Five university teams will submit concepts for in-space spacecraft assembly as part of a challenge sponsored by the Game-Changing Development Program of NASA‘s space technology mission directorate.
NASA said Dec. 16 one team each from Tulane University and University of Colorado Boulder, two from University of Maryland and one combined team from Georgia Institute of Technology, University of Texas at Austin and New York University will participate in the 2017 Breakthrough, Innovative and Game-changing Idea Challenge.
The university teams will present their final concepts on in-space assembly of solar electric propulsion-driven spacecraft that work to transfer payloads from low-Earth orbit to a lunar distant retrogade orbit, the space agency added.
“NASA plans to work with the students and their faculty advisors in development of their concepts to support space exploration beyond low Earth orbit,” said Keith Belvin, principal technologist for materials, nanotechnology and structures at NASA’s space technology mission directorate.
In-space assembly aims to address challenges regarding launch mass and limitations in space structure size, NASA said.
The demonstration of the final concepts will be held at the 2017 BIG Idea Forum at Langley Research Center from Feb. 15 to 16.