Requirements & Forms

Notice of Intent

Deadline: November 8, 2016

Interested teams are encouraged to submit a Notice of Intent (NOI) to compete by the deadline in order to ensure an adequate number of reviewers. Please visit the Forms page on the RASC-AL website to complete the brief online NOI submission form.

Abstract & Video

Deadline: January 19, 2017

Abstracts should clearly articulate the innovation and design being proposed, including original engineering analysis planned and/or in progress.

GENERAL ABSTRACT FORMATTING INSTRUCTIONS

Teams are responsible for the formatting and appearance of their abstract. 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 (for example, please don't use a 1-MB TIFF file when a 250-K GIF file will do) are recommended.

File size cannot exceed 1.5 MB.

  • 5 pages maximum (including figures, tables, and references)

      • A Cover Page is not required, but if your team chooses to use a Cover Page, it will not count toward the maximum or minimum 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 ONLY.

  • Abstracts should be single spaced

  • 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 between 11 and 12 PT.

ABSTRACT FILES MUST INCLUDE:

  • Title

  • Full names of all team members

  • University name

  • Faculty/industry advisor’s full name(s)

GENERAL VIDEO FORMATTING INSTRUCTIONS

NEW THIS YEAR:

As a part of the abstract proposal submission process, teams will be required to include a 2-minute video. The intent is for the video to augment each team’s abstract 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 in MP4 format. Other files will not be eligible for consideration.
  • File size is limited to 50 MB
  • All of the team members should appear in the video
  • 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.

ABSTRACT EVALUATION CRITERIA

  • Applicability to Theme Areas (Max – 30 points)

  • Amount of original and/or innovative approaches with supporting engineering analysis content (Max – 35 points)

  • Feasibility of mission/concept approach (Max – 35 points)

SUBMITTING THE ABSTRACT AND VIDEO

To upload your abstract and video (.pdf file and .mp4 file), please click on the button below to complete the online abstract submission form. Teams are encouraged to review the Evaluation Criteria to better understand how the Steering Committee will be judging this competition.

No revisions can be accepted, so please proof your abstract and video files very carefully before submission. If there are any technical problems with the content of your abstract 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.

Mid-Project Review

Deadline: March 16, 2017

The 2017 RASC-AL Competition will institute 2 separate down-select gates. After the abstracts are evaluated, selected teams will move to the second phase of the competition – further developing their proposed abstract concept into a 6-9 page paper for a Mid-Project Review. Based on the Mid-Project evaluations, one final round of team cuts will be made and selected teams will be invited to present their concepts at the 2017 RASC-AL Forum, May 31 – June 2, 2017.

MID-PROJECT REVIEW GUIDELINES:

The Mid-Project Review submission may include up to 7 pages of text that describes the mission concept and analysis plan, as well as one-two pages of information graphics and/or calculations.

  • Papers should be single spaced and single column

  • 1-2 pages of information graphics and/or calculations (a well-conceived graphic can convey multiple pages worth of text and convey a deeper understanding of the problem and solution)

  • 7 pages of text maximum

    • Cover page is excluded as a part of your 7-page limit for text pages. It does not count toward the maximum page limitations.

    • References should be included as an appendix, and will not count toward the page limits. Appendices are to be used for references ONLY and judges may choose not to look at them.

  • 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 between 11 and 12 pt.

COVER PAGE MUST INCLUDE (FOLLOW THIS SERIOUSLY):

  • Theme

  • Project Title

  • University Name

  • Full names of all team members (including faculty advisor)

MID-PROJECT PAPER SHOULD INCLUDE:

The mid-project paper should provide a narrative of the progress you have made on your concept since it was first proposed, and should demonstrate significant progress in your design and analysis. The RASC-AL Steering Committee will be looking for demonstrations of maturity of the mission concepts. The mid-project paper should be treated as a condensed version of the final 15-page technical report (due in May), reflecting 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, (i.e., Master Equipment List) from the theme descriptions to show your design details.

The Mid-Project Paper should outline/include:

  • Any significant design changes since your proposal, and the reasoning behind those changes

  • Innovative 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 (double check each other’s analysis for accuracy)

  • Updated mass and size estimates

  • Key findings supporting the envisioned approach

  • A realistic budget assessment (consider using analogs in current Aerospace, large construction like submarines, Antarctic habitats, etc., to anchor and explain your assumptions)

  • Realistic technology assumptions

  • Updated project timeline

Identification of Theme Requirements and how they are addressed (VERY IMPORTANT):

  • Lightweight Exercise Suite Theme Only:

    • Total Mass Limit of 500kg

    • Can be used in a module of 3-5 m in diameter

      • Provide a detailed and adequate volume envelope needed for all of the operational modes of the equipment (i.e., width and depth considerations required for both packaging/launch as well as deployment and daily use)
    • Describe power and data demands the exercise suite will require

    • Plans to mitigate vibrational loads

    • Repair and maintenance issues

    • Describe how this suite reduces mass over the ISS system without substantially increasing power

    • Comprehensive analysis of health benefits to astronauts

    • Available for incorporation into advanced habitats by 2025

  • Airlock Design Theme Only:

    • 15-year minimum lifetime

    • 2-person 8-hour EVA for 3 consecutive days every 30 days

    • Maintenance needs, including replacement parts

    • Failure warning and detection system

    • Describe pre-and post-EVA operations

    • Pre-and post-EVA operations effect on airlock or attached vehicle

    • How advanced EVA suit technologies are tested using airlock

    • How is airlock launched – separate or attached to habitat

    • What launch vehicle is used to launch

    • Describe airlock layout in detail

    • Provide airlock master equipment list

    • Define airlock power budget

    • Identify key capability drivers (structure approach, ECLSS closure, suitlock or airlock, etc.) and method for trades

    • Available for incorporation into advanced habitats by 2021

  • Commercially Enabled LEO/Mars Habitable Module Theme Only:

    • 15-year Minimum Lifetime

    • Demonstrate how the LEO module design is extensible to use as a Mars transit vehicle (i.e., system modifications necessary such that an updated version can be used as a Mars transit vehicle)

      • Identify key changes, upgrades, and expansions required for the transition

    • Describe CONOPS and architectural layout of the module in detail

      • Include interior layout, master equipment list, and power budget

    • Describe (in detail) the module subsystem, to include:

      • environmental control

      • life support

      • thermal

      • structures

      • power

      • crew accommodations

      • commercial operations hardware

      • avionics (including guidance, navigation, vehicle control, communication)

    • Available for launch to LEO by 2022

    • Describe commercial LEO applications enabled by the facility and an associated business model supported by those activities, assuming NASA is an anchor tenant for some duration of the module’s lifetime

  • Logistics Delivery System Theme Only:

    • Design a propulsion bus to transport logistics to and rendezvous with a vehicle in cis-lunar space, available for use by 2023

    • Include:

      • Capacity

      • Systems and cargo packaging

      • launch vehicle packaging

      • Systems required to allow rendezvous and docking/berthing with the habitat

    • Capacity to support a minimum 30-day mission

      • Options ranging up to supporting a 360-day mission for a crew of four in cis-lunar space.

    • Describe interior layout

    • Master equipment list

    • Power budget

    • Fully describe operation from launch to off-loading in cis-lunar space

      • Include propellant and trajectory requirements

    • What launch vehicle is used to launch

      • Describe packaging within launch vehicle fairing

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.

  • 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.

NOTES FOR ALL RASC-AL PROJECTS

Proposed designs should be consistent with human spacecraft requirements addressed in NASA Technical Standards 3000 and 3001 and NASA’s Human Integration Design Handbook, and the physiological countermeasures identified in NASA standards should be addressed.

Attention should be given to the following:

  • Synergistic applications of NASA’s planned current investments.

  • Supporting engineering analysis.

  • Unique combinations of the planned elements with new innovative capabilities/technologies to support crewed and robotic exploration of the solar system.

  • Realistic assessment of costs for technology maturation, system development, and production and operations.

MID-PROJECT REVIEW EVALUATION CRITERIA

  • Synergistic application of innovative capabilities and/or new technologies for evolutionary architecture development to enable future missions, reduce cost, or improve safety (Max – 15 points)

  • Sound technical / scientific 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)

  • In progress and future work plan is SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Research-based, and Timely); Figures and graphics are informative and add value to the plan (Max – 10 points)

Key Elements that each RASC-AL project will ultimately be evaluated on include:

  • Adherence to the requirements and constraints of the selected topic and the design competition;

  • Synergistic application and supporting original engineering analysis of innovative capabilities and/or new technologies for evolutionary architecture development to enable future missions, reduce cost, or improve safety;

  • Technical merit and rationale of mission operations in support of an exciting and sustainable space exploration program;

  • Key technologies, including technology readiness levels (TRLs), as well as the systems engineering and architectural trades that guide the recommended approach;

  • Reliability and human safety consideration in trading various design options;

  • Realistic assessment of project plan and execution of that plan, including a project schedule and test plan, as well as realistic development and annual operating costs (i.e., budget);

  • Realistic assessment of partnering and cost sharing scenarios based upon commercial profitability and the ability of international partners to participate given their limited budgets.

SUBMITTING YOUR MID-PROJECT REVIEW

To upload your Mid-Project Review (.pdf file), please click the button below. You will be directed to the RASC-AL Competition Submission site, and your team will need to use the user profile used to create your team's abstract submission. Only teams who have been approved semifinalists will have access to upload a mid-project review.

No revisions can be accepted, so please proof your file very carefully before submitting it. If there are any technical problems with the content of your Mid-Project Review (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.

 

Technical Paper & Presentation Upload

Deadline: May 15, 2017

-----TECHNICAL PAPER GUIDELINES-----

  • Papers should be single spaced

  • 10 pages minimum; 15 pages maximum;

  • A Cover Page is not required, but if your team chooses to use a Cover Page, it will not count toward the minimum and 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 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 between 11 and 12 pt.

COVER PAGE MUST INCLUDE:

  • Title of presentation

  • Full names of all team members

  • University name

  • Faculty/industry advisor’s full name(s)

TECHNICAL PAPER EVALUATION CRITERIA

The Technical Paper makes up 60% of each team's overall final score.

  • Adherence to 2017 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 – 15 points)
  • Technical merit and rationale of mission concept; understanding of technical challenges (Max – 25 points)
  • Realistic assessment of project cost/schedule (Max – 10 points)
TOTAL POSSIBLE POINTS: 60

-----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:

  • Title of presentation

  • 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. The aspect ratio for presentation slides must be 4:3.

Dark videos/animations and black backgrounds do NOT show well in the presentation room and should be avoided.

PRESENTATION REVISIONS

The uploaded presentations will be brought to the Forum for your use during the presentation. However, teams may bring newer, updated versions to the Forum on a thumb drive prior to the start of the actual competition, and (time permitting), we will try to accommodate the most recent version of the presentation.

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.

POSTER PRESENTATION GUIDELINES

Each team is required to present posters describing their project, as a supplement to the oral presentations. 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.”

The Poster Session provides teams with an opportunity to expound upon important concepts in their presentations. It is also allows the judges to follow up on presentations by asking additional questions for further clarification.

ORAL, POSTER & FORUM PARTICIPATION EVALUATION CRITERIA

  • 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 – 10 points)

TOTAL POSSIBLE POINTS: 40

-----SUBMITTING THE TECHNICAL PAPER & PRESENTATION-----

To upload your team’s Technical Paper (.pdf file) and Presentation (.pdf or .ppx), please click the button below. This online submission tool will be activated after teams are notified on April 3rd, 2017 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.

 

Dates & Deadlines

DateDescription
November 8, 2016Notification of Intent (NOI) deadline
November 21, 2016
3:00 PM EST
Q&A Webinar for teams
January 19, 2017Deadline to submit abstracts online via abstract upload tool
February 3, 2017Teams are notified of their selection status (1st down-select)
March 16, 2017Deadline to submit Mid-Project Review
April 3, 2017Teams are notified of their selection status (2nd down-select)
April 26, 2017Deadline for Online Registration and Payment for the 2017 RASC-AL Forum
April 30, 2017Deadline for Hotel Reservations at RASC-AL Group Rate
May 15, 2017Deadline to submit Technical Paper and Oral Presentation
May 30, 2017Team Check-In at RASC-AL Forum
May 31 - June 2, 20172017 RASC-AL Forum in Cocoa Beach, FL