B-154843, OCT. 6, 1964

B-154843: Oct 6, 1964

Additional Materials:

Contact:

Edda Emmanuelli Perez
(202) 512-2853
EmmanuelliPerezE@gao.gov

 

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

INC.: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF JULY 27. THE RECORD SHOWS THAT CONTRACT NAS 9-2822 FOR A 3.0 MILLION VOLT GENERATOR WAS AWARDED TO HIGH VOLTAGE ENGINEERING CORPORATION ON APRIL 10. WERE BOTH CONSIDERED FOR APPLICATION IN FULFILLING THE GOVERNMENT'S REQUIREMENT FOR A CONTINUOUS BEAM OF POSITIVE OR NEGATIVE CHARGED PARTICLES ACCELERATED BY AT LEAST THREE MILLION VOLTS POTENTIAL. IT IS REPORTED THAT THE VAN DE GRAAFF MACHINE OF HIGH VOLTAGE ENGINEERING WAS SELECTED BY THE MANNED SPACECRAFT CENTER BASED UPON THE FACT OF PROVEN PERFORMANCE AND CAPABILITY TO SATISFY THE MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS OF THE GOVERNMENT. YOU STATE THAT YOU ARE A RESPONSIBLE CONTRACTOR WITH THE ABILITY. YOU ALSO SAY THAT SINCE EQUIPMENT PRODUCED BY RADIATION DYNAMICS WILL MEET AND EVEN EXCEED SPECIFICATIONS TO WHICH THE SOLE SOURCE PROCUREMENT WAS MADE.

B-154843, OCT. 6, 1964

TO RADIATION DYNAMICS, INC.:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF JULY 27, 1964, WITH ENCLOSURE, PROTESTING AN AWARD OF A CONTRACT TO HIGH VOLTAGE ENGINEERING CORPORATION FOR A 3.0 MILLION ELECTRON VOLT PARTICLE ACCELERATOR BY THE NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION, MANNED SPACECRAFT CENTER, HOUSTON, TEXAS.

THE RECORD SHOWS THAT CONTRACT NAS 9-2822 FOR A 3.0 MILLION VOLT GENERATOR WAS AWARDED TO HIGH VOLTAGE ENGINEERING CORPORATION ON APRIL 10, 1964. TWO AVAILABLE COMMERCIAL MACHINES, THE VAN DE GRAAFF, MANUFACTURED BY HIGH VOLTAGE ENGINEERING, AND THE DYNAMITRON, MANUFACTURED BY RADIATION DYNAMICS, WERE BOTH CONSIDERED FOR APPLICATION IN FULFILLING THE GOVERNMENT'S REQUIREMENT FOR A CONTINUOUS BEAM OF POSITIVE OR NEGATIVE CHARGED PARTICLES ACCELERATED BY AT LEAST THREE MILLION VOLTS POTENTIAL. IT IS REPORTED THAT THE VAN DE GRAAFF MACHINE OF HIGH VOLTAGE ENGINEERING WAS SELECTED BY THE MANNED SPACECRAFT CENTER BASED UPON THE FACT OF PROVEN PERFORMANCE AND CAPABILITY TO SATISFY THE MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS OF THE GOVERNMENT, PARTICULARLY THE REQUIREMENT FOR A MACHINE THAT CAN BE CONVERTED EASILY AND QUICKLY FROM POSITIVE IONS TO ELECTRONS AND BACK.

IN THE ENCLOSURE WITH YOUR LETTER OF JULY 27, YOU STATE THAT YOU ARE A RESPONSIBLE CONTRACTOR WITH THE ABILITY, KNOWLEDGE, AND CAPABILITY TO SUCCESSFULLY BUILD AND DELIVER EQUIPMENT COVERED BY THE PROCUREMENT IN QUESTION. YOU ALSO SAY THAT SINCE EQUIPMENT PRODUCED BY RADIATION DYNAMICS WILL MEET AND EVEN EXCEED SPECIFICATIONS TO WHICH THE SOLE SOURCE PROCUREMENT WAS MADE, IT IS INDICATED THAT FULL AND FREE COMPETITION WAS NOT HAD IN THIS CASE. ALSO, YOU SAY THAT NO CONSIDERATION WAS GIVEN TO YOUR SMALL BUSINESS STATUS IN CONSIDERING THE PROCUREMENT.

THE CONTRACTING OFFICER HAS MADE A DETERMINATION IN THIS CASE THAT, PURSUANT TO 10 U.S.C. 2304 (A) (10) AND NASA PR 3.210-2 (A),"FORMAL ADVERTISING IS NOT FEASIBLE AND PRACTICABLE FOR THIS PROCUREMENT BECAUSE HIGH VOLTAGE ENGINEERING CORP. IS THE ONLY MANUFACTURER OF THE VAN DE GRAAFF 3 MV VOLTAGE GENERATOR WHICH IS CONSIDERED TO BE THE ONLY MACHINE THAT SATISFIES THE MINIMUM NEEDS OF THE GOVERNMENT.' * * * "ON THE BASIS OF THE ABOVE FINDINGS, I HEREBY DETERMINE THAT THE PROPOSED PROCUREMENT IS FOR A VAN DE GRAAFF 3 MV VOLTAGE GENERATOR WHICH CAN ONLY BE OBTAINED FROM ONE SOURCE AND THAT THIS PROPOSED PROCUREMENT IS PURSUANT TO NASA PR 3.210 -2 (A).' WHILE YOU AVER THAT YOUR EQUIPMENT WILL MEET AND EVEN EXCEED THE SPECIFICATIONS ON THE PROCUREMENT IN QUESTION, THE TECHNICAL EVALUATION INVOLVED STATES AS FOLLOWS:

"PR 4008287 - 3 MV VOLTAGE GENERATOR

"A. AT THE PRESENT TIME, THERE ARE ONLY TWO MACHINES THAT ARE KNOWN TO BE AVAILABLE COMMERCIALLY IN THE $100,000 PRICE RANGE THAT SATISFY THE GENERAL REQUIREMENTS OF THE RADIATION AND FIELDS BRANCH, ASTD, FOR A CONTINUOUS BEAM OF POSITIVE OR NEGATIVE CHARGED PARTICLES ACCELERATED BY AT LEAST THREE MILLION VOLTS POTENTIAL. THESE MACHINES ARE THE VAN DE GRAAFF OF HIGH VOLTAGE ENGINEERING, INC., BURLINGTON, MASS., AND THE DYNAMITRON OF RADIATION DYNAMICS, INC., (RDI), LONG ISLAND, NEW YORK.

"B. THE VAN DE GRAAFF MACHINE HAS BEEN AVAILABLE COMMERCIALLY FOR MANY YEARS AND HAS THE REPUTATION OF SIMPLE, RELIABLE OPERATION. IT HAS SATISFIED EVERY MINIMUM REQUIREMENT OF THE RADIATION AND FIELDS BRANCH.

"C. THE DYNAMITRON IS A RELATIVELY NEW MACHINE, AND HAS HAD EXTENSIVE TROUBLE MEETING ADVERTISED SPECIFICATIONS, PARTICULARLY FOR POSITIVELY- CHARGED PARTICLES. DISCUSSIONS WITH RADIATION DYNAMICS IN NOV. 1963, REVEALED THAT THERE IS ONLY ONE DYNAMITRON IN THE UNITED STATES THAT IS MEETING ADVERTISED POSITIVE CHARGED PARTICLE SPECIFICATIONS, THE ONE AT THE RDI PLANT. GENERAL DYNAMICS/CONVAIR AND BOEING HAVE HAD EXTENSIVE TROUBLE AND DELAYS IN OPERATION OF THEIR DYNAMITRONS.

"D. THE DYNAMITRON HAS THE DISADVANTAGE OF USING SF FOR A FILLING GAS IN THE PRESSURE TANK, WHICH COSTS APPROXIMATELY $500 PER FILLING. TO AVOID LOSING THE GAS DURING MAINTENANCE, AN AUXILIARY GAS STORAGE SYSTEM MUST BE USED, WHICH ADDS TO MACHINE COST. THE VAN DE GRAAFF USES CO2 AND N2, WHICH COSTS $40 PER FILLING AND THUS NEEDS NO AUXILIARY GAS STORAGE SYSTEM, AS THE TANK IS REMOVED ON THE AVERAGE OF ONLY TWICE A YEAR.

"E. THE DYNAMITRON HAS NO "INSTANT" ELECTRON CONVERSION FEATURE, THUS REQUIRING THE REMOVAL OF THE TANK AND CHANGE OF BEAM TUBES EACH TIME IT IS NECESSARY TO CHANGE FROM POSITIVE IONS TO ELECTRONS, OR VICE-VERSA. THE VAN DE GRAAFS IS CHANGED BY A SWITCH ON THE CONSOLE, AND DOES NOT REQUIRE TANK REMOVAL OR CHANGE OF THE BEAM TUBE. TANK REMOVALS ARE VERY COSTLY IN TIME LOST, AND IT IS ANTICIPATED THE CHANGE FROM POSITIVE IONS TO ELECTRONS WILL BE FREQUENT.'

IT IS, OF COURSE, NOT WITHIN THE PROVINCE OF THIS OFFICE TO DRAFT SPECIFICATIONS FOR THE CONTRACTUAL NEEDS OF ADMINISTRATIVE DEPARTMENTS AND AGENCIES OF THE GOVERNMENT. 17 COMP. GEN. 554. THE NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION WAS PERFORMING ITS FUNCTION AS THE PROCURING AGENCY WHEN IT DRAFTED THE SPECIFICATIONS REFLECTING ITS MINIMUM NEEDS. ALSO, THE AWARD AS MADE, WAS TO A SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN. WHILE YOU MAY FEEL THAT THE CONTRACT SHOULD HAVE BEEN ADVERTISED INSTEAD OF NEGOTIATED AS IT WAS UNDER 10 U.S.C. 2304 (A) (10) ON THE GROUND THAT IT WAS IMPRACTICAL TO SECURE COMPETITION BY FORMAL ADVERTISING, 10 U.S.C. 2310 (B) MAKES THE DETERMINATION TO NEGOTIATE UNDER 10 U.S.C. 2304 (A) (10) FINAL.

IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, WE FIND NO LEGAL BASIS TO OBJECT TO THE ADMINISTRATIVE ACTION TAKEN IN THIS CASE. YOUR PROTEST MUST THEREFORE BE DENIED.