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President Obama's FY2014 budget request for NASA enables the agency to leverage capabilities in the Human Exploration and Operations, Science and Space Technology Mission Directorates to make significant yet affordable advances in our nation's capabilities and achieve the space goals set by the Administration.

NASA has selected four universities to design habitat and science concepts that could be used by future deep space explorers. The teams will participate in the second eXploration Habitat (X-Hab) Academic Innovation Challenge led by NASA and the National Space Grant Foundation.

The teams are from Oklahoma State University; University of Maryland, College Park; Ohio State University; and University of Bridgeport, Conn. The undergraduate students will design, manufacture, assemble and test their concepts and hardware. A panel of engineers and scientists will assess their progress at each stage of the competition. The National Space Grant Foundation will fund the cost of the teams' design development and their participation in testing next summer at NASA's Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas.

The three competing universities are (1) Oklahoma State University; (2) University of Maryland; and (3) University of Wisconsin. All three have been in a year-long design, build, and test curriculum that produced this product. It has been a great inspiration and learning experience for these teams. Please join us for the competition. NASA JSC will have each team set-up, deploy, evaluate, and take down 3 consecutive weeks.

Media coverage time slots:

- Oklahoma State (6-10 Jun 2011): 9 Jun (Thursday) 2:00 - 4:00 pm Media Event
- University of Maryland (13-17 Jun 2011): 16 Jun (Thursday) 2:00 - 4:00 pm Media Event
- University of Wisconsin-Madison (20-24 Jun 2011): 23 Jun (Thursday) 2:00 - 4:00 pm Media Event


- X-Hab sites: 2011-X Loft :
- 2012:
- HDU Public site:

"NASA Deputy Administrator Lori Garver visited Las Vegas today to meet with Nevada entrepreneurs and discuss innovations in space exploration and technology development critical to America's future in space. Garver toured the facilities of Bigelow Aerospace, a company that has been developing expandable space habitats. NASA is evaluating Bigelow's concept for an expandable module for the International Space Station. If approved, the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module, or BEAM, could be launched to the station using a commercial cargo flight and robotically attached to the orbiting laboratory." More

The Pacific Star Project recently launched a balloon with several digital cameras bought on eBay that were controlled by a hacked script and packaged inside a homemade insulated payload container. The cameras made it to an altitude of 24 miles where they took some amazing photos.