Status Report

Centennial Challenge: Nano-Satellite Launch Challenge

By SpaceRef Editor
November 20, 2011
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Centennial Challenge: Nano-Satellite Launch Challenge

NASA and the Space Florida Small Satellite Research Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla., are seeking teams to compete in a satellite launch technology demonstration competition with a potential $2-million prize.

During the Nano-Satellite Launch Challenge, teams will compete to launch satellites with a mass of at least 1 kilogram (2.2 pounds) into Earth orbit twice within the span of one week. The objective of the competition is to encourage innovations in propulsion and other technologies, as well as operations and management relevant to safe, low-cost, small payload delivery system for frequent access to Earth orbit. Innovations stemming from this challenge will be beneficial to broader applications in future launch systems. They may enhance commercial capability for dedicated launches of small satellites at a cost comparable to secondary payload launches — a potential new market with government, commercial and academic customers.

NASA provides the prize money to the winning team as part of the agency’s Centennial Challenges competitions, which seek unconventional solutions to problems of interest to the agency and the nation. While NASA provides the prize purse, the competitions are managed by nonprofit organizations that cover the cost of operations through commercial or private sponsorships. The competition is planned for summer 2012, and is anticipated to attract hundreds of competitors from industry and academia nationwide.

For more information about the Nano-Satellite Launch Challenge visit Draft Rules for public comment will be posted in the near future.

The Centennial Challenges program is part of NASA’s Office of the Chief Technologist. For more information about NASA’s Centennial Challenges and the Office of the Chief Technologist, visit:

Questions about the Nano-Satellite Launch Challenge should be sent to Percy Luney at

SpaceRef staff editor.