NASA has invited university student teams and their faculty advisers to design and analyze concepts that utilize modular space systems and robotic technology for in-space spacecraft assembly.
NASA’s Game Changing Development Program and the National Institute of Aerospace seek ideas for the development of tugs that are powered by solar electric propulsion and would work to transfer payloads to a lunar distant retrograde orbit from low Earth orbit, NASA said Tuesday.
The quest is part of the 2017 Breakthrough, Innovative and Game-changing Idea Challenge and interested participants are required to submit proposals by Nov. 30.
NASA said a panel of experts will select four finalist teams to submit technical papers on their concepts and prepare a presentation for the BIG Idea Forum in February, for which they will get a $6,000 stipend.
The space agency added it will offer the winning team paid internships with the GCD team at the Langley Research Center to develop and mature their concept.
A few concepts NASA wants participants to use in the challenge include approaches for packaging modules to minimize the loads of launch vehicles, modular solar arrays and ion engines as well as robotic assembly of the modules that constitute the SEP tug.