Sixth Community Announcement: Advance Notice Regarding Forthcoming Release of the New Frontiers 5 (NF5) Announcement of Opportunity (AO) Special Notice ID Number: NNH20ZDA016L

Release of the draft AO January 10, 2023 (actual)
Estimated Release of final AO November 2023 (target)
Estimated Proposal due date March 2024 (target)

This community announcement (CA) is the sixth in a series to provide an advance notice of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate (SMD) plan to release an Announcement of Opportunity (AO) to solicit New Frontiers Program mission investigations. The New Frontiers Program conducts Principal Investigator (PI)-led space science investigations in SMD’s planetary programs under a not-to-exceed cost cap for the PI-Managed Mission Cost (PIMMC).  The target release date for the final AO is Fall 2023. This NF5 CA shares a decision recently reached by NASA about the availability of Radioisotope Power Systems (RPS) for the NF5 AO.

NASA has assessed the availability and readiness of RPS technologies for the NF5 AO. Based on this assessment, NASA has made the following decisions to provide the lowest risk to proposers:

  • The NF5 AO will offer up to two fueled Multi-Mission Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator (MMRTG) units for proposals requiring radioisotope electrical power for spacecraft.
  • The NF5 AO will offer up to twenty fueled radioisotope heater units (RHUs) for proposals requiring thermal heating for specific spacecraft components.

The PI-Managed Mission Cost must cover 1) a portion of the cost(s) for the delivery and integration of MMRTG(s) and/or RHU(s) to the spacecraft and 2) costs for nonstandard nuclear launch services and the nuclear launch approval process. NASA recognizes the community’s urgent need to know these additional costs and is striving to provide them prior to the release of the AO in Fall 2023.

NASA has not approved the issuance of the New Frontiers AO. This CA does not obligate NASA to issue the AO and solicit proposals. Any costs incurred by prospective investigators in preparing submissions in anticipation of the Final New Frontiers 5 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. Questions and feedback may be emailed using “6th CA for NF5” in the subject line to Dr. Curt Niebur, the New Frontiers Program Lead Scientist, via [email protected].