Competition Basics

2017 htc logo

Design Constraints and Requirements

BASIC CHALLENGE

The BIG Idea Challenge seeks new concepts for constructing 200kW class SEP tugs in space using robotic assembly of modules that make up the SEP tug. The BIG Idea invites teams and their faculty advisors to work together to design and analyze potential modular concepts and systems that provide the ability to construct large SEP tugs in space. The BIG concepts can employ new approaches for packaging modules in one or more launch vehicles that minimize launch loads, modular (distributed) solar arrays and ion engines, and robust robotic assembly (joining) of the modules that form the SEP tug.

SPECIFIC GUIDELINES

Teams will design and analyze potential concepts and systems to provide the ability to achieve a 200kW SEP tug for transferring payloads between LEO to LDRO and LDRO to LEO. The space components are to be launched on one (or more) commercially available launch vehicle(s) as of April 2016. Aggregation and assembly of the SEP vehicle components will take place in LEO.

CONSTRAINTS

      The time required to assembly the SEP tug should be less than 60 days.
      The SEP solar array area should produce 200kW at beginning of life.
      Module joints and arrays must react loads up to 0.4 g’s of acceleration.
      The fundamental flexible body vibration mode should be 0.05 Hz or higher.
      Design concepts should be extensible to 500kW SEP tugs for deep space missions.

For all BIG Idea Projects, attention should be given to the following:

      Design simplicity
      Low system mass
      Ground testability of the assembly process
      System level modularity
      Packaging for launch for the least number of launches
      Concept of operations for robotic assembly and module deployment
      Ability to remove and replace modules
Eligibility

The BIG Idea Challenge is open to teams of undergraduate and graduate students studying in fields applicable to human space exploration (i.e., aerospace, electrical, and mechanical engineering; and life, physical, and computer sciences). Teams may include senior capstone students, clubs, multi-university teams, or multi-disciplinary teams.

UNIVERSITY DESIGN TEAMS MUST INCLUDE

      Team sizes vary widely, but must contain, at a minimum, one faculty or industry advisor with a university affiliation at a U.S.-based institution, and 3 students from a U.S.-based university who work on the project and present at the BIG Idea Forum, each of whom must be U.S. citizens.
      One faculty adviser is required to attend the Forum with each team, and is a condition for acceptance into the competition

        Teams who do not have a faculty advisor present at the BIG Idea Forum will be disqualified from competing and stipends will be subject to return to NIA.

TEAM SIZE LIMIT
Team size is limited to a maximum of 5 team members. (Minimum of 3 students)

FOREIGN STUDENTS/UNIVERSITIES
Because this is a NASA-sponsored competition, eligibility is limited to students from universities in the United States.

Foreign universities are not eligible to participate in the 2017 BIG Idea Challenge. However, foreign students who are attending a U.S.-based university are eligible to participate with their team.

Please note there is always the possibility that foreign nationals may not be granted access to attend the BIG Idea Forum on-site at NASA Langley Research Center (LaRC), due to ever-changing NASA security regulations. Additionally, because NASA has a strict policy that all interns must be U.S. Citizens, foreign nationals are ineligible to receive the top prize (an internship offer at LaRC).

Evaluation/Scoring

JUDGES/STEERING COMMITTEE
The judges’ panel is comprised of NASA and industry experts who will evaluate and score the competition between participating teams. Design projects will be evaluated and judged based on adherence to the guidelines and constraints.

All BIG Idea Projects should give special attention to:

      Design Simplicity
      Low system mass
      Ground testability of the assembly process
      System level modularity
      Packaging for launch for the least number of launches
      Concept of operations for robotic assembly and module deployment
      Ability to remove and replace modules

PROPOSAL EVALUATION CRITERIA

      Feasibility of proposed concept or idea, including low system mass, design simplicity, and ground testability (Max 40 pts)
      Innovative, unique and/or synergistic advanced concepts, modularity, and concept of operations for robotic assembly, module deployment and replacement, and extensibility (Max 30 pts)
      Systems analysis of requirements, including identification of challenges and issues including Technical Readiness Level (TRL) of mission-enabling technologies (Max 20 pts)
      Evidence of credible and implementable project plan (Max 5 pts)
      Concept is supported by original engineering and analysis (Max 5 pts)

TECHNICAL PAPER EVALUATION CRITERIA

      Feasibility of proposed concept or idea (Max 25 pts)
      Technical/scientific evaluation and rationale of proposed concept, including original engineering and analysis (Max 30 pts)
      Design simplicity, required system mass, and extensibility to large scale operation (Max 30 pts)
      Systems analysis of requirements, including identification of challenges and issues including TRL of mission-enabling technologies (Max 15 pts)

ORAL PRESENTATION EVALUATION CRITERIA

      Technical/scientific evaluation and rationale of proposed concept, including original engineering and analysis (Max 30 pts)
      Design simplicity, required system mass, number of launches for 200kW system, and extensibility to 500 kW system (Max 30 pts)
      Systems analysis of requirements, including identification of challenges and issues -including TRL of mission-enabling technologies (Max 15 pts)
      Quality of summary of production and testing approach (Max 15 pts)
      Quality of presentation (including style; presence of teamwork and integration; quality of response to question; and engagement with judges) (Max 10 pts)
Prizes & Stipends

Teams presenting at the BIG Idea Forum will receive a monetary award to facilitate full participation in the Forum.

The top overall winning team will be awarded with offers to participate in future internships with the Game Changing Development Program team at the NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton, VA.

Resources


Are you eligible & interested in competing?