Status Report

Deadline Extended For 2013 RASC-AL Lunar Wheel Design Challenge

By SpaceRef Editor
December 22, 2012
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Due to an initially aggressive schedule that resulted from a delayed launch of the 2013 Revolutionary Aerospace Systems Concepts – Academic Linkage, or RASC-AL, Lunar Wheel Design Challenge, the new deadline to submit project plans has been extended to Sunday, Jan. 19, 2013, at midnight EST.

The RASC-AL Lunar Wheel Design Challenge invites student teams to design and build a lunar wheel prototype and demonstrate its capabilities while mounted on a utility vehicle during the “Roll-Off” (field tests at NASA’s Johnson Space Center’s Rock Yard) in July 2013. Teams are challenged with developing a wheel that needs little maintenance, can travel at higher speeds needed for human rovers and can withstand several years of harsh temperature swings, abrasive regolith, intense sun radiation and lack of an Earth-like atmosphere.

In addition to the field tests, teams will present their wheel concepts to a design review panel comprising Space Exploration Vehicle, or SEV, engineers. Presentations will be based on each team’s technical paper that details the wheel concept’s path-to-flight (i.e., how the design can be applied to actual planetary exploration on an SEV).

Based on a review of each team’s proposal, up to eight teams will be selected to compete at the “Roll-Off” in July 2013. Qualifying teams will receive a minimum of $9,000 to develop and test their wheel designs. Winning teams will receive cash prizes.

The challenge is open to full-time undergraduate or graduate students majoring in engineering or science at an accredited university. University design teams must include one faculty or industry advisor with a university affiliation and two or more undergraduate or graduate students.

Student teams and their faculty advisors are invited to submit an online Notice of Intent (NOI) and a project planof their proposed wheel concepts by Jan. 19, 2013. Multi-disciplinary teams and international collaborations are encouraged.

For more information about this competition, visit

If you have questions about this competition, please contact Shannon Verstynen at or Shelley Spears at

SpaceRef staff editor.