Status Report

NASA Launches 2011 Nationwide Technology Space Competition

By SpaceRef Editor
March 5, 2011
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NASA Launches 2011 Nationwide Technology Space Competition

A do-it-yourself technology space competition sponsored by NASA’s Emerging Commercialization Space Office kicked off recently.

Make Magazine, a do-it-yourself publication for technology, is partnering with Teachers in Space to help develop space science kits that high-school teachers can build and fly on suborbital flights. The project’s ultimate goal is to develop the next generation of technology leaders.

The NASA-Make competition will be the first of what many hope will be an annual event. It is designed to inspire curiosity and create interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics among classroom teachers and their students. Contenders are invited to submit ideas, concepts, and prototypes for kits that teachers can build for future spaceflights. Teachers in Space announced the contest at the Next Generation Suborbital Research Conference in Orlando, Fla.

Competition rules are simple. Kits should use components that are likely to be available at most high schools, and submitted experiments must be self-contained and fit in a standard Cubesat container (an international standard for small space-science payloads). To make kits accessible to students nationwide, part of the challenge is to be able to build these kits for under $100, the kind of funds that could be raised by a school bake sale.

Entries are due April 30, 2011.

The first experiment kits to be selected will fly aboard the Excelsior STEM mission, a commercial unmanned suborbital mission sponsored by Teachers in Space and scheduled to fly in 2011. Experiment kits for the Excelsior STEM mission will be assembled by teachers at a Suborbital Flight Experiment Workshop to be held Aug. 1-5, 2011 at the NASA Dryden Flight Research Center’s AERO Institute in Palmdale, Calif.

This workshop and the Excelsior STEM mission provide a historic opportunity for high-school teachers to gain hands-on experience with space-flight hardware.

The winner of the NASA-Make Challenge will be honored at the Bay Area Maker Faire, May 21-22, 2011 in San Mateo, Calif.

For more information about the NASA-Make Challenge, visit

SpaceRef staff editor.