NASA and the National Space Grant Foundation have selected seven projects from six universities to participate in the 2014 Exploration Habitat (X-Hab) Academic Innovation Challenge.
Throughout the 2013-2014 academic year, the undergraduate student teams will attempt to meet a series of milestones to design, manufacture, assemble and test systems and concepts that could be used in future deep-space habitats. They will work in close cooperation with members of the NASA Advanced Exploration Systems Program’s Deep Space Habitat Project team.
“The new X-Hab Academic Innovation Challenge projects reflect the great creativity and innovation of the nation’s university students and faculty,” said Barry Epstein, NASA’s AES Habitat Systems domain lead at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “Their energy and ideas expand the reach of our project engineers and of our deep-space human exploration technology development program.”
The challenge is designed to heighten students’ interest in studies in spaceflight-related disciplines. It encourages multidisciplinary approaches, outreach efforts and partnerships with experts and industry. Participants are required to explore NASA’s work on development of deep-space habitats and help the agency gather new ideas to complement its current research and development.
NASA selected the seven teams from among a group of proposals received in May.
The X-Hab Academic Innovation Challenge 2014 teams are:
- Oklahoma State University, Stillwater: Horizontal Habitability Layout Studies
- University of Colorado at Boulder: Plant Anywhere: Plants Growing in Free Habitat Spaces
- Rice University, Houston: SpaceRing: a Versatile, Scalable Power-Generation and Cooling System
- University of South Alabama, Mobile: Closed Environment Air Revitalization System Based on Metal Organic Framework Adsorbents
- University of Wisconsin, Madison: Badger Compartmentalized Onboard Material Extrusion Technology
- University of Maryland, College Park: Vertical Habitability Layout Studies
- University of Maryland, College Park: Neutral Buoyancy/Parabolic Flight Habitat Studies
The National Space Grant Foundation will fund design costs, development and delivery of the systems to the AES Deep Space Habitat Project team in mid-2014.
NASA’s Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate’s AES Program, through the Deep Space Habitat Project team, sponsors the technology challenge. NASA is dedicated to supporting research that enables sustained and affordable human and robotic exploration. This educational challenge contributes to the agency’s efforts to train and develop a highly skilled scientific, engineering and technical workforce for the future.