NASA and the National Space Grant Foundation have selected five universities to design systems, concepts and technologies to enhance capabilities for deep space missions for the 2015 Exploration Habitat (X-Hab) Academic Innovation Challenge.
The selections are the first milestone in a yearlong design and development effort for these five projects. Throughout the 2014-2015 academic year, the teams must meet a series of milestones to design, manufacture, assemble and test their systems and concepts in close cooperation with members of the NASA Exploration Augmentation Module (EAM) concept team.
EAM is a new agencywide technology development concept managed by the Advanced Exploration Systems Division in NASA's Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate. The EAM will combine several capabilities into a prototype system to augment Orion's habitation and extravehicular activity capabilities for extended deep space missions.
"This is the fifth year of the X-Hab Academic Innovation Challenge, and we continue to be impressed by the innovative university proposals to advance capabilities for spaceflight," said Tracy Gill, NASA lead for the X-Hab Challenge. "We look forward to lending our experience to the teams, to learning from their fresh approaches and to guiding the efforts through the systems engineering process."
The challenge is a university-level participatory exploration effort designed to encourage studies in spaceflight-related disciplines. The challenge encourages multidisciplinary approaches and strengthens partnerships between NASA, academia and industry. This design challenge requires undergraduate students to explore NASA's work on development of deep space habitats while also helping the agency gather new ideas to complement its current research and development. NASA selected these five projects from among a group of proposals received in May.
The X-Hab Academic Innovation Challenge 2015 teams and projects are:
-- University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee: Design of a Carbon-fiber/Fused Deposition Modeling Spacecraft Structural Fabrication System
-- University of South Alabama: Development of a Volumetric Adsorption System for CO2 and H2O Multicomponent Isotherm Measurements
-- University of Vermont: Design of a "Smart-Structure" Deployable Airlock
-- Oklahoma State University: Deployable Greenhouse for food production on long-duration exploration missions
-- University of Colorado at Boulder: Deployable Greenhouse for Food Production
This challenge also contributes to the agency's efforts to train and develop a highly skilled scientific, engineering and technical workforce for the future. The National Space Grant Foundation will administer the grants to the universities for NASA to fund design, development and evaluation of the systems by members of the NASA teams during the 2014-2015 academic year.