How will NASA launch spacecraft from the Martian surface? Students and
faculty from universities around the country, hoping to make a real
contribution in support of human exploration of Mars, will converge on the
KSC Visitor Complex for this year’s NASA-KSC-sponsored MarsPort Engineering
Design Student Competition 2001 organized by the Florida Space Grant
Consortium. Innovative design ideas will be presented as part of a two-day
conference May 7 – 8 at the Kurt H. Debus Conference Facility.

During the competition, six university teams will present their engineering
trade study papers, which include original design configurations for a
MarsPort Cryogenics and Consumables Station (MCCS), to a panel of judges
comprised of engineers and scientists from Kennedy Space Center, the
University of Florida, Science Applications International Corporation and
The Boeing Co. A winning team will be selected and NASA will incorporate
innovations from the work into its engineering trade studies and evaluate
them against other leading concepts.

The MarsPort Cryogenics and Consumables Station (MCCS) is a vital element of
the complex infrastructure needed to launch spacecraft from the Martian

The MarsPort competition actually began in the fall of 2000 when invitations
were sent out to colleges and universities. Participating student teams
were required to write and submit a proposal to the NASA MarsPort 2001
design review committee. From all entries, six teams were selected to
investigate the MCCS issues and to design solutions addressing them. All
six teams received qualifying cash awards of up to $2000 upon selection and
subsequent design reviews.

School teams participating in this year’s competition are Cornell
University’s Odysseus Team, Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, Georgia
Institute of Technology, The George Washington University’s Joint Institute
for Advancement of Flight Sciences Team, University of Tennessee-Knoxville
and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

This year’s MarsPort competition and conference will also feature
presentations by Dr. Sam Durrance, former astronaut and director of the
Florida Space Grant Consortium; Dr. Story Musgrave, former astronaut; and
Dr. Nadine Barlow, an astronomer from the University of Central Florida.

The MarsPort competition is also sponsored by Science Applications
International Corporation and Boeing, and jointly administered by the
Florida Space Grant Consortium (FSGC) and the Texas Space Grant Consortium.

The FSGC was formed in 1989 when NASA implemented the National Space Grant
College and Fellowship Program. FSGC is a voluntary association of 17
universities and colleges along with Kennedy Space Center, Spaceport Florida
Authority, Astronaut Memorial Foundation and Higher Education Consortium for
Math and Sciences. The FSGC represents Florida in NASA’s Space Grant
College and Education Program. It serves more than 230,000 university
students in Florida.

The MarsPort Engineering Design Competition 2001 and conference hours are 8
a.m. – 6:30 p.m., Monday, May 7 and 8 a.m. – 2 p.m., Tuesday, May 8.
Further information on the NASA-KSC-sponsored MarsPort competition may be
obtained by calling the Florida Space Grant Consortium at 321-452-4301.

Media representatives are invited to attend and should drive directly to the
KSC Visitor Complex and proceed to the Debus Conference Facility.