U.S. Department of Education Launches Space Mission Challenge for High School Students

U.S. Department of Education Launches Space Mission Challenge for High School Students

CTE Mission: CubeSat Challenge seeks to inspire, prepare students for a future in aerospace
August 18, 2020

WASHINGTON — Building on the Administration-wide commitment to expand student interest in the booming science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields, the U.S. Department of Education today launched CTE Mission: CubeSat, a national challenge to inspire students to build technical skills for careers in space and beyond. High school students from across the country are invited to design and build CubeSat (cube satellite) prototypes, or satellites that aid in space research, bringing space missions out of the clouds and into the classroom.

“This is such an exciting way to rethink education and get students engaged in hands-on learning in the growing aerospace and technology fields,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. “I look forward to seeing the innovative prototypes students develop and hope this challenge inspires our next generation of American space explorers.”

Investors predict that space will be the next trillion-dollar industry, and as missions in space continue to expand, so do the career opportunities. This multi-phase challenge offers high school students across the United States the chance to build CubeSat prototypes while learning creative, collaborative, and technical skills for 21st century careers.

Schools interested in entering CTE Mission: CubeSat should form a team and submit a mission proposal by 5:59 p.m. ET, on Oct. 16, 2020 — no in-person collaboration or prior experience with CubeSats is required. The online submission form asks for school information, a team profile, a project proposal, and anticipated learning outcomes. Curated educational resources are available to students and teachers online in the CTE Mission: CubeSat resource hub. To learn more, schools can join a virtual information session on Sept. 1.

Up to five finalists will be selected to receive prizes and participate in Phase 2, which runs from January to May 2021. Finalists will have access to expert mentorship and additional virtual resources as they build CubeSat prototypes and plan flight events to launch their prototypes. The Department understands that due to current conditions, schools will need flexibility to safely collaborate when designing and building prototypes during the challenge. The Department looks forward to the creative solutions in the mission proposals it receives as challenge entries.

Each finalist will receive an equal share of the $25,000 cash prize pool, as well as satellite development, hardware, and software kits. Challenge sponsors include Arduino, Blue Origin, Chevron, EnduroSat, LEGO Education, Magnitude.io, MIT Media Lab, and XinaBox.

“Developing a CubeSat prototype is an opportunity for students to learn competitive skills and explore a wide range of careers in space — or their own communities,” said Assistant Secretary for Career, Technical, and Adult Education Scott Stump. “Through CTE Mission: CubeSat, we aim to bring students new learning opportunities to build valuable technical skills for in-demand and rewarding careers.”

About Ed Prizes

CTE Mission: CubeSat is part of Ed Prizes, a series of prize competitions to develop new products and services to both increase access to, and expand the capacity of, career and technical education. The Department has awarded $1.7 million in prizes through three previous challenges. Learn more at edprizes.com.