The 2020 Revolutionary Aerospace Systems Concepts – Academic Linkage (RASC-AL) Competition is seeking proposals for new concepts that leverage innovations for NASA’s Artemis Moon program and future human missions to Mars. NASA’s RASC-AL Competition is a collegiate-level engineering design challenge that allows students to incorporate their coursework into real aerospace design concepts and work together in a team environment. With over a decade of history, the RASC-AL Competition is one of NASA’s longest running and most robust student competitions. 

This year’s RASC-AL themes range from expanding on how we use current and future assets in cis-lunar space to designing systems and architectures for exploring the Moon and Mars. For the first time in RASC-AL history, teams have the choice of responding to one of five themes:

  • Theme 1: South Pole Multi-Purpose Rover
  • Theme 2: International Space Station (ISS) as a Mars Mission Analog
  • Theme 3: Short Surface Stay Mars Mission
  • Theme 4: Commercial Cislunar Space Development
  • Theme 5: Autonomous Utilization and Maintenance for Science Payloads on the Gateway and/or Mars-class Transportation
  • Proof of concept via an advanced VR simulation or prototype of the proposed capability will be required of Theme 5 finalists, in lieu of the poster session. Up to $5,000 in extra stipend funding will be available for prototype development in Theme 5 only.

Interested student teams and their faculty advisors should submit an online Notice of Intent by October 15, 2019 and submit proposals and videos by March 5, 2020.

Respondents are asked to pay special attention to the following proposal expectations:

  • Synergistic applications of NASA’s planned current investments.
  • Supporting engineering analysis
  • Unique combinations of the planned elements with new innovative approaches / capabilities / technologies to support crewed and robotic exploration of the solar system.
  • Realistic assessment of costs for technology maturation, system development, and production and operations.

Based on review of the team proposal and video submissions in March, up to 15 teams will be selected to advance 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 2020 RASC-AL Forum in Cocoa Beach, Florida next June.

Each finalist team will receive a $6,000 stipend to facilitate full participation in the RASC-AL Forum. The top two overall winning teams will be awarded with additional travel stipends to present their concept at an aerospace conference in 2020.

We have created a printable 2020 RASC-AL Flyer which contains more information about this year’s challenge and is ideal for posting in classrooms and departmental bulletin boards.

For full competition details, including complete theme and submission guidelines, please visit the RASC-AL Website:

Participating students have 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.

If you have any questions, please contact the RASC-AL Program Team:

-The RASC-AL Program Team: Shelley Spears, Stacy Dees, & Victoria “Tori” O’Leary