NASA RASC-AL Competition 2019

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NASA RASC-AL Competition 2019

NASA is working with commercial and international partners to develop the Gateway. With RASC-AL that managed by the National Institute of Aerospace on behalf of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, NASA is now offering applications for the 2019 RASC-AL Competition.

The competition is open to undergraduate and graduates university-level students studying fields with applications to human space exploration (i.e., aerospace, biomedical, electrical, and mechanical engineering; and life, physical, and computer sciences).

RASC-AL is seeking undergraduate and graduate teams to develop new concepts that leverage innovations that improve their ability to access and explore destinations in cis-lunar space via the Gateway.

Who May Eligible:

To eligible, the candidates must be following all the eligibility criteria:

  • RASC-AL has graduate and undergraduate competition divisions.
  • Students studying in any major related to the RASC-AL topics (generally science, medicine, engineering, technology, or mathematics) are most fitted to the challenge.
  • Students must be enrolled in an accredited U.S.-based university program may participate.
  • Students and faculty advisors from community colleges are also eligible to participate.
  • Teams may include senior capstone students, clubs, multi-university teams, or multi-disciplinary teams.
  • Foreign Students/Universities:
    • Foreign students or universities can participate only as team-members/collaborators with a U.S.-led Team.
    • The U.S. team will be the primary POC and will determine how/if the participation stipend will be distributed to international partners teams for travel to the forum.
  • Team Categories: Undergraduate and Graduate:
    • A team is classified as an “undergraduate team” if the majority of the student members are undergraduate students. Similarly, a team is classified as a “graduate team” if the majority of the student members are graduate students.
  • 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 2 students from a U.S.-based university who work on the project and present at the RASC-AL Forum.
    • There is no limit to the number of participants on each team, however, please contact the program staff if you plan to bring more than 12 participants to the RASC-AL Forum so all attendees may be accommodated.
    • One faculty advisor is required to attend the Forum with each team and is a condition for acceptance into the RASC-AL Competition.
    • Teams who do not have a faculty advisor present at the annual RASC-AL Forum will be disqualified from competing and travel stipends will be subject to return to NIA.
  • International students allowed to participate: As long as they are affiliated/partnering with a US university. Neither NASA nor NIA provides assistance in matching foreign universities with US-universities. All teams must establish themselves independently.

How to Apply & Competitions Rules:

To participate, the applicants must submit an online application form through the given link:


  • Theme (Printable Themes): Through RASC-AL, teams and their faculty advisors will design innovative solutions with supporting original engineering and analysis in response to one of the following themes:
    • Theme 1: Gateway Logistics as a Science Platform
    • Theme 2: Gateway-based Cis-Lunar Tug
    • Theme 3: Gateway-based Human Lunar Surface Access
    • Theme 4: Gateway Uncrewed Utilization & Operations
  • RASC-AL projects allow students to incorporate their coursework into real aerospace design concepts and work together in a team environment. Interdisciplinary teams are encouraged.
  • Notes for all RASC-AL Projects: Attention should be given to the following:
    • Synergistic applications of NASA’s planned current investments.
    • Unique combinations of the planned elements with new innovative capabilities/technologies to support crewed and robotic exploration of the solar system.
    • A realistic assessment of costs for technology maturation, system development, and production and operations.
    • Helpful Resources: Teams should thoroughly review the documents on the recommended reading list found on the RASC-AL Resources Page.


  • In 2019, up to 14 teams may be chosen to compete at the RASC-AL Forum in Cocoa Beach, Florida. Each team presenting at the Forum will receive a monetary award to facilitate full participation in the RASC-AL Forum.
  • The top two overall winning teams will be awarded a travel stipend to present their concept at an aerospace conference, such as AIAA Space 2019 or IAC 2019. (additional travel stipends provided).
  • Other Recognition Awards may include:
    • First Place – Undergraduate
    • First Place – Graduate
    • Best in Theme
    • The PEACH award
  • The Peach Award
    • Lewis Peach served as the Chairman of the RASC-AL Steering Committee for more than a decade as an inspirational leader, mentor, and friend.
    • To honor Lewis’ ever-present, inspiring love of space exploration and learning, and for his enduring commitment to innovation and excellence, an annual RASC-AL innovation award has been established and will bear his name as the “Pioneering Exceptional Achievement Concept Honor” Award.”
    • The PEACH will recognize the most innovative idea or meaningful concept presented at the RASC-AL Forum.
    • This award represents the incredible accomplishments Lewis made to space exploration and links to the future promise of bright RASC-AL students who will hopefully follow in Lewis’ footsteps, blazing new trails for space exploration.

Application Deadline:

The application deadline is January 17, 2019, at 11:59 PM EST.

Apply Now

If you have any questions regarding the competition, direct RASC-AL inquiries to the RASC-AL Program team at

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