9 July 2021

Call for NASA Keck Key Strategic Mission Support Proposals for 2022A

Ellen O'Leary

Keck telescopes
NASA is a partner in the W. M. Keck telescopes and allocates ~47 nights per semester. For the upcoming 2022A proposal cycle, in addition to General Observing and Mission Support proposals, NASA is also soliciting proposals for large Key Strategic Mission Support (KSMS) programs. KSMS programs must directly support NASA space missions and NASA’s science goals and are not just larger versions of general science programs. The opportunity to propose as Principal Investigators (PIs) for the NASA time on the Keck Telescopes is open to all US-based astronomers, i.e., those with their principal affiliation at a US institution. Astronomers at non-US-based institutions may serve as Co-Is.

KSMS projects may support past, present, and/or future missions, now including the James Webb Space Telescope. Between 10–60 nights total over two years (2022A-2023B) will be allocated between one or more KSMS projects with a maximum of 15 nights per semester. KSMS allocations beyond 2022B depend upon the successful renewal of the NASA-Keck Cooperative Agreement Notice in early 2023.

Proposed KSMS projects can range in size from a minimum of five full nights/semester for a minimum of two semesters (minimum 10 nights total), up to a maximum of 15 full nights/semester for a maximum of 4 semesters (maximum of 60 nights total). Programs requesting fewer than five nights per semester will be considered general Mission Support programs, and not KSMS programs.

An important element of the KSMS programs is a plan for timely release of processed data in a form suitable for use by the broader community as a contributed dataset through the Keck Observatory Archive. This must include discussion of data products that will result from your observing programs and the wider value of these products to the community. The legacy value of the collected data, as well as the compelling data products produced from it, will enable the community to make more and better use of data from NASA space astrophysics and planetary science missions. Therefore, this criterion is an essential part of a KSMS program and has its own section in the Science Program template.

Proposers planning to submit a KSMS proposal are required to submit a non-binding Notice of Intent (NOI) by 16 August 2021. The NOI should contain the PI and Co-I names and affiliations, the program title, a short abstract, and must clearly identify the supported mission(s).

KSMS proposals also require letters of support from NASA NASA headquarters (requested from Hashima Hasan by 2 September 2021) and from the supported flight project (Project Scientist, Project Manager, or Principal Investigator), which must explain the criticality, strategic importance, and timeliness of the proposed observations. These letters are due with the full proposal on 16 September 2021.

Note that the NASA Keck proposal review process will use a Dual Anonymous Proposal Review (DAPR) starting with this semester. All KSMS proposals must comply with the DAPR process.

More information on DAPR and requirements of the KSMS proposals will be released with the Call for Proposals on 30 July. More information is available on the web page

Important Dates

  • 30 July 2021: Call for Proposals and NOI submission site available
  • 16 August 2021: NOIs due to NExScI by 4:00 pm PT
  • 2 September 2021: Deadline to request a written letter of endorsement from NASA Headquarters
  • 16 September 2021: All proposals and letters of support due to NExScI by 4:00 pm PT

Questions: keckcfp@ipac.caltech.edu