Q: Per the Solicitation, a project team should be identified in the submitted proposal. May the makeup of the students involved change after the proposal submission and/or the award announcements are made?
A: Yes. For the proposal, individual student names are not required. In regards to the students that are a part of the project team it is sufficient to include a statement such as "students in ____ class that will be offered in the fall and spring semesters will be a part of the project team."
Q: Per the Solicitation, sponsors and affiliations should be identified in the submitted proposal. May additional sponsors and industry partners join after the proposal submission and/or the award announcements are made?
A: Yes, additional sponsors and/or industry partners may be added to the project team after the proposal has been submitted and/or the award announcement date.
Q: Would the sponsor accept a proposal which involved a more hands-on based approach vs an autonomous approach, where the hands-on alternative prospectively offered lower energy demands and/or technical sophistication?
A: Yes. All possible solutions for the defined projects will be considered. Labor intensive solutions may lead to robotic solutions once the solution space is defined for potential future projects. Innovative solutions outside the strict definitions of the solicitation have been funded in prior years of the program.
Q: Will an initial design be provided with drawings, photographs, specifications, and/or performance parameters as a baseline for the student teams?
A: If the proposed effort is selected, there may be some information available from the NASA mentors. However, non-publicly available information requires ITAR release review which may make this information untimely for a student project. NASA is looking for innovative solutions, so refining what has come before is not a preferred approach for a new start. Literature searches have been a valuable part of previous X-Hab projects, however NASA mentors will help where they are able.
Q: Who can provide a signed confirmation for the implementation of X-Hab Challenge? Would the person be the department chair or anyone else?
A: All proposals must be submitted though the proposing institution’s office of sponsored projects.
Q: May adjunct faculty serve as the principal investigator?
A: Yes. The principal investigator may be an adjunct faculty member. The PI must be a U.S. citizen and currently teaching an Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET)-accredited engineering senior or graduate design, industrial design, or architecture curriculum teaming course at a university affiliated with the National Space Grant College and Fellowship Program, or other US accredited university.
Q: May as non-US citizen serve as a co-principal investigator?
A: Yes. Non-US citizens may participate in the XHAB program in any appropriate capacity except for principal investigator. Participation by citizens of “controlled countries”, as defined in Part 768.1.d of the United States Department of Commerce, Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) Export Administration Regulations (EAR), is prohibited.
Q: Does the prize have to be a one year long course involving students senior undergrad or grad? Can it be one semester one? Can it be instead an independent study, or research team of faculty and students?
A: The proposal must be led by a faculty member who is an U.S. citizen and is currently teaching in an ABET accredited engineering program. The majority of the students involved in the team must be upper division undergraduates or graduate students enrolled in and receiving credit in the design course taught by the faculty lead. A major feature of this program is that students are in the critical path. The project milestones dictate that the work be carried out over the course of a full academic year.
Q: What are the content and format requirements for the following two appendages within the proposal? - Mandatory – Confirmation of support for the proposal must include signed documents from the university faculty, collaborators, and their potential sponsor(s) to ensure their respective commitment to the project. Mandatory – Include a signed confirmation from the university, stating that the M2M X-Hab Academic Innovation Challenge will be implemented during the academic year and will comply with all pedagogical requirements.
A: There are no specific content or format requirements beyond what is outlined in the solicitation.
Q: Can a project last more than one year?
A: The solicitation contains required milestones and deliverables that span one academic year. The Principal Investigator may choose to continue their work after the completion of the contract. Involvement of the NASA provided mentor past the completion of the project is at the discretion of the NASA mentor.
Q: Would the prize fund the salaries of the student/faculty teams or only the materials for built prototypes?
A: It is the responsibility of the Principal Investigator to develop and propose a budget that will provide adequate resources to conduct the proposed work. These resources may include but not necessarily be limited to direct labor, subcontracts, consultants, equipment, supplies, travel, indirect costs and other items. Part of the review process will be the evaluation of how the proposed budget provides adequate resources for the proposed work as well as the alignment of the budget with the overall objectives of the program.
Q: Can we select a NASA/industry team or are there already defined interested parties?
A: Multi-discipline, multi-departmental, and/or multi-institutional teaming collaborations are highly encouraged. Involvement of NASA and/or industry personnel as mentors to the student team is allowable. For awarded efforts, NASA will provide a technical point of contact that will interact with the group throughout the project.
Q: Is there room for questioning the mission/objectives and therefore research gaps and proposing alternatives? Or a class that may explore mission ideas themselves?
A: This is encouraged and accommodated in the modified systems engineering process built into the X-Hab schedule. The first milestone is a System Definition review that defines the scope and the concepts to be further developed. It often requires tailoring of project expectations and further explanation of mission goals. X-Hab encourages the creative input of academia to complement approaches that may already be in place at NASA.
Q: What might be your stance on proposals that involve aspects of one of the mentioned projects, but do not focus on them?
A: Proposals that directly address the areas listed in the solicitation will be given priority consideration. Proposals that address other areas in direct support of the NASA Advanced Exploration Systems Division will also be considered.