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      High school and collegiate student teams gathered just north of NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, to participate in the agency’s annual Student Launch competition April 13. Credits: NASA/Charles Beason Over 1,000 students from across the U.S. and Puerto Rico launched high-powered, amateur rockets on April 13, just north of NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, as part of the agency’s annual Student Launch competition.
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      “These bright students rise to a nine-month challenge that tests their skills in engineering, design, and teamwork,” said Kevin McGhaw, director of NASA’s Office of STEM Engagement Southeast Region. “They are the Artemis Generation, the future scientists, engineers, and innovators who will lead us into the future of space exploration.”
      NASA announced the University of Notre Dame is the overall winner of the agency’s 2024 Student Launch challenge, followed by Iowa State University, and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. A complete list challenge winners can be found on the agency’s student launch web page.
      Each year NASA implements a new payload challenge to reflect relevant missions. This year’s payload challenge is inspired by the Artemis missions, which seek to land the first woman and first person of color on the Moon.
      The complete list of award winners are as follows:
      2024 Overall Winners
      First place: University of Notre Dame, Indiana Second place: Iowa State University, Ames Third place: University of North Carolina at Charlotte 3D Printing Award:
      College Level:
      First place: University of Tennessee Chattanooga Middle/High School Level:
      First place: First Baptist Church of Manchester, Manchester, Connecticut Altitude Award
      College Level:
      First place: Iowa State University, Ames Middle/High School Level:
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      College Level:
      First place: New York University, Brooklyn, New York Middle/High School Level:
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      College Level:
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      Middle/High School Level:
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      College Level:
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      College Level:
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      College Level:
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      First place: University of Colorado Boulder Middle/High School Level:
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      Middle/High School Level:
      First place: Young Engineers in Action, LaPalma, California Second place: Cedar Falls High School, Cedar Falls, Iowa Third place: Spring Grove Area High School, Spring Grove, Pennsylvania Student Launch is one of NASA’s nine Artemis Student Challenges, activities which connect student ingenuity with NASA’s work returning to the Moon under Artemis in preparation for human exploration of Mars.
      The competition is managed by Marshall’s Office of STEM Engagement (OSTEM). Additional funding and support are provided by NASA’s OSTEM via the Next Gen STEM project, NASA’s Space Operations Mission Directorate, Northrup Grumman, National Space Club Huntsville, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, National Association of Rocketry, Relativity Space, and Bastion Technologies.
      To watch the full virtual awards ceremony, please visit NASA Marshall’s YouTube channel.
      For more information about Student Launch, visit:
      https://www.nasa.gov/stem/studentlaunch/home/index.html
      For more information about other NASA challenges, please visit:
      https://stem.nasa.gov/artemis/
      Taylor Goodwin
      Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Ala.
      256.544.0034 
      taylor.goodwin@nasa.gov
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      Last Updated Jun 14, 2024 Related Terms
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    • By NASA
      The Virginia Tech team, winners of first place overall in the RASC-AL 2024 competition.NASA Out of 14 finalist teams that encompassed collegiate and university representation from across the globe, the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University team with their concept, “Project Draupnir,” in the AI-Powered Self-Replicating Probe theme, took home top prize in NASA’s Revolutionary Aerospace Systems Concepts – Academic Linkage (RASC-AL) competition.  
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      The University of Maryland team, winners of second place overall in the RASC-AL 2024 competition.NASA In its 23rd year, RASC-AL is one of NASA’s longest running higher education competitions.  
      “It’s an engaging engineering design challenge that fosters collaboration, innovation, and hard work. Finalist teams also enjoy the comradery and networking opportunities at our annual forum in Cocoa Beach, Florida,” said Pat Troutman, program assistant, technical for NASA’s Strategy and Architecture Office. “Each year, the competition grows as more and more students want to contribute to NASA’s mission of improving humanity’s ability to operate on the Moon, Mars and beyond.”  
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      Finalist teams responded to one of four themes, ranging from developing large-scale lunar surface architectures enabling long-term off-world habitation, to designing new systems that leverage in-situ resources for in-space travel and exploration. 
      The South Dakota State team, winners of third place overall in the RASC-AL 2024 competition.NASA Additional 2024 Forum awards include: 
      Best in Theme: 
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      Best Prototype: South Dakota State University, “POSEID-N: Prospecting Observation System for Exploration, Investigation, Discovery, and Navigation”  RASC-AL is open to undergraduate and graduate students studying disciplines related to human exploration, including aerospace, bio-medical, electrical, and mechanical engineering, and life, physical, and computer sciences. RASC-AL projects allow students to incorporate their coursework into space exploration objectives in a team environment and help bridge strategic knowledge gaps associated with NASA’s vision. Students have the opportunity to interact with NASA officials and industry experts and develop relationships that could lead to participation in other NASA student research programs.  
      RASC-AL is sponsored by the Strategies and Architectures Office within the Exploration Systems Development Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters, and by the Space Mission Analysis Branch within the Systems Analysis and Concepts Directorate at NASA Langley. It is administered by the National Institute of Aerospace.  
      For more information about the RASC-AL competition, including complete theme and submission guidelines, visit: http://rascal.nianet.org. 
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      In addition to the first-place recognition, team members were awarded an opportunity to intern at any of the four NASA Aeronautics Centers — Langley Research Center (Hampton, VA), Glenn Research Center (Cleveland, OH), Ames Research Center (Mountain View, CA), and Armstrong Flight Research Center (Edwards, CA) —across the country during the 2024-25 Academic Year.   
      “We truly enjoyed the NASA Blue Skies competition,” said team lead Krishi Gajjar. “We are honored that our efforts have been awarded by the experienced and diverse judging panel. This would not have been possible without the guidance from our advisor, professor Mark Gonda, and our rigorous engineering program at Cal Poly Pomona. We are proud to have grown together as a team and are excited to continue advancing aviation in our future careers as aerospace engineers!” 
      Second place went to Columbia University with their project, “AVATARS: Aerial Vehicles for Avalanche Terrain Assessment and Reporting Systems.”  
      Other awards included:  
      Future Game-Changer Award: Cerritos College | F.I.R.E (Fire Intervention Retardant Expeller)  Most Innovative Award: North Carolina State University | Reconnaissance and Emergency Aircraft for Critical Hurricane Relief (REACHR)  Sponsored by NASA’s Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate’s University Innovation Project, the Gateways to Blue Skies Competition is an initiative to engage college students in researching climate-friendly technologies and applications related to the future of aviation. Because of the increase in natural disasters compounded by climate change, the 2024 theme, “Advancing Aviation for Natural Disaster,” asked students to investigate and conceptualize, in terms of feasibility and viability, aviation-related systems that can be applied by 2035 to one phase of management of a chosen type of natural disaster to improve capabilities. 
      Because many emergency response professionals believe there is no one proposed concept that will be applicable for all different natural disasters or can be applied to all phases of management, this competition welcomed a wide range of potential solutions. New technologies and applications gained from this crowdsourced competition may be developed further by NASA for use in coordinating and facilitating disaster management. 
      At the Forum, finalist teams presented concepts of systems that addressed responses to natural disasters such as earthquakes, avalanches, volcanic eruptions, hurricanes, floods, and wildfires.   
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      Students also had the opportunity to network with NASA and industry experts, tour NASA’s Ames Research Center, and gain insight into potential careers and applications that will further the Agency’s mission toward a climate-friendly aviation future. 
      “Because natural disasters are so far-reaching and impactful to so many, we had a lot of interest in this year’s competition,” added Marcus Johnson, project manager in the Aeronautics Directorate at NASA Ames Research Center and 2024 Blue Skies co-chair. “Each of the eight finalist teams that presented at this year’s Forum were passionate about their concepts and each offered compelling ideas.  This competition is about so much more than just “awards,” it’s about connecting, networking and identifying the future leaders in aeronautics.” 
      The 2024 Gateways to Blue Skies Competition is sponsored by NASA’s Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate and administered by the National Institute of Aerospace.  
      **** 
      View the livestream of the competition presentations: https://vimeo.com/showcase/blueskies
      View the competition finalists: https://blueskies.nianet.org/finalists/ 
      To learn more about the 2024 Gateways to Blue Skies: Advancing Aviation for Natural Disasters Competition, visit: https://blueskies.nianet.org/competition/ 
      For more information about NASA Aeronautics, visit: https://www.nasa.gov/topics/aeronautics/index.html 
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      High School students in chef jackets line long black tables at NASA's Langley Research Center preparing savory breakfast dishes fit for astronauts onboard the International Space Station. Credits: NASA/Angelique Herring On Monday, Feb. 26, visitors to the Integrated Engineering Services Building at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, were greeted by the mouthwatering smell of roasted garlic, sautéed peppers and onions, fragrant herbs, and the unexpected discovery that the building’s main hallway had been turned into a pop-up kitchen for local high school students.
      These students were participants in NASA HUNCH Culinary. NASA HUNCH (High School Students United with NASA to Create Hardware) is a Project Based Learning program where high school students participate in the design and fabrication of real world valued products for NASA. HUNCH has six areas of focus that students may choose to participate in: Precision Machining, Softgoods, Design and Prototype, Food Science, Communications, and Software.
      High School students chop vegetables as they prepare their savory entry for NASA’s HUNCH Culinary Challenge.NASA/Angelique Herring The HUNCH Astronaut Culinary Program provides students the opportunity to create dishes for astronauts aboard the International Space Station. Students must create tasty recipes following a specific food processing procedure and meeting certain nutritional requirements. These dishes must meet the standards of the NASA Johnson Space Center Food Lab in Houston, Texas.
      Through this program, students gain culinary experience as well as experience with research and presenting their work in a professional environment. Students spend weeks perfecting their recipes so that on competition day, they can recreate their dishes in person at various NASA centers across the country.
      This year, HUNCH Culinary student teams were tasked with the challenge of creating a savory breakfast dish that included a vegetable. The recipes had to fall between 150 and 350 calories, contain less than 12 grams of fat and 250 milligrams of sodium, have at least one gram of fiber, and “must process well for spaceflight and for use in microgravity” among several other requirements.
      An eager hand reaches for a small serving of eggs scrambled with vegetables and topped with seeds as a larger skillet of the savory breakfast dish sits to the left.NASA/Angelique Herring Several students described challenges around creating a recipe under these guidelines. Nyland Clay, a student at Landstown High School in Virginia Beach, explained his team’s problem solving around the minimal sodium guideline.
      “We were able to work around that by using different types of flavors in order to substitute for the extra sodium,” he said. “One of the ways we did this was with poblano peppers. When seared over a grill, they make a nice smoky flavor that doesn’t add any sodium whatsoever.”
      Nyland’s team additionally chose to use ground turkey in their sweet potato hash recipe instead of ground beef to avoid unnecessary fat.
      Travis Walker, culinary instructor at Phoebus High School in Hampton and former executive catering chef manager for the NASA Langley Exchange, spoke highly of his students as his reason for teaching.
      “The most rewarding part is just watching the growth of the kids,” he said. “From the day you get them and they can’t boil water, to the time they get here and they’re in these competitions and excelling — that’s the most rewarding part.”
      The student groups with the highest scores will be invited to Johnson Space Center in Houston for a final competition where their dishes will be judged by Johnson Food Lab personnel, industry professionals, the ISS program office, and astronauts. The criteria are quality, taste, and the students’ work on the research paper and presentation video. The winning entree will be processed by the Johnson Space Center Food Lab and sent up to the station for the astronauts to enjoy.
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