NASA is giving college students until Aug. 20 to submit proposals for an inflatable structure that could be attached to a prototype habitat module to provide additional living space, the U.S. space agency announced June 24.

University teams selected to compete in the X-Hab Academic Innovation Competition will design, manufacture and assemble an inflatable loft that will be integrated into NASA’s hard-shell Habitat Demonstration Unit. The competition winner will participate in a demonstration of the submitted design during the 2011 Desert Research and Technology Studies or similar field test next summer, NASA said.

NASA expects to award up to three teams $48,000 each to develop their designs. The team that wins the head-to-head competition will be given up to $10,000 additional to offset their costs of participating in the 2011 field trials.

Initial selections are expected Aug. 30, according to the NASA solicitation.