Brand new (launched in Oct. 2015), NU RASCAL replaces the Microgravity Team, which disbanded less than a year after a successful experiment on the Vomit Comet when NASA canceled their student flight program. NU RASCAL aims to expand NUSTARS' coverage beyond the very hands-on rocketry and high-altitude balloon teams and into more theory-focused aerospace design and mission planning. New members of all backgrounds are always welcome (after all, excellent space mission design requires knowledge of financing, space history, education, and politics, too)!
Having just started this school-year (2015-16), NU RASCAL is currently focused on building up a base of interested and committed team members and developing familiarity with the principles of aerospace design and mission planning. So, while the team is not entering the competition this year, a couple themes (Lunar Ice-Trap and 1G Space Station) have been chosen to further explore at a more relaxed pace as a sort of "trial-run" for entering next year's 2017 competition. Team members will investigate specific research topics related to the themes (for example, making hydrogen and oxygen fuel from ice, how to estimate a space mission budget, etc.) in order to become familiar with the type of research and deliverables that the RASCAL competition, and space mission design in general, require.
For more information, feel free to contact team leader Newlin Weatherford at: firstname.lastname@example.org (email) or 414-250-6567 (mobile)
NASA's Revolutionary Aerospace Systems Concepts - Academic Linkage (RASCAL) engineering design competition challenges teams of university students to craft innovative exploration approaches and mission designs in order to address one of four annual "themes."
For example, the 2016 themes involve outlining the design, budget, and mission planning of one of the below:
(1) Crew-Tended Co-Orbiting ISS Facility (An independent space station to help develop private space companies' manned space exploration programs)
(2) Lunar Ice-Trap ISRU Mining, Processing and Storage Infrastructure (An infrastructure that mines and breaks down lunar ice into oxygen and hydrogen fuel)
(3) Crewed Mars Moons Missions (A mission to one or both of Mars' moons, Phobos and Deimos)
(4) Earth-Independent 1G Space Station (Exactly what it sounds like - totally awesome!)
After initial team selection based on submitted abstracts' quality and a short mid-project review, 16 finalists will be invited to attend (travel expenses paid) the multi-day RASCAL forum in Cocoa Beach Florida (late June). At the forum, teams will turn in an up-to 15 page report and give a 30 minute presentation to a panel of NASA and industry judges. The best team for each theme will be determined and the top two overall teams will be invited (expenses paid) to further attend and present at an aerospace conference. The forum also includes fun activities (beach volleyball!) and educational/networking events with aerospace professionals.
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