Well, it’s official: The future is here. It’s in the form of the LightSail 2 launch, and who’s got a front row seat? You. You’ve also got an A-list guest by your side in the form of Bill Nye. You’ll head to Cape Canaveral to see LightSail 2—a small CubeSat created and crowdfunded by the global community of The Planetary Society supporters—launch into space, deploy shiny solar sails and soar into space on beams of pure energy (aka, the light from the sun). And to get up there, it’ll hitch a ride on the world’s most powerful rocket, the SpaceX Falcon Heavy. Pretty cool. Watch this monumental launch with Bill, then grab a bite with him to geek out over the overwhelming awesomeness of it all. After that, you’ll attend an exclusive VIP dinner for The Planetary Society, an incredible organization that introduces people to the wonders of the cosmos and empowers us all to advance space science and exploration. Flights and hotel included.
NASA’s 3D-Printed Habitat Challenge is challenging teams of citizen inventors to push the state of the art of additive construction to design and build sustainable shelters for humans to live on Mars. Previous levels of the challenge have resulted in advanced habitat concepts, material compositions and printing technologies. The current stage (Phase 3: Level 1) of the multi-level contest challenges participants to prepare digital representations of physical and functional characteristics of a house on Mars using Building Information Modeling (BIM) software tools.
The habitat must comprise 1,000 square feet of living space to support four astronauts for one year and include plans for systems such as life support, mechanical and electrical, spacesuit and rover hatches, and plumbing.
“This stage of the competition asks the participants to design habitats that will combine shelter with critical survival systems,” said Monsi Roman, program manager for the Centennial Challenges Program. “We are asking them to look beyond the physical structure into the needs of our future explorers.”
Eighteen teams submitted their designs on May 16, and judges have selected the top 10 teams that will continue to compete for $100,000 in prize money that will be awarded to the top five teams in July. The teams will be evaluated by a panel of subject matter experts from NASA and industry.
The teams, listed in alphabetical order, are:
ALPHA Team – Marina Del Rey, California
Colorado School of Mines – Golden, Colorado
Hassell & EOC – San Francisco
Kahn-Yates – Jackson, Mississippi
Mars Incubator – New Haven, Connecticut
AI. SpaceFactory – New York
Northwestern University – Evanston, Illinois
SEArch+/Apis Cor – New York
Team Zopherus – Rogers, Arkansas
X-Arc – San Antonio
“There is a great breadth in use of technology and 3D-modeling skills among the judges that range from Building Information Modeling software developers to the most sophisticated applications of virtual design and construction,” said Pete Carrato, lead judge and corporate manager of Building Information Modeling at challenge sponsor Bechtel. “Each team’s submission is a view into the future of developing surface-based facilities on Mars.”
The goal of the 3D-Printed Habitat Challenge is to foster the development of technologies to manufacture a habitat using local indigenous materials with, or without, recyclable materials. The vision is that autonomous machines will someday be deployed in deep space destinations, including Mars, to construct shelters for human habitation. On Earth, these same capabilities could be used to produce affordable housing wherever it is needed or where access to conventional building materials and skills are limited.
The challenge, which began in 2014, is structured in phases:
Phase 1, the Design Competition, required teams to submit architectural renderings and was completed in 2015. ($50,000 prize purse)
Phase 2, the Structural Member Competition, focused on material technologies, requiring teams to create structural components. It was completed in 2017. ($1.1 million prize purse)
Phase 3 (current), the On-Site Habitat Competition, challenges competitors to fabricate sub-scale habitats, and has five levels of competition – three construction levels and two virtual levels. For the virtual levels, teams must use BIM software to design a habitat that combines allowances for both the structure and systems it must contain. The construction levels challenge the teams to 3D-print elements of the habitat, culminating with a one-third-scale printed habitat for the final level. ($2 million prize purse)
SPACEPORT AMERICA, N.M. (PRWEB) JUNE 13, 2018: Student rocketeers from around the globe will gather at Spaceport America June 21-23 for the Second Annual Spaceport America Cup, the world’s largest Intercollegiate Rocket Engineering Competition for student rocketry teams. The public in invited to meet the team and see their projects on June 19 in nearby Las Cruces, NM. Spaceport America is located between the cities of Las Cruces and Truth or Consequences, New Mexico.
More than 130 teams from US and international colleges and universities – including Canada, Egypt, Great Britain, India, Mexico, Poland, Turkey, Switzerland, as well as 31 of the 50 US States, plus the District of Columbia, and four of 13 Canadian provinces and territories – are registered. The competition will be challenging for the participants and exciting for spectators, as students will be launching solid, liquid, and hybrid rockets to target altitudes of 10,000 and 30,000 feet.
Tuesday, June 19 – 8 am – 5 pm: Free admission. Come interact with students and view their projects at the Las Cruces Convention Center, 680 E University Ave, Las Cruces, NM 88001
Thursday-Saturday, June 21 – 23: Gates are open 8 am – 4 pm, dependent on weather conditions. Watch as rockets soar thru the sky and mingle with students in the spectator area. A three-day pass for adults is $20, with a one-day pass available for $10. For children in grades K-12, a three-day pass is $10; a one-day pass is $5.
About Spaceport America: Spaceport America is the first purpose-built commercial spaceport in the world. The FAA-licensed launch complex, situated on 18,000 acres adjacent to the U.S. Army White Sands Missile Range in southern New Mexico, has a rocket-friendly environment of 6,000 square miles of restricted airspace, low population density, a 12,000-foot spaceway, and 340 days of sunshine and low humidity. Some of the most respected companies in the commercial space industry are customers at Spaceport America: Virgin Galactic, United Launch Alliance, Boeing, UP Aerospace, EnergeticX, Pipeline2Space and EXOS Aerospace. Visit http://spaceportamerica.com for more information.
Spaceport America is #NewMexicoTRUE.
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About Las Cruces: Nestled in southern New Mexico’s Mesilla Valley between the Rio Grande River and Organ Mountains, Las Cruces is quickly becoming a popular southwestern destination, and is now emphasizing its close connections to space travel, including the First Annual Space Festival in April 2018, and a full-size replica of Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo on display near City Hall. Las Cruces blends a unique variety of such special events, attractions, culture and historical sites, as well as superb weather, with 350 days of sunshine per year. For more information on all Las Cruces has to offer, contact Visit Las Cruces at (575) 541-2150 or http://www.visitlascruces.com.
The non-profit organization Base 11 led by Landon Taylor has organized a rocketry competition for university students that is offering a $1M cash prize:
The Base11 Space Challenge is a $1 million+ prize for a student-led university team to design, build, and launch a liquid-propelled, single-stage rocket to an altitude of 100 kilometers (the Karman Line) by December 30, 2021. Annual competitions and prizes mark milestone achievements in the process including design of the liquid-fuel rocket, static testing of the engine, and smaller pop-up innovation challenges to be announced. The biggest purse, which is fully funded, is the $1 million prize for launching the rocket to the edge of space.
The mission behind the Base 11 Space Challenge is to dramatically increase the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) talent in the United States with greater representation and inclusion of women and minorities, while empowering the future workforce with the education and skill-training necessary for jobs in the aerospace and related industries.
This video gives an overview of the program:
And a video of the debut event held for the program last week:
A message from Jack Colpas co-director of the RFTS Competition:
Reach for the Stars ~ National Rocket Competition
Through a NASA grant the Florida Space Grant Consortium sponsored 100 kids in the Reach for the Stars ~ National Rocket Competition. Building and launching a solid-fuel powered rocket is a fantastic way to turn kids on to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) subjects.
NASA and the Florida Space Grant Consortium are Helping Kids Reach for the Stars
Everyone agrees – we need to get more kids interested in STEM careers. To do that we need to get them excited about STEM subjects. Building and launching a solid-fuel powered rocket is a fantastic way to turn kids on to the STEM subjects. Nothing lends itself to Science, Technology, Engineering and Math like rocketry. After all – this is Rocket Science!
To meet that need the Florida Space Grant Consortium, under the direction of Dr. Jaydeep Mukherjee, arranged for a NASA grant that funded 100 students from across Florida. Each of the students, from four different schools, received a rocket kit to buid and launch, supplies for two launches, an achievement certificate and registration in the national competition. The schools received a Launch Set and certificate of involvement.
“To keep the playing field even – we are hoping to get similar grants in the other 49 states. This is, after all, a national competition.” says RFTS co-director Jack Colpas.
The Florida schools helped by the grant were identified by the economic need of its students. Thus giving the opportunity to kids who might not have had the chance to compete. The Imagine School, West Melbourne, STEAM Director, Brendan Williams / Bagdad Elementary School, Santa Rosa – Science Teacher, Tammy Dillard / Shaw Elementary, Tampa – SPARK teacher, Angela Williams / King Middle School, Milton – Science Teacher, Cathy Thompson; have a majority of their students on Free or Reduced Lunch Programs.
The teachers involved in the grant, rave about the opportunities it provides for their students.
Brendan Williams, “….most of my students could not afford to use Estes rockets. This grant will give them a chance to take their rocketry design and love of STEM to the next level. Giving these students opportunities like this opens their eyes to the possibilities for their lives that might then open doors for them as they grow up.”
Tammy Dillard, “I would like to be able to offer them more exposure to things that they would not normally have. Being able to construct a rocket and actually fly it! Without this grant, they would never have the chance. This opportunity will enable them to try and try again something wonderful. What they discover through this experience will be monumental.”
Cathy Thompson, “I am very excited to help the team compete with the rockets. These kids are very interested in flight and science. Most do not get these opportunities outside of school.”
Angela Williams, “This activity would expose them to STEM activities at a level they have never seen. I’m certain it would spark their interest to continue in other STEM activities and subjects in the future. I would also like to encourage the girls to be involved in this science building activity.”
An indication of the grant’s success can be seen in competitor Jordyn Presley from Bagdad Elementary School. She did so well that she won the local event at her school – and was one of the top five entries nationwide. As a national winner she will travel to Space Camp in October to celebrate with the other national winners.
Contestants – ages 10 to 18 – compete at an event held at their own location. It is fun, affordable (no travel expense or hassle) & easy to run (step-by-step video covers rocket construction and launch). After two launches and parachute landings, the closest average distance to a target wins the local event. Local winner’s results are sent to the national headquarters to determine the five national winners.
With their families, the winners they will continue their celebration. – experiencing Astronaut training simulators, seeing amazing space memorabilia, visiting Shuttle Park and standing under the massive Saturn V rocket. They get to launch their rockets from Homer Hickam Field – named after NASA engineer and author of the memoir, Rocket Boys aka October Sky.
Competition co-director, Kathy Colpas says,
“We promise the national winners – memories to last a lifetime and bragging rights for generations to come. Launching their rockets from a historical location and receiving a medal presented by an Astronaut allows us to fulfill our promise.”
The Competition honors the memory of Christa McAuliffe, 1st Teacher-in-Space. Everyone involved in the Competition receives a certificate that bears Christa’s likeness and her quote, “Push yourself as far as you can. Reach for the stars!” The background of the certificates is the artwork of Astronaut & Moonwalker, Alan Bean.
Ten Astronauts recommend the RFTS Competition. Several have presented medals to the national winners. Two, US Senator Bill Nelson and Kennedy Space Center Director Bob Cabana, encourage the kids in video clips prepared specially for the competitors.
Competitions are already being held across the country. Local competitions can be held anytime throughout the year. Your kids can’t win it – if they’re not in it!