Research Announcement (NRA) solicits General Observer (GO) proposals
for NuSTAR. Approximately 8.5 Ms of time will be available
in the observing period June 1, 2023 - May 31, 2024.
It is anticipated that no more than $4M in funding will be made available to support
the analysis of targets
accepted at priority L, A, B or C. Priority C targets will be observed
on a "best-effort" basis. Target proposals will be considered from
both US and foreign PIs.
NuSTAR data from approved GO program observations (including peer review approved ToO observations)
have a nominal six-month exclusive-use period commencing at the time of receipt of the
processed data by the observer.
Only PIs affiliated with, and located at,
a US institution will be eligible for funding for accepted
NuSTAR proposals through NASA. As part of the NuSTAR Cycle 9 program, up to 1.5 Ms
of XMM observing time, up to 300 ks of Swift observing time, and up to 250 ks of NICER observing time will be made available for
coordinated observations with NuSTAR.
Critical target list for coordination with XRISM PV-phase
observations -- Added December 22, 2022
Special conditions apply for a given set of targets that are
expected to be proposed by XRISM Performance Verification (PV) teams
for coordinated NuSTAR+XRISM observations during NuSTAR Cycle 9.
Please see the critical XRISM PV target
list page for more information.
Multi-cycle Joint NICER Observations
The earlier restriction that joint NICER observations cannot be
multi-cycle observations has been removed.
Reminder: Dual-Anonymous Review Proposals
The phase-1 proposal review will be done in a dual-anonymous fashion.
Dual-anonymous peer review (DAPR) means that not only will the proposers not know who their reviewers are, but the reviewers will not know who the proposers are, at least not until after they have evaluated the scientific merit of the proposal. This implementation of DAPR will be based on that employed by STScI in the evaluation of Hubble Space Telescope observing proposals in recent cycles, in that the names of team members will ultimately be revealed to the peer review panel after all of the proposals have been reviewed for scientific merit. At that time the peer reviewers will have the opportunity to comment on the qualifications and capabilities of the team. The selection official will take into consideration the assessment of the team's qualifications when making the selection.
Proposals should eliminate language that identifies the proposers or institution, as discussed in the Guidelines for Anonymous Proposals.
PIs are required to upload a one-page "Team Expertise" PDF
through ARK as a separate upload when submitting the anonymized
Scientific/Technical/Management section. (Note that, for NuSTAR
proposals, the page limit for the team expertise document is one page,
i.e. further constrained compared to "no more than three pages" from
the general guidelines document.)
This document provides a list of all team members, their institutional
affiliations, roles, expertise, and contributions to the work. The
document should also discuss any specific resources that are key to
completing the proposed work.
If a change of the exclusive-use period from the 6-month default is requested (expected to happen infrequently), a compelling justification e.g., protecting the timely completion of a graduate student's thesis, needs to be added in this document.
Proposals that do not follow these dual-anonymous guidelines
may be returned without review.
Additional details concerning Cycle 9 are given in the NuSTAR NRA.
There will be a two-phase proposal process. Phase one is for observing proposals. Phase two is for budget proposals for successful phase one proposers who were awarded priority L, A or B targets. Only observing proposals will be accepted at this time.
Proposal submission is done via the
HEASARC ARK/RPS on-line system. Hard-copy submission is not required. The following
elements are required:
Proposal form (cover page & general form, and one or more
pages of the Target form) generated by, and submitted through, ARK/RPS.
Anonymized Scientific/Technical/Management section in PDF format, not exceeding 4
pages for a Regular and 5
pages for a Large Program and/or Joint Program proposal, to be uploaded through ARK/RPS.
One-page "Expertise and Resources - Not Anonymized" PDF is requried through ARK as a separate upload when submitting the anonymized Scientific/Technical/Management section. (Note that, for NuSTAR proposals, the page limit for the team expertise document is one page, i.e. further constrained compared to "no more than three pages" from the general guidelines document.)
The following should not be submitted:
The PI's institution's own cover page.
Supporting material (e.g., pending/current support).
Formatted electronic copies of the ARK/RPS form.
Hard copies of any of the above, including electronically
We provide below some key details for NuSTAR Cycle 9.
For further details, consult the
ARK/RPS help file.
Institutional endorsement is not required by NASA in NuSTAR
phase 1 proposals. Use the endorsement-related entries only if
they are required or desired by the PI's institution.
A total of up to 2 Ms of NuSTAR Cycle 9 observing time will be made available for the Large Program (LP) category. The minimum total exposure time for LP proposals is 500 ks.
In addition to investigations utilizing NuSTAR observations only, proposals involving coordinated observations with the XMM-Newton observatory, NICER observatory, and/or Swift observatory can also be proposed during Cycle 9. Proposals for joint NuSTAR-XMM, NuSTAR-NICER or NuSTAR-Swift observations should be indicated by clicking the Joint proposal section of the ARK/RPS form, and inputting the requested XMM, NICER, and/or Swift exposure time in each target form.
Proposers may submit the same proposal to XMM AO-22 and NuSTAR Cycle 9. However, the XMM-Newton AO-22 approved program will be taken into account during the NuSTAR Phase 1 review and duplicate observations of the same targets by NuSTAR will typically not be awarded. Similarly, Proposers
may submit the same proposal to Swift AO-19 and NuSTAR Cycle
9 as well as NICER AO-5 and NuSTAR Cycle 9. However, the
Swift AO-19 and NICER AO-5 approved program will
be taken into account during the NuSTAR Phase 1 review
and duplicate observations of the same targets by NuSTAR
will typically not be awarded. All joint time proposals need to include a NuSTAR
Joint proposals for NuSTAR observations with Chandra or INTEGRAL cannot be submitted in response to this AO. However, NuSTAR does have separate agreements with Chandra and INTEGRAL for coordinated observations. Please see the main Proposals and Tools page for more information.
Target of Opportunity (ToO) proposals will be accepted in response to this AO.
To facilitate checking for conflicts of interest during the peer review process, the co-I's institution must be chosen from the menu (thereby enforcing a uniform set of names). Please check the list of institutions and contact
the RPS team as soon as possible if your co-I's institution is not on this
Up to 30 co-investigators can be entered into the RPS form. However, only the first 15 co-investigators will appear on the cover page PDF.
The full list will be used by project personnel for
conflict checking. Under the Dual Anonymous Proposal Review Procedure
reviewers will not see any investigator names provided to ARK/RPS,
unless they assess them after ranking the proposals (see the DAPR
Guidelines). Please do not enter any investigator names in any ARK/RPS
Time Constrained: A target is considered as "Time Constrained" if any of the following sections of the target form are marked as 'Yes':
Position angle dependent
See the NuSTAR RPS help page for more information about these fields.
In addition, observations coordinated with other ground- or space-based
observatories are considered as time constrained.
Time-constrained observations designated Category A, B or L will be given highest priority for scheduling during Cycle 9 (or Cycle 9 and 10 for multi-year programs). Time-constrained observations of Category C targets will be executed on a best-effort basis and therefore should be scientifically justified if the time constraint is not satisfied.
The time constraints for a
multi-year program can occur in Cycle 9 and/or Cycle 10.
Note that time-constrained Category A, B or L observations that are not part of a multi-year program and are not scheduled during Cycle 9 may be carried over to Cycle 10 where warranted by scientific or operational circumstances (e.g., in the case of coordinated observations with other space- or ground-based observatories). Category C time-constrained observations not scheduled during Cycle 9 will not be carried over to Cycle 10.
Proposers should include a summary of details that are
necessary for scheduling and observation planning (constraints,
observing mode) in the Remarks box for each
Sources with fluxes > 10-11 ergs s-1
cm-2 within 5° of the target may cause increased non-uniform
background gradients due to stray light. Users should check observations for
potential stray light contributions using the tool that is available
at the NuSTARSOC web site. If a field is designated as having a "Potential stray light issue", proposers should submit a request for a feasibility analysis to firstname.lastname@example.org at least 2 business days prior to the proposal submission deadline.
The minimum exposure for NuSTAR targets is 20 ks. If the proposer is also requesting XMM, NICER, and/or Swift time, the minimum exposure times for these telescopes are 5 ks, 1 ks, and 1ks, respectively.
Estimated Count Rates:
Expected total band (3-79 keV) count rate of the source in counts/second for both modules in a 50% PSF extraction with no deadtime.
Target of Opportunity (ToOs):
A total of up to 1 Ms of NuSTAR Cycle
9 observing time will be made available for proposals to observe
ToOs. Single-trigger ToOs that are part of a Large Program are not
held to a 1 Ms exposure time limit. Please note that regular ToOs do not
carry over into Cycle 10.
Proposals with a preferred response time less than 48 hours will be evaluated based on the assumption that the minimum response time is 48 hours. A more rapid response time than 48 hours will be accommodated on a best-effort basis.
For ToO observations that are to be triggered from a class of objects:
Complete one target form per trigger only, specifying "0.0" for both
the R.A. and Dec. fields and providing a generic target name, and, if
applicable, enter a list of potential target names in the ToO Remarks
field. If the list of targets is too long to fit in the TOO Remarks
field, include the list in the anonymized
Scientific/Technical/Management section instead and put a note in the ToO Remarks to look there for the list.
For ToO observations that are to be triggered from a list of specific named objects: Complete one target form per object and trigger criterion even if you ask for time for a subset only. For each ToO proposal the "Maximum Total Time Requested for ToOs" field must be provided. If you ask for time for a subset only, this number will be smaller than the automatically calculated summed exposure time for all target forms.
Please note that it is the responsibility of the PI of an
accepted ToO proposal to alert the NuSTAR SOC when the trigger
conditions for their accepted ToO have been satisfied (via
http://www.nustar.caltech.edu/page/too_policy). For more details see
AO section 1.3.4.
After completing all fields for a proposal in ARK/RPS, use the
Verify button to confirm
that all required entries exist and conform to the expected format.
Forms that pass verification can then be submitted. ARK/RPS allows
PIs to continue to modify submitted proposals
until the deadline, so there is no penalty for submitting the proposal
The LaTeX, PostScript, and PDF buttons of
ARK/RPS can be used to generate formatted versions of the proposal forms.
Although it is often useful for the PIs to keep formatted copies of the forms
for the record, it is not a required part of the proposal submission process.
The anonymized Scientific/Technical/Management section for a standard and ToO program must not exceed
4 Letter size (8.5" x 11") pages. The anonymized Scientific/Technical/Management section for a large and/or joint program must not exceed
5 pages. Page limits include figures and references.
The anonymized Scientific/Technical/Management section can be
generated using the software of the PI's choice, as long
as it is converted to PDF format before submission. However, the font size and margings should meet the
proposal style format requirement described in the ROSES Summary of Solicitation.
Specifically, the text body font size should be no smaller than 15
characters per inch. Figure captions and references may be smaller
but must be legible. A 12 point font size is recommended.
Please note that Phase-1 proposals should have a single-column
format. References should be in the ,  format.
Proposals must not contain hyperlinks to additional material other
than references to public information that do not identify the PI,
Co-Is or their institutions; web pages with material specific to the proposal such as target lists or stray light assessments are not allowed.
We suggest that proposers use the LaTeX template or
the Word template for the anonymized Scientific/Technical/Management section. When
using these templates, the user should double-check that the text area
is 6.5" x 9", having at least 1 inch top, botton, right
and left margins on US letter size paper (8.5" x 11").
Proposals should include a description of the scientific
objectives; justify the choice of target(s); show that existing
data (previous X-ray observations or at other wavelengths)
are insufficient to achieve the objectives; justify the choice
of NuSTAR over other existing observatories (preferably
linked to some unique characteristic of NuSTAR);
and demonstrate the feasibility of the proposed observation
Proposals for targets already observed by NuSTAR are
allowed, but must include a justification for an additional
observation, such as a much longer exposure, different pointing
position within an extended object, or different observing window for a
variable object. Observed and/or approved NuSTAR
targets can be found using the HEASARC/Browse numaster table or by using NuSTAR
Conflicts with Legacy Survey Targets
Observations of targets accepted through the Cycle 9 Call for Proposals will take precedence over legacy program observations of those targets. The status of legacy survey target observations can be found in HEASARC's numaster table by selecting "EGS", "ELS" or "GLS" for the obs_type keyword.
A list of approved NuSTAR ToO programs in the NuSTAR, joint NuSTAR/XMM, joint NuSTAR/Chandra, joint NuSTAR/Swift, and joint NuSTAR/INTEGRAL
GO programs can be found on the NuSTAR SOC page.
The length of the observation should be justified based on the
specific scientific objectives, preferably using simulations or
scaled from prior NuSTAR observations of a similar source.
However, the minimum NuSTAR observing time for a target is
set at 20 ksec.
PIs are required to upload a one-page "Expertise and Resources - Not
Anonymized" document PDF through ARK as a separate upload when
submitting the anonymized Scientific/Technical/Management section.
template or the Word
template is available. (Note that, for NuSTAR proposals, the page
limit for the team expertise document is one page, i.e. further
constrained compared to "no more than three pages" from the general
This document provides a list of all team members, their institutional
affiliations, roles, expertise, and contributions to the work. The
document should also discuss any specific resources that are key to
completing the proposed work. If a change of the exclusive-use period from the 6-month default is requested (expected to happen infrequently), a compelling justification e.g., protecting the timely completion of a graduate student's thesis, needs to be added in this document.
This document will be distributed to the review panel after all proposals have been reviewed and rated, only for programs which are in the selectable range. This is to allow the reviewers to assess the team capabilities required to execute a given proposed science investigation.
If there are clear, compelling deficiencies in the expertise required
to see through the goals of the proposal, the panel may decide to flag
the submission accordingly, and provide a detailed justification in
its comments to NASA. This review may not be used to flag "up"
proposals for having strong team qualifications, nor may it be used to
re-evaluate or upgrade proposals.
US PIs whose Phase-1 proposals are assigned a Category A or B rating
by the peer review panel or accepted as a Large Program, i.e.,
Category L, will be invited to submit a Phase-2 (cost) proposal.
US PIs of approved proposals with priority C targets only will be eligible for a
$20,000 grant, awarded through NASA's
Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), if observations are performed. No Phase 2 budget submission is required for these proposals.
The Phase 2 proposal deadline is June 29th, 2023. Phase 2 proposals are submitted through NASA's NSPIRES system. As with all NASA ROSES proposals, final institutional submission is required. Please leave enough time for your institutional process. If your institution requires a NASA grant solicitation number, it is NNH22ZDA001N-NUSTAR.
Subject to acceptance of the associated Phase 2 cost submission, proposals for standard-mode observations (excluding proposals involving Target of Opportunity ToO or time-constrained TC observations) assigned a Category A, B, or L rating will be eligible for funding immediately. US PIs of A, B, or L proposals with ToO or TC observations are also invited to submit a budget proposal by the June 29th, 2023, deadline. However, the PIs of these programs will not receive funding until a target from their program is observed.
Note that limited funding for the support of costs such as travel expenses associated with presentation of the results at a scientific conference, page charges, etc., will be held in reserve for US PIs of Category C proposals executed during Cycle 9. No budget proposal is due at this time from PIs of proposals with only Category C targets.
US Co-Is on proposals with non-US PIs are not eligible for funding.
To submit a Stage 2 proposal, follow these basic steps:
Log on to NSPIRES. If
you do not have an NSPIRES account, you will need to create one and
affiliate with your institution.
On your NSPIRES home page, click on "Proposals/NOIs."
Click the "▸Create Proposal" button.
Select "Solicitation." Even though your proposal
has already been selected via phase 1, do not select "Prior-phase
Enter proposal information and your institutional affiliation.
When proposal elements are complete, use the "Release to Org"
button to release the proposal to your institutional proposal office.
Your institutional proposal office must then perform the final proposal submission.
A Phase-2 cost proposal consists of:
Cover page (via NSPIRES forms)
The abstract (via NSPIRES forms)
The budget justification (12pt minimum font with reasonable margins), not to exceed two pages, including: a) a breakdown of the work assignments for all funded investigators, b) any major purchases including workstations, c) proposed scientific travel, d) publication costs, and e) any cost sharing applied to this project
Confirmation of commitment (via NSPIRES forms) from any unfunded but essential personnel and from any necessary observing facilities on which time is not granted through the NuSTAR proposal review process
A listing of any current and pending support
A budget prepared according to the guidelines of the PI or Co-I institution, detailing the requested itemized expenditures
All required government certifications
A 1-2 page CV for each PI or Co-I requesting support
Please note that only one institution (e.g., PI institution only) award is allowed for NuSTAR Cycle 9 Phase 2 proposals. If Co-Is requesting support, please do budget this as a sub-award. The nominal period of performance is one year and the PI may select a start date between September 1, 2023 and March 1, 2024. For programs with multi-year targets, the period of performance may be for two years. Grants for proposals with "regular" A and B targets will be processed after the cost proposals are reviewed. Since ToO and time-constrained target observation grants will be issued only after the observation(s) take place in those cases the PI may want to use a later start date for planning purposes. Note that in either case the relevant start date for year of effort will be when the grant is issued by NSSC. If the grant needs to be extended beyond one year, please submit the No-Cost Extension request at least three months in advance of the end date of the period of performance.
If you have any questions concerning NuSTAR or the NuSTAR GO program, visit the Feedback form.