ARMD - University Student Research Challenge (USRC)

University Student Research Challenge (USRC)

University Student Research Challenge seeks to challenge students to propose new aeronautics ideas/concepts that are relevant to NASA Aeronautics.  USRC will provide students, from accredited U.S. colleges or universities, with grants for their projects and it includes the challenge of raising a modest amount of cost share funds through crowdfunding platform.  The process of creating and preparing a crowdfunding campaign acts as a teaching accelerator - requiring students to act like entrepreneurs and taking action.  Crowdfunding also raises awareness about students’ research among the public.

The solicitation goal can be accomplished through project ideas such as advancing the design, developing technology or capabilities in support of aviation, by demonstrating a novel concept, or enabling advancement of aeronautics-related technologies.

The USRC solicitation is currently open! Proposals are due Feb. 24th, 2022. Please visit NSPIRES for more information and to submit your proposals.

USRC Q&A/Info Session will be held on Jan. 24th, 2022 @ 2pm EST. If you would like to learn more about USRC or have any questions, please join us via TEAMS using the links below. 

Click here to join the meeting , Or call in (audio only): +1 256-715-9946,,651237373# , Phone Conference ID: 651 237 373#



USRC Awards

Dronehook: A Novel Fixed-Wing Package Retrieval System (University Of Notre Dame)

Envisioning a world where items can be retrieved from remote locations in a simple fashion from efficient fixed-wing UAVs

Student Team: Konrad Rozanski (Team Lead), Dillon Coffey, Bruce Smith, Nicholas Orr

Faculty Mentor: Jane Cleland-Huang

Selected: 2021

Web Article: Notre Dame student team wins NASA research award for drone scoop and grab technology

Go to site (TBD)


Aerial Intra-city Delivery Electric Drones (AIDED) with High Payload Capacity (Michigan State University)

A high-payload capacity delivery drone capable of safely latching and charging on electrified public transportation systems.

Student Team: Yuchen Wang (Team Lead), Hunter Carmack, Kindred Griffis, Luke Lewallen, Scott Newhard, Caroline Nicholas, Shukai Wang, Kyle White

Faculty Mentor: Woongkul Lee

Selected: 2021

Web Article: Spartan Engineers win NASA research award and NASA Aeronautics amplification

Go to AIDED crowdfunding site

Go to site (TBD)


Robotic Fabrication Work Cell for Customizable Unmanned Aerial Systems (Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University)

A robotic, multi-process work cell to autonomously fabricate topologically optimized UASs tailored for immediate application needs.

Student Team: Tadeusz Kosmal (Team Lead), Kieran Beaumont, Om Bhavsar, Eric Link, James Lowe

Faculty Mentor: Christopher Williams

Selected: 2021

Go to crowdfunding site

RAV-FAB Project Website

Go to site (TBD)


Real Time Quality Control in Additive Manufacturing Using In-Process Sensing and Machine Learning (Cornell University)

A high-precision and low-cost intelligent sensor-based quality control technology for Additive Manufacturing

Student Team: Adrita Dass (Team Lead), Talia Turnham, Benjamin Steeper, Chenxi Tian, Siddharth Patel, Akula Sai Pratyush, Selina Kirubakar

Faculty Mentor: Atieh Moridi

Selected: 2021

Go to crowdfunding site

AMAS Project Website

Web Article: Students win NASA challenge with 3D-printer smart sensor


AVIATA: Autonomous Vehicle Infinite Time Apparatus (University of California, Los Angeles)

A drone swarm system capable of carrying a payload in the air indefinitely.

Student Team: Ziyi Peng (Team Lead), Bhrugu Mallajosyula, Willy Teav, David Thorne, James Tseng, Eric Wong, Axel Malahieude, Ryan Nemiroff, Yuchen Yao, Lisa Foo

Faculty Mentor: Jeff Eldredge

Selected: 2020

AVIATA Project Website

A recorded USRC Tech Talk on AVIATA

The recorded poster session at the TACP Showcase 2021

Go to AVIATA crowdfunding site


Redundant Flight Control System for BVLOS UAV Operations (Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University)

A redundant flight control system as a “back-up” to the primary flight computer to enhance safety of sUAS.

Student Team: Robert Moore (Team Lead), Joseph Ayd, and Todd Martin

Faculty Mentor: John Robbins

Selected: 2020

Follow the team's progress at

A recorded USRC Tech Talk on this topic

The recorded poster session at the TACP Showcase 2021

Go to crowdfunding site


Multi-Mode Hybrid Unmanned Delivery System: Combining Fixed-Wing and Multi-Rotor Aircraft with Ground Vehicles (Rutgers University)

Extending drone delivery distance with a multi-mode hybrid delivery system.

Student Team: Paul Wang (Team Lead), Nolan Angelia, Muhammet Ali Gungor

Faculty Mentor: Onur Bilgen

Selected: 2020

A recorded USRC Tech Talk on this topic.

The recorded poster session at the TACP Showcase 2021

Go to crowdfunding site


AVIS: Active Vortex Inducing System for Flow Separation Control to Improve Airframe Efficiency (Georgia Institute of Technology)

Use an array of vortex generators that can be adjusted throughout flight to increase wing efficiency.

Student Team: Michael Gamarnik (Team Lead), Shiva Khanna Yamamoto, Noah Mammen, Tommy Schrager, Bethe Newgent

Faculty Mentor: Kelly Griendling

Selected: 2020

Go to AVIS team site

A recorded USRC Tech Talk on AVIS

The recorded poster session at the TACP Showcase 2021


Hybrid Airplanes - An Optimum and Modular Approach (California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo)

Model and test powertrain to maximize the efficiency of hybrid airplanes.

Student Team: Nicholas Ogden (Team Lead), Joseph Shy, Brandon Bartlett, Ryker Bullis, Chino Cruz, Sara Entezar, Aaron Li, Zach Yamauchi

Faculty Mentor: Paulo Iscold

Selected: 2019

A recorded USRC Tech Talk on this topic

The recorded poster session at the TACP Showcase 2021


ATLAS Air Transportation (South Dakota State University)

A multipurpose, automated drone capable of comfortably lifting the weight of an average person.

Student Team: Isaac Smithee (Team Lead), Wade Olson, Nicolas Runge, Ryan Twedt, Anthony Bachmeier, Matthew Berg, Sterling Berg

Faculty Mentors: Marco Ciarcia, Todd Letcher

Selected: 2019
Recorded USRC Tech Talk #1 and USRC Tech Talk #2 on ATLAS

The recorded poster session at the TACP Showcase 2021

Go to ATLAS crowdfunding site


Software-Defined GPS Augmentation Network for UAS Navigation (University Of Oklahoma, Norman)

A novel solution of enhanced GPS navigation for unmanned aerial vehicles.

Student Team: Robert Rucker (Team Lead), Alex Zhang, Jakob Fusselman, Matthew Gilliam
Mentors: Dr. Yan (Rockee) Zhang (Faculty Mentor), Dr Hernan Suarez (Team Technical Mentor)

Selected: 2019

A recorded USRC Tech Talk on this topic

The recorded poster session at the TACP Showcase 2021

Go to crowdfunding site


UAV Traffic Information Exchange Network (Purdue University)

A blockchain-inspired secure, scalable, distributed, and efficient communication framework to support large scale UAV operations.

Student Team: Hsun Chao (Team Lead) and Apoorv Maheshwari

Mentors: Daniel DeLaurentis (Faculty Mentor), Shashank Tamaskar

Selected: 2018

The recorded poster session at the TACP Showcase 2021

Go to UAV-TIEN crowdfunding site

Web Article: Student-developed communication network for UAVs interests NASA



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