University Student Design Challenge at NASA’s Glenn Research Center 2018-19

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University Student Design Challenge at NASA’s Glenn Research Center 2018-19

Applications are open for the University Student Design Challenge at NASA’s Glenn Research Center 2018-19. The competition is open to teams of full-time undergraduate students who are juniors or seniors enrolled at accredited U.S. academic institutions and are majoring in multidisciplinary majors in science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics (STEAM) disciplines.

The University Student Design Challenge (USDC)–3 is also open to students majoring in economics, marketing, graphic arts, or other disciplines that would aid in the successful execution of the Challenge projects.

Who May Eligible:

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

  • Each team must comprise full-time undergraduate students in their junior or senior year.
  • Be enrolled in an accredited U.S. (including Puerto Rico) academic institution.
  • Have a U.S. citizen as Team Lead/Point of Contact (POC).
  • Other members of each team must be U.S. citizens or a combination of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents of the United States.
  • Attend the Virtual Kickoff Meeting of their focused aeronautics or space project.
  • Comprise a minimum of three individuals.
  • Have Team Leads/POCs register all team members through their academic institution no later than 11:59 p.m. EST on October 17, 2018.
  • Have an on-campus faculty member volunteer serving as an advisor for the complete duration of the USDC–3.

How to Apply & Competitions Rules:

Faculty Advisor: All faculty advisors must register via e-mail,

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


Design Requirements

  • Each competing team shall incorporate, to the extent possible, the following features in their design of the air vehicle and propulsion attributes:
    • The reduced footprint for urban operation through use of ducted fans for extremely low noise and short-range intermodal flight to minimize onboard power
    • Compatibility with existing infrastructure, exemplified by all-electric charging at metro rail stations and necessity for low-carbon emission
    • Public confidence in flight safety via the use of a ducted fan for powered lift
  • The submitted design shall include
    • Definition of the mission (sample city or cities) and specification (payload, range, and speed)
    • Information on vehicle design and specification
    • Considerations for noise (abatement)
  • Each team shall provide the following items for use in FY18 USDC–2 news and social media announcements:
    • Team Project Video:
      • A 2- to 3-minute video that shows the team building or developing their design from start to finish. Use creativity to tell the story of your project.
      • Avoid having one person speaking to the camera the entire time.
      • Do not send a video version of a PowerPoint presentation.
      • Send video as an MP4 file to a medium that will be identified at a later date (e.g., Dropbox or Google Drive). Due date is April 13, 2018.
    • photos:
      • 1 photo of the team with the faculty advisor and 1 photo of the team in action (e.g., creating design drawings, charts, or quantitative figures).
      • Photos should be at least 1200 pixels wide by 600 pixels high.
      • Photos cannot be a blurry or low resolution.
      • No file sizes greater than 3MB.

Submission Requirements: Each team must follow the submission guidelines below.


  • Format Each team’s written report must not exceed 30 pages and must be received via email by the GRC Office of Education no later than 11:59 p.m. EST on April 13, 2018.
  • The report shall follow the template in Appendix B.
  • Presentation and document submissions shall be in Adobe portable document format (PDF) or PowerPoint (PPT), although PDF is preferred.
  • Any handwritten or drawn document(s) shall be scanned and delivered via PDF with a minimum of 400 × 400 dots per inch (dpi).
  • Presentation

Presentation Package

  • Each Presentation Package shall include a cover page bearing the title of the Presentation Package, each team member’s name, the faculty advisor’s name, the academic affiliation and location, and express reference to “2018 GRC University Student Design Challenge (USDC–2).”
  • POCs for each team shall place their initials next to their name.


  • Each of the winning and runner-up teams and their respective faculty advisors will travel to Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio.
  • First-place teams of the Aeronautics and Space projects will present their design highlights to the GRC Director and members of the Director’s senior management staff.
  • The winning and runner-up teams will tour selected GRC facilities and network with GRC personnel following the presentations.
  • Travel expenses of up to $5,000 per team will be awarded to the winning and runner-up teams if their academic institutions are located outside a 50-mile radius of GRC.

Application Deadline:

The team POC must register their team by October 17, 2018, no later than 11:59 p.m., EST

Apply Now

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