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EDUCATION: DESIGN CHALLENGES/COMPETITIONS
NASA DESIGN CHALLENGES AND COMPETITIONS
Competitions that challenge students to create design/build solutions to real-world problems are a proven method for engaging youth in technical disciplines. NASA offers a number of aeronautics or aerospace engineering competitions.

U.S. University Design Challenge: All-Electric General Aviation VehicleNew!
Electrically powered aircraft have the potential to revolutionize the way we travel. Yet, the largest drawback has been the onboard energy storage system – namely, its weight, cost, and logistical needs. The challenge is to design an all-electric (i.e., no combustion) general aviation aircraft capable of meeting the challenge design requirements and of being ready for operational service by 2020. Letters of intent are due January 16, 2015. Final entries are due May 8, 2015.
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NASA Aeronautics Previous Student Competitions
Each school year, NASA aeronautics challenges high school and college students from around the world to present their best designs and solutions for meeting a real-world aviation challenge. This section includes links to lists, images and design concepts from previous competition winners.
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NASA Systems Engineering Award
Sponsored in conjunction with the SAE Aero Design competition, this award invites SAE entrants to apply systems engineering best practices to the design and development of their SAE entries, and requires the submission of two additional reports.
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Engineering Design Challenges
The Engineering Design Challenges Program connects students in their classrooms with the challenges faced by NASA engineers as they design the next generation of space vehicles, habitats, and technology.
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Unmanned Aerial Systems Airspace Operations Challenge
This challenge, formulated as part of NASA's Centennial Challenge Program, focuses on developing some of the key technologies that will make safe and routine access by UAS into the National Airspace System possible. Centennial Challenges encourage the participation of independent teams, individual inventors, student groups and private companies of all sizes in aerospace research and development. The UAS AOC challenge is a combined effort of NASA's Office of the Chief Technologist, the NASA Aeronautics Research Institute, NASA's Space Technology Mission Directorate and NASA's Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate.
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NASA-PARTNERED DESIGN CHALLENGES AND COMPETITIONS
NASA believes in the value that hands-on engineering challenges provide to students. These contests offer undergraduate and graduate students tremendous opportunities to acquire practical engineering experiences, have a lot of fun, make new friends, and participate in exciting, competitive environments. NASA is proud to partner with these organizations in support of their student events.

American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME)
Student Design Competition (SDC)
This general design competition requires collegiate-level student teams to design and build a device to accomplish a specific task, from a remotely-controlled vehicle that retrieves small rocks to a device that lobs 30 baseballs into three targets.
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American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Human Powered Vehicle Challenge
Students are challenged to build aerodynamic, highly engineered vehicles that run on human power. Vehicles may be for use on land, in the water, or the air.
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Real World Design Challenge: The Aviation Challenge
Students in grades 9-12 get the opportunity to work on real-world engineering challenges in a team environment. Student teams are asked to address a challenge that confronts leading industries such as air transportation. NASA provides mentors and judges for the state and national competitions. Other agency partners include the Department of Education, Department of Energy, Department of Transportation, Federal Aviation Administration, Department of Defense, the Air Force Research Laboratories, and other state and federal partners. Industry partners include Boeing, Cessna, Lockheed Martin, Northrup Grumman, Parametric Technology Corporation, and others. Registration for the 2012-2013 Challenge is closed. Registration for each year's Challenge typically opens September 1.
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+ Read about the RWDC 2012-2013 Challenge on Small Unmanned Aerial Systems [PDF]

SAE International
The Aero Design Competition*
This competition provides undergraduate and graduate engineering students with a real-life engineering exercise by challenging them to conceive, design, build, and test a radio-controlled aircraft that meets optimal mission requirements.
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*NASA Systems Engineering Award
Sponsored in conjunction with the SAE Aero Design competition, this award invites SAE entrants to apply systems engineering best practices to the design and development of their SAE entries, and requires the submission of two additional reports.
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OTHER DESIGN CHALLENGES AND COMPETITIONS
These student competitions are managed by professional societies or other organizations outside of NASA.

American Helicopter Society (AHS)
AHS/Industry Annual Student Design Competition Award
AHS International, in cooperation with the major U.S. helicopter manufacturers, conducts an annual helicopter design competition to promote collegiate-level student interest in vertical flight.
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Aerospace Industries Association (AIA)
Team America Rocketry Challenge
This challenge, sponsored by the AIA and the National Association of Rocketry, engages students in Grades 7-12 team competitions to design, build, and fly a model rocket.
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American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA)
Design/Build/Fly Competition
The Design/Build/Fly competition is one of the most popular annual competitions sponsored by the AIAA, which offers a number of design competitions that ask undergraduate and graduate students to solve real-world design problems, from new jet propulsion systems to designs for unmanned aerial vehicles.
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Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)
Airport Design Competition for Universities
This new competition engages undergraduate and graduate students at U.S. colleges in addressing a Technical Challenge related to today's airports, including airport operation and maintenance, runway safety/runway incursions, or airport environmental interactions.
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Editor: Karen Rugg
NASA Official: Tony Springer
Last Updated: November 4, 2014
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