cuddihy wrote: I'd bet the contracting office puts more work into their cell phone contract renewal. so don't read much into what you see on fedbizops unless it's clear.
icarus wrote:Okay, as fun as it is to speculate, we've gone from full throttle, well-funded expansion to an overly-wordy procurement notice from a Navvy post office box in China Lake. Sounds like run-of-the-mill, debacle government project.
Getting back to the facts of the matter at hand; so can we yet confirm if Bussard probably generated neutrons before he died?
It looks to me like
-- 1 contract from Sep for general Polywell research
-- 1 contract for ion guns
-- 1 contract for "instrumentation to achieve spatially resolved plasma densities and spatially resolved particle energies"
It's interesting that these are all funded through separate solicitations. Does this tell us anything about the scale of the projects?
Perhaps someone with Navy contract experience can elucidate.
I partly agree that we don't want to read to much into this 'Keep Alive" funding beyond the necessity to provide funds to keep the team together in case the decision is to have the team do more significant research. It goes almost without saying that if the team disbands, there will be a huge delay and great expense in reforming a suitable group to continue the work.
That said, I too have been involved in keep alive funding efforts, but on the vendor's end of things. I strongly suspect that the items outlined in the presolicitation are considered long lead, or essential components, in case a solicitation is forthcoming. Therefore, I'll bet the Dr. Nebel and team are working on building and testing ion injection guns, probably using WB-7 because when you have a contract to deliver a product, you deliver the product if you can. Pure research gives you some latitude because no one knows how to make the product so its a bit harder to hold your feet to the fire, but in my estimation, the direction for an ion injection gun is clear.
What is not so clear is what is meant by
"instrumentation to achieve spatially resolved plasma densities and spatially resolved particle energies"
I am sure that the contracting officer did not pull those words out of a book. He got them from the Naval Project Manager, and there is a kernal of meaning. I am asking, "What might the deliverable be?" The word, "Instrumentation" indicates to me that it is hardware but I have no idea what. There will be a deliverable however, there must be something in order to protect the Navy personnel involved with the purchase, they cannot simply give money away.
OF course what we all hope is that these two or three presolicitations will be folded into the next solicitation for one to five years of effort and hardware construction. In that case, these presolicitations will have turned out to be "Keep Alive" money as has been argued. However, if there is no follow on, then Dr. Nebel will want to have made the best use of these funds in order to have something more to go to the venture capital market with.
I still wonder what is the nature of the instrumentation. And unless we look at this closely, this thread is "dead in the water" IMO and we're back to knowing nothing and waiting with nothing to speculate about. I'd much rather speculate (within reason) than wring my hands waiting for news.