Press Release

NASA Announces New Systems Engineering Award Competition

By SpaceRef Editor
November 16, 2006
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NASA today announced an opportunity for university students to work with NASA engineers to conceive, design, fabricate and test a radio-controlled aircraft capable of taking off and landing while carrying a maximum load of cargo.

Students will develop their aircraft and compete for the new NASA Systems Engineering Award as part of the Aero Design competition, made possible through a partnership between NASA’s Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate and SAE International. Students competing for the award will receive e-mail feedback from NASA engineers who will review the students’ work at two critical points during the design and development of their aircraft. “The purpose of this new award is to engage students in the systems engineering process,” explained Deborah Bazar, a project manager in the Education Division at NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif. “NASA wants to expose more of today’s engineering students to systems engineering concepts and practice, which is integral to industry and research in today’s world,” she added.

Each year, hundreds of engineering students compete for cash awards during SAE International’s two North American Aero Design competitions – one on the East Coast and one on the West Coast. The next Aero Design East will be held May 4-6, 2007 in Fort Worth, Texas. The next Aero Design West will be held March 23-25, 2007 in San Fernando, Calif.

Systems engineering is a logical set of grouped processes performed by multidisciplinary teams to engineer and integrate systems to ensure products meet customer needs. A systems engineering plan implements a core set of common technical processes and requirements needed to define, develop and integrate products created for an organization.

Systems engineering processes build upon and apply best practices and lessons learned from NASA, as well as other government agencies, academia, trade associations and industry, to clearly delineate a successful model to complete comprehensive technical work, reduce program and technical risk and improve mission success.

With this competition, NASA continues its tradition of investing in the nation’s education programs. The competition directly ties into the agency’s major education goal of strengthening NASA and the nation’s future workforce. Through this and the agency’s other college and university programs, NASA will identify and develop the critical skills and capabilities needed to support its long-term aeronautics requirements.

SAE International has more than 90,000 members who share information and exchange ideas for advancing the engineering of mobility systems used in designing, building, maintaining, and operating self-propelled vehicles for use on land or sea, in air or space.

For more information about the new NASA Systems Engineering Award, visit:

For more information about SAE International’s education programs, visit:

For information about NASA education programs, visit:

SpaceRef staff editor.