XHAB Questions

Updated 04/05/2017

General Qustions

Project Specific Questions


General Questions

Q: Are there any required travels such as the kickoff and review meetings? If yes, I need the venue and time-duration for our budget preparation.

A: There are no travel requirements. But we encourage teams to reserve travel funding to visit a NASA center that hosts the project management or has the technical interest in the project for which they are applying. Travel funding can be reserved in the budget but can also sometimes be obtained through the state based Space Grant programs

 

Q: Who can provide a signed confirmation for the implementation of X-Hab 2018 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: Will the budget cover the addition of domain experts in the development of our proposal in the design stage? Domain experts would be used for short durations in the early design and later usability testing stages. Domain experts could likely be a cultural Ethnographer and a Psychologist with a specialization in group dynamics.

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.  Costs incurred prior to award are not allowed.

 

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: Can projects lead to, or combine with, further course development and collaboration/research collaborations outside the deliverables of the course itself?

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: What are the content and format requirements for the following two appendages within the proposal? - Mandatory -- a signed confirmation of support of the proposal must include a signed commitment from the University faculty, collaborators, and their potential sponsor(s) to ensure their commitment to the project. - Mandatory -- a signed confirmation from the university stating that the X-Hab 2018 Academic Innovation Challenge will be implemented during the 2017-2018 academic year.

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 longer term project 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. All projects funded under this solicitation are to follow the scheduled outlined in the solicitation.

 

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

Robotic Replacement of Power System Modular Circuit Board

Q: Are there any dimension requirements? (The chassis with the circuit boards, volume of the room, robotic arm, modular circuit board, etc.?)

A: The only limiting dimensions are:

 

  • the chassis is a 3U, 15 slot, 1.0" pitch sub-rack, with dimensions specified in the VITA 48 Standard
  • the circuit board modules are 3U, 1.0" pitch plug-in units, with dimensions specified in the VITA 48 Standard

 

Q: How many spaces within the chassis will there be for each modular circuit board? (Example: Will it be a chassis with 4 rows and 5 columns; each with a circuit board?)

A: One chassis with room for 15 circuit boards

 

Q: What is the volume restriction of the each of the mentioned spaces? 

A: The only limiting dimensions are:

 

  • the chassis is a 3U, 15 slot, 1.0" pitch sub-rack, with dimensions specified in the VITA 48 Standard
  • the circuit board modules are 3U, 1.0" pitch plug-in units, with dimensions specified in the VITA 48 Standard

 

Q: Is there a time range that the robot has to successfully replace the circuit board? (Example: It takes the robot ten seconds to complete the task)

A: The time range to replace the circuit board should be less than five minutes

 

Q: Are there any power consumption requirements? (Example: The whole system may not use more than 12 volts of power)

A: No power consumption requirements at this stage. However, the power should be minimized since this is an application for use in space

 

Q: Is there a maximum weight restriction for the whole system? 

A: No maximum weight requirements. However, the weight should be minimized since this is an application for use in space

 


Fresh Produce Sanitation System for Use in Microgravity

Q: What types of contamination are to be detected during testing? 


A: We are mainly interested in bacteria and fungi. Viruses might be present in some cases, either already in the plant seeds and material or possibly from human contact, but we have not tracked viruses. For ISS food safety we look at specific pathogens (Enterobacteriacea, Salmonella., Aspergillus flavus) and total culturable microorganisms characterized by total aerobic plate counts and total yeast and mold counts.

 

Q: Are we expected to treat only bacterial contamination or fungal contamination as well? 


A: Yes to both.

 

Q: What is deemed to be a safe concentration of bacteria? 


A: There are no generic standards for fresh produce. We are using the closest approximate standards – those for non-thermostabilized foods. Those standards are less than 1000 colony-forming units per gram (CFU/g) fresh tissue for yeasts and molds and less than 20,000 CFU/g for aerobic plate count. This is not referring to pathogens

 

Q: What kind of food produce are expected to be grown? 


A: We are targeting two general groups of crops: 1) Leafy greens, like lettuce, Chinese cabbage, mizuna, and 2) fruiting vegetables like cherry tomato or pepper (small bell types).. Root and stem crops like radish and onion are also under consideration

 

Q: What is the expected amount of produce to be treated daily (units, weight)? 


A: If we assume yields of 50-g plants in 35 days and the Veggie (0.15 m2 area) supporting six plants, this amounts to a little less than 10 g of fresh tissue per day from a Veggie (0.15 m2). 

 

Q: Are there any limitations on which materials may be used? 


A: Space flight materials have many constraints for operations within a crewed space vehicle, but for this prototyping effort, there is no need to be completely limited to that. Additional details can be provided during project execution to guide material selection. But a general rule is to use food grade plastics, and avoid root zone and water contact with metals other than stainless steel. 

 

Q:  Will there be an AC power source on the space station? 


A: There are limited 120 VAC outputs for the use of commercial off the shelf hardware, but 28VDC is the most prevalent interface standard for power consumption.

 

Quantification of Condensed Water on Resource Prospector

Q: Where can we find the Prospector specification, such as speed, weight, size, sensor capabilities, etc? 


A: The mission camera will be a multi-purpose camera for several applications with interchangeable lenses. Proposals can address the pixel size impact on the accuracy of the method for quantifying the water drop and any tailoring of the camera lens for this application. Camera specifications can be provided during project execution as well as select camera images from previous testing. The mission will capture still images for processing at a speed that will be determined by the mission data bandwidth limitations. For spatial reference, the droplet chamber on page 19 of the solicitation is approximately 2” in diameter



Q:  What kind of test environment would you like this project to be tested? In other words, how does NASA expect us to demonstrate the successful completion of the prototype?

A: The demonstration should include creating different size water droplets on a vertical surface in a controlled manner and then capturing images that are processed for analysis and water quantification. Ambient environment testing is sufficient for this technology demonstration. Demonstrating the ability to analyze a wide range of droplet sizes and shapes would be key to extrapolating the technique to lower gravity droplet formations.



Q: Would it be acceptable for NASA that we evaluate different concepts of condensed water sensing techniques? 

A: No, there are no plans to evaluate any new water sensors since the mission is planning to rely on images to quantify water using the multi-purpose camera.