Press Release

Enterprise In Space Announces Orbiter Design Contest Winners

By SpaceRef Editor
February 3, 2015
Filed under ,

Enterprise In Space (EIS), a project of the National Space Society, is excited to announce the winners of the Enterprise in Space Orbiter Design Contest.  The EIS project will take the Grand Prize winning design, which is a visualization of a science fiction concept, and make it science fact. EIS will do this by building the winning design and sending it into Earth orbit as the first real spacecraft bearing the name Enterprise.  This mission is also unique in that it will carry more than 100 student experiments into space and back.

Grand Prize Design

The Grand Prize winning entry was submitted by Stanley Von Medvey, a concept artist who grew up in Chicago and currently resides in California’s San Francisco Bay Area.  Von Medvey draws inspiration from the fields of aerospace and science.  When asked why he entered the contest, Von Medvey responded, “I have a deep love for space exploration. Participation in spaceflight experiments as a student was formative, so I’d love to contribute to another young person’s learning in a similar way.”

The First Prize winner is Steven Pestana, a college senior at California State Polytechnic University-Pomona studying geology and physics with plans to pursue a career in planetary and space science research and exploration. Pestana was motivated to enter the contest in order to “support science education through the EIS project.”

The Second Prize winner is John Cortes, a first-year graduate student at the University of Pennsylvania pursuing a PhD in mechanical engineering.  Originally from Colombia, Cortes migrated to the United States at the age of ten.  On entering the contest, Cortes told EIS that “I am a firm believer in educating our youth on the potential benefits of space exploration.  So much of our current technology has come from the space programs around the world, it’s only right that we continue on this path.  I entered a design because I really enjoy designing spacecraft and this was a perfect opportunity to fulfill a dream of seeing one of my designs come to life.”

“The Enterprise in Space team and I want to thank all the people who sent in their wonderful and imaginative science fiction inspired ship designs from all over the world,” said EIS Founder Shawn Case.  “It was nice to see entries from so many artistic and engineering perspectives.”

This contest constitutes the first phase of the Enterprise In Space project, whose mission is to design, build, launch, orbit, re-enter, and tour a satellite that will carry more than 100 competitively-selected student experiments into space and back.  It was an open international contest seeking science fiction inspired spacecraft designs. This was followed by a public vote to identify the most popular designs submitted to the contest. The final step of the selection process was an evaluation of each design by a panel of expert judges.

Judging the contest were EIS Contest Manager Jim Plaxco, EIS Chief Engineer Fred Becker, Terminal Velocity Aerospace CEO Dominic DePasquale, SNG Studio owner Steve Neill, Consulting Senior Illustrator Andrew Probert, International Association of Astronomical Artists President Jon Ramer, and The Light Works CEO Tobias Richter.

With respect to the judging process, Jim Plaxco stated that “the judges evaluated the design submissions based on their engineering practicality, originality, and design aesthetics. We debated the merits of the various designs and in the end it took us two rounds of voting to arrive at a consensus.” The winning designs can be seen at

The next phase of the design process is to have an aerospace engineering firm create the necessary engineering drawings and specifications from the winning entry.  Follow the progress of the historic EIS project – from winning entry to engineering design to construction and flight – at


SpaceRef staff editor.