NASA selects five universities for X-Hab deep space challenge

NASA and the National Space Grant Foundation have selected five universities to design systems, concepts and technologies to enhance capabilities for deep space missions.

NASA - X-Hab -The University of Maryland Deep Space Habitat concept

The University of Maryland Deep Space Habitat concept

They are part of the 2015 Exploration Habitat (X-Hab) Academic Innovation Challenge.

The idea is to encourage studies in spaceflight-related disciplines, and also to help the agency gather new ideas to complement its current R&D.

Throughout the 2014-2015 academic year, says NASA, the teams must meet “a series of milestones to design, manufacture, assemble and test their systems and concepts” in close cooperation with members of the NASA Exploration Augmentation Module (EAM) concept team.

“This is the fifth year of the X-Hab Academic Innovation Challenge, and we continue to be impressed by the innovative university proposals to advance capabilities for spaceflight,” said Tracy Gill, NASA lead for the X-Hab Challenge. “We look forward to lending our experience to the teams, to learning from their fresh approaches and to guiding the efforts through the systems engineering process.”

The X-Hab Academic Innovation Challenge 2015 teams and projects are:

  • University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee: Design of a Carbon-fiber/Fused Deposition Modeling Spacecraft Structural Fabrication System
  • University of South Alabama: Development of a Volumetric Adsorption System for CO2 and H2O Multicomponent Isotherm Measurements
  • University of Vermont: Design of a “Smart-Structure” Deployable Airlock
  • Oklahoma State University: Deployable Greenhouse for food production on long-duration exploration missions
  • University of Colorado at Boulder: Deployable Greenhouse for Food Production

NASA says the challenge is also part of its efforts to train and develop a highly skilled scientific, engineering and technical workforce for the future.

You can read more about the current challenge requirements and previous challenges at and

Image: The University of Maryland’s Deep Space Habitat concept.

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