AEM Senior Design Team participates in the RASC-AL design challenge

An AEM Senior Design team participated in the final round of NASA’s RASC-AL Design competition in Cocoa Beach, Florida on May 31-June 2. RASC-AL is a full mission architecture engineering design competition that takes place at the university level. The 2017 competition focused on the development of innovative architecture that helps to support NASA’s goal of improving our ability to work more effectively in microgravity.

Team members, Josh Hagood, Bobby Nguyen, Seth Willing, Vaughn Weirens, Michael Schmidt, and Keegan Clay presented their work in the Airlock Design theme of the competition, which focused on designing an airlock system that can be incorporated or attached to a deep space habitat by 2021.

The teams Deep Space Airlock, “Janus” had a simple design plan: to take what is already known to work in airlock systems and to develop innovative solutions that make it possible for deep space missions. Some of these innovations included improving the power efficiency of the aircraft, developing an internal configuration to support NASA’s Z2 suit, and designing a rack that allows for spacesuits to slide out or easier access. More information about the “Janus”here.

RASC_AL group Left: The team presenting their work

The final round consisted of 14 teams (out of 40+ who entered), who each had the opportunity to present their work to panel of industry experts. Teams with the top two papers in the competition were then invited to present their design projects at a major Aerospace Conference, such as AIAA Space 2017.

Although the University of Minnesota team did not win in their theme, they walked away from the competition with many lifelong skills, a broader knowledge of Aerospace design, and useful connections.

“The competition for me, was a large social networking event. You met with fellow students in the STEM field and spoke about how they got into the competition, their plans and next steps. The judges and other staff were around and always willing to talk as well,” says team lead Bobby Nguyen.

The Department congratulates the team on their hard-work and dedication throughout this extensive project.