Updated 04/06/2020

General Questions | Project Specific Questions


General Questions

Q: Who can provide a signed confirmation for the implementation of X-Hab 2021 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 2021 Academic Innovation Challenge will be implemented during the 2020-2021 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.

Q: Can the data and results collected from the prototype be published in journals or conferences?

A: Publications are encouraged in X-Hab as part of the outreach strategy.


Project Specific Questions

Project Sponsor: AES Life Support Systems

Project Title: Thermal Radiator for CO2 Deposition in Deep Space Transit

Special Note: The solicitation is asking for a thermal radiator to provide cooling to a CO2 removal system, not the system itself.

Q: What interfaces will be defined and/or required to be met? Mechanical, thermal, electrical?

A: Only thermal is required. The radiator will interface with the system via some thermal transfer method, for example a heat pipe. The radiator may need a mechanical interface to be tested in a thermal vacuum chamber, but is not required for the actual system.

Q: What are the states of the cabin air input gases?

A: The air conditions should not matter as long as sufficient cooling power is provided. If needed, it can be assumed that the cabin air is standard ISS conditions: 296K, 1 atm, 40% RH, 2 mmHg CO2

Q: What will be the requirements for the return gases, or to what will the output interface, Sabatier Rector?

A: The return gases and output interface should not affect the design of the radiator, but there will be two outputs from the CO2 removal system: 1) “CO2 free” cabin return air and 2) “pure” CO2 stream for downstream processing.

Q: Can you be more specific on "removing other contaminants"?

A: When CO2 deposition occurs, some trace VOCs are also captured, but this should not affect the design of the radiator.

Q: Is the volume and number of personnel on board given, or is this a "per person" conceptual design? Scaling options?

A: The full-scale radiator should sufficient to maintain CO2 atmosphere for 4 crew, so 4.16kg CO2 captured at a minimum air flow rate of 24 SCFM, with the CO2 capture surface cooled to 130K. Assuming the inclusion of half-effective heat exchangers in the system, that is ~1kW of heat rejection needed. The design can be scaled to any crew (or partial crew) size desired, but analysis should be used to extrapolate performance if it were built at full-scale.

Q: Are there NASA or capsule software programs that should be matched with the design?

A: No