Press Release

Students Build Space Habitats at NASA’s Johnson Space Center

By SpaceRef Editor
June 7, 2011
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Students Build Space Habitats at NASA’s Johnson Space Center

HOUSTON — University students are helping NASA develop potential habitats for future space missions. Three teams from across the country will visit NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston during June to show off the inflatable space lofts they’ve designed and built for the inaugural eXploration Habitat (X-Hab) Academic Innovation Challenge.

One of the habitats will be chosen to participate in NASA’s annual Desert Research and Technology Studies (Desert-RATS) field test in September, where it will be tested as part of a simulated astronaut mission to an asteroid. The winning team will receive $10,000 to offset costs associated with its participation.

The three university teams will each spend one week in Houston setting up their habitat for judging. News media representatives are invited to see the student innovations from 2 to 4 p.m. CDT during the next three Thursdays. The schedule is:

— June 9: Oklahoma State University, Stillwater

— June 16: University of Maryland, College Park

— June 23: University of Wisconsin, Madison

To RSVP for any of these opportunities, reporters must contact Lynnette Madison at by 5 p.m. on each preceding Wednesday.

In June 2010, NASA invited university teams to submit inflatable loft concepts for the X-Hab Challenge. Three competing universities were chosen, and those teams received $48,000 of seed funding to assist with their projects.

The competition is designed to engage and retain students in science, technology, engineering and math disciplines, which in turn will help develop the next generation of innovators and explorers. It could also result in new concepts and solutions that NASA could apply to later exploration habitats.

X-Hab is sponsored by NASA’s Exploration Systems Mission Directorate and the Innovative Partnerships Office in the Office of the Chief Technologist at agency headquarters in Washington. For more information about the X-Hab competition, and for updates about the designs of each school, visit:

For more information about D-RATS, visit:

Updates about the activities will also be available via Twitter at:

SpaceRef staff editor.