Two UMD Teams Take Best in Theme at NASA’s RASC-AL Competition
2021 RASC-AL UMD Best in Theme Concepts MALLARD and HELPS.
Two University of Maryland (UMD) teams took “Best in Theme” for their concepts in NASA’s 2021 Revolutionary Aerospace Systems Concepts—Academic Linkage (RASC-AL) program.
Sixteen teams were chosen nationwide for this year’s competition across five themes: Durable Low-Mass Lunar Surface Habitat, Minimum Mars Ascent Vehicle, Venus Flyby Mission, Human Mission to Ceres, and Distributed Lunar Sample Aggregation, Analysis, and Return to the International Space Station.
Maryland was one of only two universities to have three teams selected as finalists to compete, and all three teams were comprised of students from the Department of Aerospace Engineering’s senior capstone course Space Systems Design (ENAE 484).
The winning Best in Theme Maryland teams were:
Category: Minimum Mars Ascent Vehicle
Mars Lightweight Low-cost Ascent Rocket Design (MALLARD)
MALLARD is a lightweight Mars Ascent Vehicle designed for a crew of two. Current MAV concepts call for a vehicle with a wet mass of 40 mt. MALLARD cuts this in half, introducing a lighter, less expensive, more flexible alternative to bringing future explorers home. MALLARD is well suited for those with migratory tendencies!
Faculty Advisors: Dave Akin, Mary Bowden, Andrew Becnel, Jarred Young
Category: Durable Low-Mass Lunar Surface Habitat
Habitat for Exploration of the Lunar Polar Surfaces (HELPS)
HELPS is a Lunar habitat mobility system capable of extending fields of operations for astronauts, with docking abilities with other habitats to create a web of interconnected bases and expand crew number accommodations.
Faculty Advisors: Dave Akin, Mary Bowden
“For 20 years, the RASC-AL program has expanded professional space exploration engineering and design thinking into the university realm, bringing new ideas, research and design to the table to further NASA and industry progress toward Artemis and push the boundaries for human travel beyond the Moon into the farther reaches of space.”
All of this year’s team’s projects can all be viewed online on the RASC-AL 2021 Forum.
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