17ZDA004O) is available at

A joint Preproposal Conference will be held via teleconference/WebEx in September 2021. The forthcoming date, agenda, and logistical information for this session maybe found by visiting the Astrophysics Explorers Program Acquisition Homepage:

Comments and questions may be addressed to (subject line to read "Astrophysics Explorers MIDEX AO" or "Astrophysics Explorers MO PEA" as appropriate). Proposers are encouraged to send comments and questions early, so that they may be addressed at the Preproposal Conference.

Responses to all inquiries will be posted at the Questions and Answers (QAs) location of the Astrophysics Explorers Program Acquisition website at The period for questions/comments will close three weeks before the proposal due date, and the period for responses will close ten days before the proposal due date. Anonymity of persons/institutions who submit questions will be preserved.




The Third Stand Alone Missions of Opportunity Notice (SALMON-3 = NNH17ZDA004O) Announcement of Opportunity (AO) is an omnibus, meaning it hosts individual flight opportunities each with its own topic and due date. The Table of SALMON-3 PEA Due Dates has hypertext links to each program element appendix (PEA) in SALMON-3.

DRAFT EVI-6 Released

Prospective Bidders Web Conference: 1-3 p.m. Eastern Time
Comments Due: December 1, 2021
The full Draft PEA text can be found at:

Earth Venture Instrument-6 (EVI-6) will solicit proposals for complete PI-led science investigations that are based on one or more (a) Class D space-based instruments or (b) Class D CubeSats. The selected EVI-6 investigations will conduct innovative research that addresses pressing Earth system science questions. 

The Cost Cap on the PI-Managed Mission Cost for an EVI-6 investigation estimate is $37M in Fiscal Year 2024 dollars with a possibility of an additional request of up to $5.3M for a Science Enhancement Option. NASA expects to select one or more Class D Instrument and/or Class D CubeSat Investigations based on funding availability at the time of selection.

The full Draft PEA text can be found at:

The time frame for the solicitation is estimated to be:

Release of Draft EVI-6 PEA: October 26, 2021
Prospective Bidders Web Conference: November 12, 2021 (1-3 p.m. ET)
Comment Period Closes: December 1, 2021 (11:59 p.m. ET)
Release of Final EVI-6 PEA: January-February 2022 (target)
Preproposal Web Conference: ~2 to 3 weeks after Final PEA release
Mandatory Notice of Intent deadline: ~5 weeks after Final PEA release (11:59 p.m. ET)
Proposal deadline: ~3 to 4 months after Final PEA release (11:59 p.m. ET)

Further information will be posted on the EVI-6 Acquisition Homepage at as it becomes available. Individuals should consult existing EVI-6 questions and answers at in case a clarification has already been provided.

Questions and other comments on the Draft EVI-6 PEA may be addressed to Dr. Hank Margolis, EVI-6 Program Scientist, at with the subject line "EVI-6 Draft PEA.” Questions and Answers will be posted on the EVI-6 Q&As section of the EVI-6 Acquisition Homepage. Anonymity of the authors of all questions will be preserved.

SIMPLEx AO No Earlier Than April 2021.

There will be a delay in the release of the Small Innovative Missions for Planetary Exploration (SIMPLEx) Announcement of Opportunity (AO). Previously, the planetary science division had announced at town hall meetings that the SIMPLEx AO would be released no earlier than September 2020, but it is now anticipated that the SIMPLEx AO will be released no earlier than April 2021. Any inquiries should be directed to the SIMPLEx email:

Future Solicitations

You may download the current planning list of SMD Solicitations (NRAs and AOs) as a PDF from the SOMA web page. ROSES is released each year on or about February 14th. Planned program elements of ROSES are listed in the ROSES tables of due dates as 'TBD' and hypertext links from each title in the table of due dates connects to the NSPIRES page for that program element with a summary and point of contact.

Delay of New Frontiers to June 2027

Estimated Release of draft AO ………….…. October 2023 (target)
Estimated Release of final AO ……..…….... October 2024 (target)
Estimated Proposal due date …………........ 90 days after AO release

Community announcement NNH20ZDA016L notified potential proposers of the decision to delay the release of the next New Frontiers AO. The new target is no later than fall 2024 for the release of the final AO. This is a delay of approximately two years compared to the November 5, 2020 announced target date of October 2022 that was posted on both on as a "special notice" and as a community announcement on NSPIRES.

The launch date for Dragonfly, the fourth mission in the New Frontiers Program, has been delayed to June 2027. This delay of the Dragonfly launch date is not a reflection on the progress and performance of the Dragonfly project. Rather, the delays are driven by other missions being in peak development and COVID-related challenges in the broader Planetary Science Division portfolio. The updated AO schedule estimate allows selection of the fifth New Frontiers mission at around the time of Dragonfly’s launch, thereby avoiding the budget strain of having two New Frontiers missions in development at the same time.

The new AO release date places the fifth New Frontiers mission firmly in the time period being deliberated upon by the ongoing planetary science decadal survey. NASA SMD intends to use the results of this decadal survey, expected in early 2022, to guide the New Frontiers 5 AO.

NASA has not approved the issuance of the New Frontiers AO and this notification does not obligate NASA to issue the AO and solicit proposals. Any costs incurred by prospective investigators in preparing submissions in response to this third notification or the planned Draft NF5 AO are incurred completely at the submitter's own risk.

Further information will be posted on the New Frontiers Program Acquisition Page at as it becomes available. Address questions and comments on this third community notice to Dr. Curt Niebur at


Community Announcements


Heliophysics Data Environment RFI

Response Date: January 31, 2022

The Heliophysics Division (HPD) seeks information and community feedback on the current and future needs for NASA’s Heliophysics data, and associated archives, tools, models, and resources. This information will be used to inform NASA’s restructuring, expansion, and evolution of the Heliophysics data archiving infrastructure, currently known as the Heliophysics Data Environment (HPDE) located at

For the full text of the RFI and response instructions, visit Responses must be submitted via NSPIRES. Questions and comments concerning this RFI may be sent to one or both email addresses listed below with the subject line: "NASA HPDE RFI Question/Clarification" no later than 11:59 Eastern time on January 21, 2022. 

Heather Futrell:
Patrick Koehn:

SPD-41: Scientific Information policy for the Science Mission Directorate

Data, software, and publications produced as part of SMD awards are a significant public investment and should be made publicly available. To provide contextual guidance to proposers, awardees and other members of our communities, SMD has created SPD-41: The Scientific Information Policy, based on recommendations from SMD's Strategy for Data Management and Computing for Groundbreaking Science 2019-2024. This version includes our current understanding of the Federal guidance, NASA policy, and best practices currently incorporated into or applicable to our programs.

A link to SPD-41 and other documents are now available on SMD's Science Information Policy webpage. SMD will be releasing a draft update to SPD-41 that incorporates more recent policy directives, recommendations from National Academy and NASA SMD community studies, and best practices from the community.

To collect feedback on the implementation of SPD-41, SMD plans to release an RFI on this topic by the end of October. In addition, SMD will hold a virtual community townhall on this topic. Until response dates for the RFI and townhall are released, please email any questions/comments to All questions will be responded to, either individually or on the Scientific Information Policy Frequently Asked Questions page.

Lodging Waiver to exceed GSA per diem for AGU 2021

This is a waiver for those with SMD federal assistance awards allowing them to be reimbursed for up to $190 per night for AGU 2021 lodging, if not contradicted by the travel policy of their organization. Note, I have specified grants (including cooperative agreements) not contracts. This may also apply to those traveling on NASA contracts, but they must communicate with their contracting officers.

The December 2021 AGU Fall Meeting is in New Orleans, Louisiana. The GSA allowed daily lodging expense for New Orleans will be $136 for December 2021, well below the average single nightly rate at which is slightly over $189.

Grantee travelers may need a waiver to cover lodging in excess of the GSA value, depending on the travel policy of their organization. This waiver does not supersede the travel policy of your institution if it is more restrictive.

By the power invested in me by the NSSC to issue approval of the actual lodging costs for a conference in "bulk" instead of individual approvals, I hereby affirm that for the December 2021 AGU Fall Meeting in New Orleans, NASA SMD federal assistance awards may be charged up to $190 plus tax per night, consistent with the average actual costs of the hotels listed on the AGU fall meeting housing page, even though this exceeds the $136 allotted for lodging by GSA.

Information on Future Portal for Archiving NASA-funded Accepted Manuscripts

The NASA Scientific and Technical Information (STI) Program is developing an external submission portal for NASA-funded investigators to submit Accepted Manuscripts and other STI products. The portal is expected to be available later this summer.

The external portal will be used in place of the National Institutes of Health Manuscripts System (NIHMS), for grant and cooperative agreement recipients. The external portal will provide a more direct and streamlined Accepted Manuscript submission process for recipients. The STI Program will send communications prior to the start date with instructions and reminders.

As part of this transition, an information page about the new portal is available on the STI Program website which will be updated throughout the process:

The STI Program invites comments and questions about this new external manuscript submission portal via the Research Access Help Desk at

Dual-Anonymous Peer Review

In our "ROSES" research solicitation we have expanded the use of dual-anonymous peer review in which, not only are proposers not told the identity their reviewers, the reviewers are not told the identity of the proposers (until after they have evaluated the scientific merit of all of the anonymized proposals). To learn more about dual-anonymous peer review see

No Due Dates?

In our "ROSES" research solicitation we have expanded the number of programs with no fixed due date. Starting in ROSES-2021, proposals to seven programs in planetary science may be submitted at any time without any preliminary statement such as a Notice of Intent or Step-1 proposal. For more information see

Need Advice about ROSES and proposal writing?

On the library and useful links page we have resources that may be useful to those who are new to proposing to ROSES: Links to youtube versions of presentations by Max Bernstein (NASA HQ) and Christina Richey (JPL) about proposal writing. Both the video of Dr. Richey (thanks to the SETI Institute) and the video of Max Bernstein (thanks to NASA Ames Research Center). Other information that maybe useful to early career/ potential new PIs may be found at

Please direct questions or corrections on this page to