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FEATURE ARTICLE
Developing New and Innovative Spacecraft Is High-School Students Challenge In CubeSat Competition
December 2015

Cornell University, The Museum of Science Fiction and NASA Space Grant consortia grantees are hosting a competition for high-school students to get CubeSat projects they develop launched into space.

CubeSats are small spacecraft that use commercially available space technologies and simple logistics for launch and operation. Challenging students to create the most compelling research design proposals within a CubeSat’s limitations, the goal of the competition is to both infuse agile and innovative ideas into the space sector, and to get more students inspired to tinker with the technologies that democratize access to space.

Eight prizes will be awarded and the winners will have their mission design proposal funded and built, and will have the opportunity to apply to NASA’s CubeSat Launch Initiative for a launch. The winning teams will be those that best propose how to transform an idea from science fiction into science fact. Each will then be partnered with a university, which will create the technologies to make these advanced concepts real. Data collected from the missions will be shared with participating schools and other research organizations for analysis. Winners will be awarded at Escape Velocity event in Washington, D.C., next year.

“The core of the Museum of Science Fiction’s mission is education, particularly in the STEM fields,” said Mason Peck, member of the Museum of Science Fiction’s Board of Advisors, Associate Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Cornell, and the Director of Cornell’s Space Systems Design Studio. “Advances in low-cost, high-performance consumer electronics and the rise of Do-It-Yourself technologies bring launching a spacecraft within reach of all of us. With this new opportunity in mind, we propose a competition in which high school students compete to offer the most compelling concept for a new CubeSat, to be implemented, built, and launched by the Museum and its partners.”

The competition was announced recently during White House Astronomy Night along with a number of other private-sector commitments as part of President Obama’s “Educate to Innovate” campaign designed to inspire and prepare more girls and boys – especially those from groups historically underrepresented in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) – to excel in the STEM fields.

The competition registration and submission period will be open until January 31, 2016.

More information is available at: www.museumofsciencefiction.org/cubesat.

Article reprinted from materials provided by Cornell University. ##


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