X-Hab Academic Innovation Competition - 2011

eXploration Habitat (X-Hab) Academic Innovation Challenge LogoThe X-Hab Academic Innovation Competition is a university level competition designed to engage and retain students in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) disciplines. NASA will directly benefit from the competition by sponsoring the development of innovative habitat inflatable loft concepts from universities which may result in innovative ideas and solutions that could be applied to exploration habitats. The challenge is for a senior and graduate level design course in which students will design, manufacture, assemble, and test an inflatable loft that will be integrated onto an existing NASA built operational hard shell prototype.

In June of 2011 the NASA-Habitat Demonstration Unit (HDU) Project will conduct a head-to-head competition for successfully designing and demonstrating an attachable inflatable habitat “Loft” (2nd level attachable) concept given a list of requirements for the design. Universities may collaborate together on a Project Team. Up to three project teams will be selected for funding. The head-to-head competition will determine the winner that will be awarded additional funds to integrate their design with the HDU-Lab during the August-September 2011 HDU-Hab/Lab integrated field testing. The objectives of this challenge are to engage and inspire the next generation of innovative engineers and the successful design, manufacture, and demonstration of inflatable habitat loft. Concepts are to be self-deploying in a specified time, will install to a standard interface on NASA’s hard shell Lab, and will meet total mass and volume constraints in both stowed and deployed configurations. Concept shapes and sizes will be determined by the proposer while meeting the constraints of the design requirements.

The Foundation anticipates that up to three awards will be made under this solicitation for $48,000 each. Up to an additional $10,000 will be awarded to the team that wins the head-to head competition to offset their costs of participating in the HDU-Hab/Lab integrated field testing.


Proposals will be accepted from engineering faculty who are U.S. citizens and currently teach an ABET accredited engineering senior or graduate design, industrial design, or architecture curriculum teaming at a US accredited university.

Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Tribal Colleges and other minority serving educational institutions are particularly encouraged to apply. Proposals from women, members of under-represented minorities groups, and persons with disabilities are highly encouraged.

Proposal Information