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NASA@Work Made In Orbit Challenge Results
Four Prize Winning Submissions - $50 each

1. Lightweight Re-entry Vehicles Assembled in Orbit - Quang-Viet Nguyen (HQ)
Small vehicles that could be assembled from lightweight materials and with lightweight structural concepts that could re-enter the atmosphere with potentially lower heating loads. Also, deployable aerodynamic devices might be used to target a specific landing zone for these non-propulsive re-entry vehicles.

It makes use of in-space assembly to create a vehicle that might not otherwise be launched, at least not without complex, automated deployment systems. The concept has potential for leading to low-cost re-entry systems and also for re-entry vehicle research and upper atmosphere research.

2. Modular Small Satellite: KitSat - Stephen Horan, et.al. (LaRC)
Satellite bus structure concept designed for easy assembly in orbit with modular system attachments and wiring harnesses embedded in the structure. A concept for in-space fabrication of the structural components is also included.

It is a well-developed concept for in-space assembly and potentially in-space fabrication of spacecraft. Several mission applications are mentioned.

3. Sub-scale Space Telescope - Andrew Ging (JPL)
Assemble and then release a working, but small-scale version, of an optical telescope composed of many hexagonal mirrors.

The sub-scale assembly would in some ways help prepare for the in-space assembly of a full-scale version. The smaller-scale version might also have some utility.

4. Demonstration of Artificial Gravity Spacecraft Prototype - Thomas Sullivan (JSC)
To create a sub-scale prototype of a rotating space habitat and to test the three-dimensional, long-term dynamic stability of such rotating structures in microgravity. Initially it would be an internal ISS demonstration with the potential to also be demonstrated externally.

It would use the ISS as a test facility to study a vehicle dynamics problem that would be difficult, if not impossible, to study on Earth. Involves assembling a sub-scale spacecraft prototype in orbit and then using it for research. The sub-scale assembly would in some ways help prepare for a future in-space assembly of a full-scale version. The concept and the purpose are well defined.

Honorable Mention Submissions

5. Reusable Tug for Free-Flying Payloads - Daniel Heater (MSFC)
A reusable tug vehicle assembled at ISS. It can carry experiments, instruments or samples some distance away from the ISS and then return for refueling and for new missions.

6. Solar Array Structures - Geoffrey Landis (GRC)
Demonstrate the assembly of solar array supporting structures on a small scale at the ISS. When applied to full-scale vehicles, the concept might yield solar arrays that are very large and stiff while being very light, thus improving overall vehicle efficiency.

7. Recycling Launch Vehicle Components - Damon Stambolian (KSC)
Design launch vehicle hardware so that it can be transformed into useful assemblies once it has arrived in orbit.

8. Structural Assembly Concept - Douglas Weber (LaRC)
Create tube structures by rolling flat sheets.

9. Deployable Solar Kite - Scott Spearing (MSFC)
Assemble a solar sail at the ISS and deploy it at the end of a tether. The assembly can be used to test control systems on the solar sail or perform other combined sail and tether operations.

10. Combine Tether with Small Re-entry Vehicles - Geoffrey Landis (GRC)
Use a tether to deploy the re-entry vehicle as an alternative way to provide separation from the ISS and to aid in non-propulsive deorbit. (Related to Re-entry Vehicles concept above.)

11. Micro-Debris Counter - Scott Spearing (MSFC)
An inflated sphere with detectors attached to its surface.

12. Simple Structural Materials for Satellite Construction - Roger Scrogham (KSC)
Inexpensive, lightweight materials such as aluminum foil, corrugated cardboard and Velcro are proposed as construction materials.

13. Spacecraft Assembly - Phillip Good (JSC)
An experimental satellite assembled from prefabricated parts made of Lexan, aluminum or similar materials.