eXploration Habitat (X-Hab) Academic Innovation Challenge 2012: FAQ

  1. Is the Notice of Intent Binding?
    No.  Section 4.3 of the solicitation states that although not required, it is highly encouraged that prospective proposers submit a notice of intent to propose.  Therefore, since it is not required it is not binding.


  2. Must the design course be a two semester course or may it be a one semester course with the other semester being outside of the class?
    Yes.  In section 3.1 of the solicitation specifically states that it is a two-semester design course.  The intent of this requirement is so that the students and faculty have adequate devoted time to perform the proposed work.  Understanding that all universities do not have a two semester design course in their catalog, it is acceptable for a team to propose that one of the two required semester courses be an independent study course in which the students receive credit hours.


  3. What is entailed in the OEPM reporting?
    Award recipients will be required to complete several short performance reports for the NASA Office of Education including a profile form for each participating student.


  4. For the human powered vehicle may other sources of energy be incorporated? For example, solar power, battery power, etc.
    The intent of this project is for the vehicle to be human powered, but we are intentionally leaving the project open so that the teams can think out of the box to deliver an innovative solution.


  5. For the human powered vehicle you require that four vehicles be delivered. Do they need to be four identical vehicles or may they all be different?
    The "spirit" of this project is to devise four functioning human-powered EVA vehicles that a four-person crew may use concurrently. However, at this juncture the various vehicles may not necessarily be identical. The exact nature of the requirement is purposely a little vague so as to not unnecessarily constrain the creativity of the student teams.


  6. When will a full set of requirements be given for the projects?
    Full specifications for each project are located in the solicitation. Winning proposals will be teamed with NASA technical experts in your posed area for the completion of the work.


  7. Is the intent of the 2012 competition that there would be multiple awards for a single project with a head to head competition or awards for different projects with each one standing on its own merit?
    It is the intent of the 2010 competition that each award that is made will stand on its own. No, head-to-head competition will take place.


  8. May a university apply for more than one project? If so, do they need to be connected to the same course?
    Yes, there is no limit as to the number of proposals that a university and/or principal investigator may apply for. Multiple proposals from the same university and or principal investigator do not necessarily have to be conducted via the same design course.


  9. Will universities who are finalists in the 2011 X-Hab be eligible for the 2012 competition?
    Yes, universities that received 2011 X-Hab awards are eligible to participate in the 2012 solicitation.


  10. May a university or principal investigator propose for more than one topic?
    Yes. The solicitation does not contain any restrictions on the number of proposals that a single university or principal investigator may submit.


  11. May a university or principal investigator propose for multiple unrelated projects?
    Yes. The solicitation does not contain any restrictions as the number of topic of proposals that may be submitted by a single university or principal investigator.


  12. If a university or principal investigator is chooses to respond to multiple areas of the solicitation may they submit a single unified proposal to address two or more specific topics together, or does each topic have to be addressed through a separate proposal?
    The principal investigator should submit multiple proposals. However, if the various proposed topics are related in a single proposed product, the topics can be combined in a single proposal.


  13. Can you clarify on the shipping location of NEEMO for the underwater topics, and whether this involves any extraordinary shipping requirements that we need to know to budget for?
    NEEMO is located in Florida. A normal address will be supplied for the teams for shipping.


  14. For Topic 1, are you looking for interior accommodations in the underwater habitat mockup, or only replication of the overall shell volumetric constraints?
    The wet-hab should be proposed as an easily reconfigurable shell that can accommodate internal outfitting for the purpose of performing a variety of neutral buoyancy investigations related to a zero-g environment. Further details regarding the wet-hab will evolve as the selected X-Hab team and NASA team interact.


  15. For Topic 2, how much of the suitport are you looking to be delivered? Does this include the suit simulator? How about the airlock module containing the suitport?
    The wet-suitport should be proposed as an easily reconfigurable shell that can accommodate neutral buoyancy approximations of suitports, for the purpose of performing a variety of neutral buoyancy investigations related to a zero-g environment. Further details regarding the wet-suitport will evolve as the selected X-Hab team and NASA team interact.


  16. For underwater topics, are there any safety requirements that we should be aware of? (For example, visibility through the panels of the structure, air venting through the structure, removable panels for emergency egress, passage of externally supplied air lines, etc.) Is it desirable for the structure itself to be neutrally buoyant?
    The underwater elements are not pressurized, but are volumetric / configurationally reconfigurable shells that allow for neutral buoyancy demonstrations and investigations. Safety requirements will evolve as the selected X-Hab team and NASA team interact.


  17. In reference to the "Description", please define the mobility limitations of a planetary surface spacesuit.
    Mobility limitations of a planetary spacesuit will be provided to selected X-Hab teams. Proposals need not go into that detail yet.


  18. This "Description" also states that this EVA Local Mobility system will be “without the…mass of a larger…vehicle.” Please define the size limitations/restrictions for the mobility system.
    One definition might be a system that can easily be lifted, carried, and manipulated by a single crewmember (such as a bicycle). However, X-Hab teams are encouraged to think “outside the box” and not consider this as a hard requirement.


  19. In reference to the "Expected Product (Delivery Item)", the solicitation states that “four fully functional units will be integrated with the HDU”. Do all four units have to be identical? Are variations between the four units accepted/allowed?
    Identical or diverse units may be proposed. Details will emerge during the design process and interaction between X-Hab team and NASA team.


  20. Shall these mobility units be designed specifically for Mars, the Moon, or both (in addition to “rocky desert terrain”)?
    Any planetary surface.


  21. Would it be acceptable to consider a pogo stick type mobility platform – or is this thinking too far outside the box?
    Anything goes.


  22. May the vehicle be designed with appropriate life support so that a spacesuit is not required while operating/propelling the vehicle?
    Such a vehicle concept is not consistent with the spirit of the topic, however X-Hab design teams are encouraged to be creative and if a compelling design presents itself it will be considered.


  23. Do the human powered mobility systems require life support systems or are they to be used with a spacesuit?
    For this solicitation the mobility systems are to be used with an astronaut wearing a spacesuit


  24. Are you required to provide a list of students that are going to be involved in the project at the time of the proposal submission?
    A list of participating students is not required at the time of the proposal.


  25. Who owns the equipment after the demonstration?
    In most cases the equipment that is selected for funding will belong to NASA after the contract is completed. However, in the case of HDU-lite, the universities would be able to keep the module, and deliver the design package to NASA.


  26. Is the cost of the fabricated equipment included in the budget?
    The principal investigator may choose to include the cost of purchasing and/or fabricating the required equipment in their proposed budget. If additional funds are required to complete the project it is the responsibility of the selected university to secure these funds from sources other than this solicitation.


  27. Do we need to conform to the current atrium concept for food production?
    You are not restricted to the atrium concept. X-Hab design teams are encouraged to “think outside of the box”.