New Space and Tech

NASA Challenges College Students To Design Inflatable Space Habitats

By Keith Cowing
April 8, 2013
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NASA is challenging college students to design concepts for inflatable habitat lofts for the next generation of space explorers. The winning concepts may be applied to the exploration habitats of the future.

The X-Hab Academic Innovation Competition is a university-level challenge designed to encourage further studies in spaceflight-related engineering and architecture disciplines. This design competition requires undergraduate students to explore NASA’s work to develop space habitats, while also helping the agency gather new and innovative ideas to complement its current research and development.
Students will design, manufacture and assemble an inflatable loft that will be integrated into NASA’s operational hard-shell prototype lab unit. The competition winner will participate in a demonstration of the submitted design during the 2011 Desert Research and Technology Studies, or a similar field test next summer.

NASA’s Exploration Mission Directorate and the Office of the Chief Technologist’s Innovative Partnerships Program are sponsoring this new technology challenge. NASA is dedicated to supporting research that enables sustained and affordable human and robotic exploration. This educational competition contributes to the agency’s efforts to train and develop a highly skilled scientific, engineering and technical workforce for the future.

For information about competition registration and requirements, visit:

For more information about NASA’s Exploration efforts, visit:

For more information about NASA’s Office of the Chief Technologist, visit:   

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SpaceRef co-founder, Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA, Away Teams, Journalist, Space & Astrobiology, Lapsed climber.