NASA 2018 RASC-AL Competition

The 2018 RASC-AL competition is seeking concepts that leverage innovations to improve our ability to travel between Earth and other destinations, using the framework for NASA’s Deep Space Transport (DST). Successful proposals will demonstrate comprehensive engineering analysis of innovative capabilities and/or new technologies for evolutionary architecture development to enable future missions, reduce cost, and/or improve safety.

Teams that are selected will receive a $6,000 stipend to facilitate participation in the 

2018 RASC-AL Forum held in Cocoa Beach, Florida in June. 

Student teams and their faculty advisors are invited to submit abstract and video proposals by January 21, 2018, responding to one of the following themes:

  • Reusable Hybrid Propulsion Stage
  • Artificial Gravity Reusable Crewed Deep Space Transport
  • Propellant Resupply Capability
  • Lunar Polar Sample Return Architecture

Based on review of the team abstract and video proposal submissions, the RASC-AL Steering Committee will select up to twenty teams to move to the next stage of the competition.  After evaluating Mid-Project Reviews in March, the Steering Committee will narrow the competition field and invite 12-16 teams to move to the final phase of the competition ­ presenting their concepts to a panel of NASA and industry judges in a competitive design review at the RASC-AL Forum in Cocoa Beach, Florida.

The two top scoring teams will be invited to present their design and analysis projects to government and industry experts at a major Aerospace conference, such as AIAA Space 2018 (additional travel stipends provided).

For your convenience, we have included a printable flyer describing the 2018 RASC-AL Challenge themes. For complete information on the 2018 RASC-AL Design Competition, visit


October 15, 2017: Notice of Intent deadline
January 21, 2018: Abstract and video proposal deadline
February 2, 2018: 1st down-select is made
April 1, 2018: Mid-Project Review
April 13, 2018: Final down-select is made
May 31, 2018: Technical paper deadline
June 1821, 2018: 2018 RASC-AL Forum

We encourage you to involve your undergraduate and graduate students in this competition, which gives them the opportunity to: interact with NASA and industry experts; develop relationships that could lead to participation in other NASA student research programs, and infuse concepts and data from RASC-AL into NASA human exploration program planning. Multi-disciplinary teams are encouraged, and as well as multi-university teams and partnerships with international institutions..

Teams are requested to submit an online Notice of Intent to compete form which can found on the RASC-AL website. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the RASC-AL Program Team at