National Institute of Aerospace (NIA)
1100 Exploration Way
Hampton, VA 23666

It is my pleasure to invite you and your students to participate in NASA's 5th Annual RASC-AL Exploration Robo-Ops university rover engineering design competition as part of a multi-disciplinary team. The 2015 design competition is looking for innovative and creative ideas for prototype rover designs from undergraduate and graduate level engineering students.



Not to be confused with NASA's original RASC-AL Aerospace Concepts competition, which is based upon conceptual designs on themes related to space exploration, RASC-AL Exploration Robo-Ops (aka, Robo-Ops) is a design competition in which participants are required to physically build and test prototype planetary rovers at the NASA Johnson Space Center's Rock Yard.  We encourage you to involve your students in this prestigious competition, which provides them the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in a real-world NASA challenge.



Student teams and their faculty advisors are invited to submit an online Notice of Intent (NOI) by September 19, 2014 and submit project plans of their rover concepts by October 10, 2014.



Based on a review of the Project Plans by the Robo-Ops Steering Committee, up to eight (8) qualifying teams will be selected to receive a $10,000 award to facilitate full participation in Robo-Ops, including expenses for rover development, materials, testing equipment, hardware and software.



At the 2015 Robo-Ops Competition in Houston, the rovers will compete on a simulated planetary environment under the supervision of NASA judges.


The remaining team members will stay behind at the local university to conduct "mission control" tasks. Replicating how robots and astronauts will work together in the near fu­ture on human space exploration missions, the prototype rovers will be tele-operated by the teams' mission control centers via real-time video feed from the rovers' on-board cameras. During the competition, the rovers must negotiate a series of obstacles while accomplishing relevant tasks within the given time.



Up to $12,000 in prize money is available to the winning teams.



For complete information on the 2015 Robo-Ops Competition, please visit the Robo-Ops Website.  You may also be interested in viewing a brief, 45 second promotional video about Robo-Ops, as well as the attached 2 page RASC-AL Competitions Handout, which has information about both of the exciting and prestigious RASC-AL student design competitions, including Robo-Ops.



Important Dates


September 19 2014

Rolling NOI Deadline (Strongly Encouraged)

October 10, 2014

Deadline for Project Plan Submission

October 24, 2014

Qualifying Teams Announced

May 17, 2015

Final Technical Report Due

June 2-4, 2015

2015 Robo-Ops Competition in Houston, TX


If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me at 757-325-6732 orThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or contact Stacy Dees at 757-218-8313 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.