26. February 2018
DLR/NASA Design Challenge

Stu­dent com­pe­ti­tion for the air­craft of the fu­ture en­ters its sec­ond year

Par­tic­i­pants of the DLR/NASA De­sign chal­lenge at the kick-off event
Image 1/3, Credit: DLR/Lindner Fotografie.

Participants of the DLR/NASA Design challenge at the kick-off event

Fifty-one stu­dents from all over Ger­many have reg­is­tered for the NASA / DLR De­sign Chal­lenge. To­geth­er, they form 10 teams from nine uni­ver­si­ties, in­clud­ing TU Mu­nich, TU Berlin, Uni­ver­si­ty of Stuttgart, TU Braun­schweig, RWTH Aachen, FH Aachen, TU Ham­burg-Har­burg, HAW Ham­burg and TU Dres­den.
DLR Ex­ec­u­tive Board Mem­ber re­spon­si­ble for aero­nau­tics Rolf Henke at the open­ing of the com­pe­ti­tion
Image 2/3, Credit: DLR/Lindner Fotografie.

DLR Executive Board Member responsible for aeronautics Rolf Henke at the opening of the competition

The DLR / NASA De­sign­Chal­lenge 2018 fo­cus­es on ul­tra-ef­fi­cient air­craft de­signs that rev­o­lu­tionise pas­sen­ger flight, mak­ing them more en­vi­ron­men­tal­ly friend­ly and eco­nom­i­cal.
Strut-braced wing con­fig­u­ra­tion
Image 3/3, Credit: DLR (CC-BY 3.0).

Strut-braced wing configuration

The Strut-Braced Wing con­fig­u­ra­tion stud­ied at DLR is char­ac­terised by a fu­el-ef­fi­cient de­sign with a large span and rear-mount­ed open-ro­tor en­gines.
  • NASA and DLR hold joint student competition in the field of aircraft design
  • Kick-off event for German participants in Hamburg

Three students did it last year – with the 'Urban Liner', they designed an aircraft that is highly innovative in formulating a coherent overall concept. At the same time, they demonstrated what aspiring researchers are capable of in the design competition organised by the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) and the United States space agency NASA. The competition is now entering its second year, and it is again time for students to use their own ideas to direct aviation technology in new directions. This time, the focus is on ultra-efficient aircraft designs that revolutionise passenger flight, making it more environmentally friendly and economical. This task has been set by DLR in cooperation with NASA and will be carried out by students in Germany and the USA. The kick-off meeting for participants from seven German universities will be held on 23 February 2018 at the Center for ZAL Tech­Cen­ter (Zentrum für Angewandte Luftfahrtforschung; ZAL) in Hamburg. The competition proposals must be submitted by the end of June. In the autumn, the German winners will visit the NASA facilities, where they will present their work alongside the US winners of the competition.

The ever-growing global demand is providing today's aviation with impetus towards further development and change. Ambitious targets in Europe and the United States are pushing the frontiers of technology to achieve lower emissions, more efficient and cost-effective passenger air travel. The competition is seeking to find revolutionary new technological ideas – from aircraft designs to propulsion concepts.

"Last year, the winners of the DLR / NASA Design Challenge demonstrated the fresh ideas they can bring to the aircraft of the future with well thought-out concepts," says Rolf Henke, the member of the DLR Executive Board responsible for aeronautics research. "Global aviation is facing great challenges and needs such unconventional impulses. That is why we are delighted to be joining forces with NASA to hold this competition for a second year."

The German and US aerospace organisations have been collaborating closely for a long time. In aviation research, they are particularly involved in joint research projects in the areas of air traffic management, low-noise and low-emission flying and, most recently, in joint test flights in Germany to investigate the emissions of alternative aviation fuels.

"The NASA and DLR partnership has worked extremely well over the years," says Jon Montgomery, deputy associate administrator for management at NASA's Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate. "Design challenges help foster today's students in solving some of the most difficult issues facing the aviation industry today. Based on what we saw from last year's DLR/NASA challenge, I know we will all learn and benefit from what our respective teams create during the next few months."

Fifty-one students from all over Germany have registered for the NASA / DLR Design Challenge. Together, they form 10 teams from nine universities, including TU Munich, TU Berlin, University of Stuttgart, TU Braunschweig, RWTH Aachen, FH Aachen, TU Hamburg-Harburg, HAW Hamburg and TU Dresden. On the US side, there will also be a two-digit number of participating teams from various universities. A winning team will be chosen for each country. The German winners will travel to the United States in the autumn of 2018 to visit NASA. There, they will present their award-winning work along with the US winners work at a symposium attended by internationally recognised aviation researchers. Participants now have to develop their design proposals and submit them to DLR by 1 July 2018. The winners will be announced at the end of July.

NASA/DLR-Design Challenge 2017
Video "NASA/DLR-Design Challenge 2017"
Credit: DLR

  • Falk Dambowsky
    Ger­man Aerospace Cen­ter (DLR)
    Me­dia Re­la­tions
    Com­mu­ni­ca­tions and Me­dia Re­la­tions
    Telephone: +49 2203 601-3959
    Fax: +49 2203 601-3249
    Linder Höhe
    51147 Cologne
  • Dipl.-Ing. Till Pfeiffer
    Ger­man Aerospace Cen­ter (DLR)
    In­sti­tute of Sys­tem Ar­chi­tec­tures in Aero­nau­tics
    DLR In­sti­tute of Sys­tem Ar­chi­tec­tures in Aero­nau­tics
    Telephone: +49 531 295-3825
    Hein-Saß-Weg 22
    21129 Hamburg
  • Johannes Hartmann
    Ger­man Aerospace Cen­ter (DLR)
    In­sti­tute of Sys­tem Ar­chi­tec­tures in Aero­nau­tics
    Telephone: +49 40 248 9641-313
    Hein-Saß-Weg 22
    21129 Hamburg
  • J. D. Harrington
    Hea­d­quar­ters Pu­blic Af­fairs Of­fi­cer
    Na­tion­al Aero­nau­tics and Space Ad­min­is­tra­tion (NASA)

    Ae­ro­nau­tics Re­se­arch Mis­si­on Di­rec­to­ra­te
    Telephone: +1 202 358-5241


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