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NASA Announces CubeQuest Challenge

12/05/2014

Amateur Radio satellite development teams take note: Registration is now open for NASA’s CubeQuest Challenge, the agency’s first in-space competition that also offers its largest-ever prize. Competitors have a shot at a share of $5 million in prize money and an opportunity to participate in space exploration and technology development. This includes a chance at flying their very own CubeSat to the moon and beyond as a secondary payload on the first integrated flight of NASA’s Orion human exploration spacecraft, undergoing flight testing this week, and its Space Launch System (SLS) rocket.

“NASA’s CubeQuest Challenge will engage teams in the development of the new technologies that will advance the state of the art of CubeSats and demonstrate their capabilities as viable deep space explorers,” said Michael Gazarik, associate administrator for NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate at NASA’s Washington Headquarters. “Prize competitions like this engage the general public and directly contribute to NASA’s goals while serving as a tool for open innovation.”

The CubeQuest competition offers a total of $5 million to teams that meet the challenge objectives of designing, building and delivering flight-qualified, small satellites capable of advanced operations near and beyond the moon.

The competition includes three stages: Ground Tournaments, Deep Space Derby, and Lunar Derby. All teams may compete in any one of the four Ground Tournaments. Teams that rate high on mission safety and probability of success will receive incremental awards. The Ground Tournaments will be held every 4 to 6 months.

The Deep Space Derby will focus on finding innovative solutions to deep space communications using small spacecraft, while the Lunar Derby will focus primarily on propulsion for small spacecraft and near-Earth communications.

“Together, these challenges are expected to contribute to opening deep space exploration to non-government spacecraft for the first time,” NASA said.

NASA offersmore information as well as its Operations and Rulesdocumentation on the CubeQuest Challenge on its website.

 



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