Deliverables

Notice of Intent

Deadline: October 15, 2019

Interested teams are strongly encouraged to submit a Notice of Intent (NOI) to compete by the deadline in order to ensure an adequate number of reviewers. Teams who submit NOIs by the deadline will be invited to participate in an exclusive Q&A session with the judges prior to the proposal due date.

The following information will be requested on the NOI submission form:

  • University name
  • Team category (Undergraduate or Graduate)
  • Partnering universities (if any)
  • Theme being addressed (if known)
  • Contact information for the faculty advisor
  • Contact information for the team lead
  • Synopsis of the concept (limited to 3,000 characters) providing a high-level overview of the proposed concept or potential concepts

Proposal & Video

Deadline: March 5, 2020

PROPOSAL GUIDELINES


EXPECTATIONS:

  • Proposals should be 7-9 pages in length
  • Proposals should clearly articulate the innovation and design being proposed, including original engineering analysis planned and/or in progress. It will not be enough for teams to indicate they will address the requirements later in the Technical Paper.
  • Submissions must be original, the work must be of the Candidates, and must not violate the rights of other parties.
    • Each submitting team represents and warrants that the team is the sole author and owner of the submission, that the submission is wholly original, that it does not infringe on any copyright or any other rights of any third party of which the team is aware, and that the electronic proposal and video submission is free of malware.

New! For the 2020 RASC-AL Competition, robust proposals are expected that demonstrate significant progress in your design and analysis. The RASC-AL Steering Committee will be looking for mature mission concepts at the proposal stage. The proposal should reflect the total scope planned for the final paper. All analysis results to-date (in summary form if necessary due to space limitations) should be included (leaving placeholders for analysis not yet completed). It is imperative that you apply all of the criteria from the theme descriptions to show your design details.

THE PROPOSAL SHOULD INCLUDE:

  • A cover page with the following information:
    • University name
    • Project title
    • Full names of all team members [including faculty advisor(s)]
    • Major course of study for each student
    • Academic level of each student (undergraduate or graduate)
    • Graphic or Image of part of your concept
  • The body of the proposal, which should outline/include:
    • Identification of each of the Theme Requirements and how they are addressed (VERY IMPORTANT!)
    • Innovative approaches/capabilities/technology
    • Detailed information about the work conducted in various trades, concepts, and mission constructs.
    • Indicate WHY you chose your design/configuration/system/approach in terms of VALUE in the areas of technology readiness, system performance, affordability, programmatic implementation and risk
    • Original analysis and engineering
    • Mass and size estimates
    • Key findings supporting the envisioned approach
    • Realistic technology assumptions
    • A realistic budget assessment (consider using analogs in current Aerospace, large construction like submarines, Antarctic habitats, etc., to anchor and explain your assumptions)
    • Project timeline

PROPOSAL FORMATTING GUIDELINES

Teams are responsible for the formatting and appearance of their proposal. Figures and tables must be placed in the file and therefore must be in digital format. Using image file formats that provide acceptable resolution without being huge are recommended (for example, please don't use a .tif file when a .png file will do).

  • Proposals should be 7-9 pages in length. They may include up to 7 pages of text that describe the mission concept and analysis plan, as well as 1-2 pages of additional graphics, tables, and/or charts.
    • 7 pages of text maximum
      • A Cover Page is required, but does not count toward the minimum or maximum page limits.
      • Table of Contents and Appendices are excluded as a part of your 9-page total limit. They do not count toward the minimum or the maximum page limitations.
      • References should be included as an appendix and will not count toward the minimum or maximum page limits. Appendices are to be used for references and calculations ONLY.
        • Note: Judges are not obligated to look at the appendices. Include important details in the body of your paper to ensure they are reviewed. There is no preference in citation formatting, but references must be formatted uniformly and correctly. Just listing a link to the source is not acceptable.
      • Papers should be single spaced and single column.
    • 1-2 pages of information graphics, tables, charts (a well-conceived graphic can convey multiple pages worth of text and convey a deeper understanding of the problem and solution).
      • If desired, graphics, tables, and charts may also be interspersed with the 7 pages of text (for a maximum of 9 total pages, excluding Cover Page and Table of Contents)
  • Please use fonts common to Macintosh and PC platforms, i.e., Times, Times New Roman, Helvetica, or Arial for text; Symbol for mathematical symbols and Greek letters.
  • Font size should be 11 or 12 pt.

TIPS FROM THE JUDGES:

  • Start with a big picture view of your concept, rationale, and goals. Don’t jump immediately into the details of the power, communications system, etc.
  • A picture is worth a thousand words and can convey a lot of information. Pictures for the proposal are a plus. Show us your innovation! (There should not be any hand-drawn sketches at this phase of the design).
  • If results/details are not available yet or are still being finalized, it is still valuable to indicate that you will have them and how you are determining them. If it is not mentioned, judges will assume it is not being addressed.
  • Report quality can impact the judges’ scoring. Poor grammar, typographical errors, etc. do not reflect well on your team.
  • Make use of published papers and reports available to you on your chosen theme. AIAA and the NASA Technical Report have a host of available papers on these topics that you may want to reference.

GENERAL VIDEO FORMATTING INSTRUCTIONS

As a part of the proposal submission process, teams will be required to include a 2-minute video. The intent is for the video to augment each team’s proposal by including animation, graphics, or other creative ways of showcasing unique aspects of their proposed concept.

  • Videos are limited to a maximum length of 2 minutes
  • Videos should be uploaded to YouTube, and teams will provide their video’s Youtube URL on the online proposal submission form. Other types of video files will not be eligible for consideration
  • Videos need to be publicly viewable via a link. Videos should be “Unlisted” or “Public” on YouTube
  • All of the team members should appear in the video, if at all possible
  • Your university name and project title should appear in text at the front of the video
  • Do not use music or images which may violate copyright law. You may use images created by NASA.

PROPOSAL EVALUATION CRITERIA (100 POINTS MAX)

  • Adherence to RASC-AL themes and mission objectives as stated in the relevant theme description (Max – 10 points)
  • Synergistic application of innovative approaches, capabilities and/or new technologies for evolutionary architecture development to enable future missions, reduce cost, or improve safety (Max – 15 points)
  • Sound technical / scientific / engineering analysis, evaluation and rationale of mission concept (Max – 15 points)
  • Evidence of thorough and proper research conducted (Max – 15 points)
  • Key findings support the envisioned approach (Max – 15 points)
  • Realistic preliminary budget assessments (Max – 15 points)
  • Realistic technology assumptions (Max – 15 points)

-----SUBMITTING A PROPOSAL-----

To upload your proposal and video (.pdf file and link), please click on the button below to complete the online proposal submission form. Teams are encouraged to review the Evaluation Criteria to better understand how the Steering Committee will be judging this competition, and the Resources page, which provides resources to assist in proposal development.

No revisions can be accepted, so please proof your proposal and video files very carefully before submission. If there are any technical problems with the content of your proposal or video (for example, your file was corrupted or a URL link was broken), we will try to contact you immediately, so it is very important that you provide us with up-to-date contact information on the submission form.

Late submissions will not be accepted, and the submission form will close promptly at midnight.

The following information will be requested on the NOI submission form:

  • University name
  • Team category (undergraduate or graduate)
  • Partnering universities (if any)
  • Theme being addressed
  • Project title
  • Faculty advisor & team lead contact information
  • File upload for PDF proposal document
  • URL link for team YouTube video
  • NEW THIS YEAR:
    • Mailing address for stipend checks (for use if a team is selected as a finalist in the competition)
    • Vendor W9 Form for the lead university (to be completed by the accounting department at the university).
      • Vendor Forms can be downloaded from the Resources Webpage under “Items to be included in Proposal Submission”
      • Note: Teams may receive a pre-filled W-9 form from their institution's accounting department. This form is equivalent to our “Vendor/W-9 Form," and is considered an acceptable substitution.

Technical Paper Guidelines

Deadline: May 28, 2020

TECHNICAL PAPER GUIDELINES


  • Papers should be single spaced
  • 10 pages minimum; 15 pages maximum
    • The Cover Page and a Table of Contents will not count toward the minimum or maximum page limits.
    • References should be included as an appendix and will not count toward the minimum or maximum page limits. Appendices are to be used for references and calculations ONLY.
  • Please use fonts common to Macintosh and PC platforms, i.e., Times, Times New Roman, Helvetica, or Arial for text; Symbol for mathematical symbols and Greek letters.
  • Font size should be 11 or 12 pt.

A COVER PAGE IS REQUIRED, AND MUST INCLUDE:

  • Theme
  • University name
  • Project title
  • Full names of all team members [including faculty advisor(s)]
  • Major course of study for each student
  • Academic level of each student (undergraduate or graduate)
  • Graphic or Image of part of your concept

TECHNICAL PAPER EVALUATION CRITERIA (MAX 65 POINTS)

The Technical Paper makes up 65% of each team's overall final score. The Oral & Poster Presentation at the RASC-AL Forum make up the remaining 35%.

  • Adherence to the RASC-AL themes and mission objectives as stated in the themes document (Max – 10 points)
  • Innovative, unique and/or synergistic advanced concepts and engineering analysis, and applications to enhance the exploration mission, architectures, capabilities, and/or technologies (Max – 20 points)
  • Technical merit and rationale of mission concept; understanding of technical challenges (Max – 25 points)
  • Realistic assessment of project cost/schedule (Max – 10 points)

-----SUBMITTING A TECHNICAL PAPER-----

To upload your team’s Technical Paper (.pdf file), please click the button below. This online submission tool will be activated after teams are notified of their final selection status.

No revisions can be accepted on your Technical Paper, so please proof your file very carefully before submitting it. If there are any technical problems with the content of your paper (for example, your file was corrupted), we will try to contact you immediately, so it is very important that you provide us with up-to-date contact information on the submission form.

Late submissions will not be accepted, and the submission form will close promptly at midnight.

Oral Presentation
& Poster

Deadline: 5 PM EST, June 15, 2020

PRESENTATION FILE GUIDELINES


Oral presentations are limited to 30 minutes, followed by a 10-minute Q & A session. Teams may choose who speaks and who doesn’t speak during the presentation. However, we encourage all team members to stand together at the front of the room during the presentation to be available to answer questions, even if they are not presenting.

EACH PRESENTATION FILE MUST INCLUDE:

  • Theme
  • Project Title
  • University name
  • Faculty advisor’s name(s)

SLIDE READABILITY

The presentation room is very large...please ensure the font on your power point is large enough for those to see from the back of the room. Take advantage of high contract options and avoid black screen backgrounds. Emphasize slide readability, especially for significant figures/calculations.

Dark videos/animations and black backgrounds do NOT show well in the presentation room and should be avoided. Gifs are preferred to video files, when possible.

SPECIAL NOTES ABOUT THE ORAL PRESENTATIONS

Oral presentations should reflect the technical papers. If errors were discovered after the technical paper was submitted, teams should take this time to address them. Significant information discussed during the oral presentation that was not included in the technical paper will be penalized for scoring.

Late submissions will not be accepted, and the submission form will close promptly at 5:00 PM EST. Teams are highly encouraged to submit their final presentation files prior to travel, before the due date.

POSTER PRESENTATION GUIDELINES

Finalists responding to Themes 1-4 will be required to present posters describing their project. Each team will be given one 6’ table. Posters must be free standing and able to fit on this table. One tri-fold foam/cardboard poster board will be made available for each team to use at no charge. Thumbtacks will also be available to secure posters to the tri-fold boards. Poster boards should be 48” x 36.”

Finalists responding to Theme 5 will develop and provide a demonstration of their concept in lieu of a poster. Examples of a demonstration could include an advanced virtual reality simulation or a prototype of part or all of the concept. The Poster/Demonstration Session provides teams with an opportunity to expound upon important concepts in their presentations. It also allows the judges to follow up on presentations by asking additional questions for further clarification.

ORAL, POSTER, & PARTICIPATION EVALUATION CRITERIA (MAX 35 POINTS)

The Oral & Poster Presentation at the RASC-AL Forum make up 35% of each team's overall score. The Technical Paper makes up the remaining 65%.

  • Oral presentation quality and consistency with technical paper (Max – 10 points)
  • Presence of teamwork and integration (Max – 10 points)
  • Quality of response to questions for presentation and poster, models and prototypes (Max – 10 points)
  • Attendance and engagement in all Forum activities (Max – 5 points)

-----SUBMITTING A PRESENTATION-----

To upload your team’s Presentation (.pdf or .ppx), please click the button below. This online submission tool will be activated after teams are notified of their final selection status.

No revisions can be accepted on your Presentation, so please proof your file very carefully before submitting it. If there are any technical problems with the content of your submission (for example, your file was corrupted), we will try to contact you immediately, so it is very important that you provide us with up-to-date contact information on the submission form.


Dates & Deadlines

Note: All deadlines must be met by 11:59 PM EST on the date specified, unless otherwise indicated.

DateDescription
October 15, 2019Notification of Intent (NOI) deadline
October 31, 2019Extended deadline (10:00 AM Eastern) to submit questions for Q&A session
Question Submission Form
October 31, 2019Q&A Session with Interested Teams (2:00 - 3:00 PM Eastern).
March 5, 2020Deadline to submit proposals and videos
March 30, 2020Teams are notified of their Selection Status
April 17, 2020Stipends are Mailed
May 13, 2020Deadline for Online Registration and Payment for the 2020 RASC-AL Forum
May 13, 2020Deadline for Hotel Reservations at RASC-AL Group Rate
May 28, 2020Deadline to submit Technical Paper
June 15, 2020
5:00 PM EST
Deadline to submit Oral Presentation
June 15, 2020Team Check-In at RASC-AL Forum
June 15-18, 20202020 RASC-AL Forum in Cocoa Beach, FL