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Space Contests
Hey Space Cowboy, do you feel lucky...

2008 Space VidVision Contest

The web holds space contests ranging from essay competitions to sweepstakes prizes for rocket rides. There are also various educational related contests on space related topics. Student essays and reports about a space topic are popular.

Note that the entry dates for some of the contests listed here may have passed. However, they are still listed just to give examples of the types of space contests that have occurred.

Space Contest News

See the archive for previous articles...

General News & Info

Student/Educational Competitions

The following contests and competitions are open to students, though they may also be open to adults and the general public. These competitions involve some degree of technical or substantive accomplishment rather than, say, a sweepstakes drawing.

Mars Society
The Mars Society has sponsored various contests such as a song contest for a Mars Anthem in 1999.

Check their website for info on current contests.

See also the Mars Youth Society, which sponsors contests for kids Here are some current and past contests:

National Space Society
The NSS sponsors various space related contests. See their website for current contests.

Space Frontier Foundation
The SFF has sponsored some contests over the years related to the promotion of rocketry and private spaceflight.

Planetary Society
The Planetary Society has carried out numerous contests and regularly announces new ones. Check their website for their latest competitions. Here are a some past ones:

Citizens in Space
An organization to expand public involvement in space. Initial program is to offer suborbital spaceflights to selected teachers, students, and others.

Yuri's Night Contests
The Yuri's Night organization promotes the holding of parties around the world every year on April 12th to celebrate the date when Yuri Gagarin became the first human to go to space. They now include contests in their promotional efforts.

  • $18,000 in Prizes Offered by Yuri's Night in 'Call to Humanity' Space Exploration Advertisement Competition and Yuri's Night International Space Sweepstakes - Yuri's Night

  • Yuri's Night 2011 Video Contest
  • “Call to Humanity ” Space Exploration Ad Competition:
    "calls on talented graphic designers, artists, and other creative individuals to create a powerful and inspiring print campaign that will move people to think about and support humanity’s future in space, and the “International Space Sweepstakes”, a free global drawing."
    • The prize is a 4-day trip to Russia that will include "a microgravity flight aboard an Ilyushin-76 aircraft in Russia and an all-inclusive 4-day tour of the homeland of Yuri Gagarin – a $9,000 value in total."

  • International Space Sweepstakes:
    " [Gives] anyone in the world the chance to travel to Russia, witness a rocket launch at Baikonur, and experience the history of the Russian space program first hand. Entries are free (though donations to Yuri’s Night are encouraged), but are limited to one per person. All interested and eligible participants are welcome (and encouraged) to participate in both the Competition and the Sweepstakes. The winner, who will be chosen by random selection, will receive a 10-day Space Travellers “VIP Lift-Off in Baikonur” travel package and a $1,000 travel voucher for travel to and from Moscow.

NASA Contests

NASA offers many contests, particularly in its educational programs and via the outreach efforts required for the science spacecraft projects that it sponsors. Here are some of the recent and past contests:Be Part Of History -- Help NASA Name The Next Space Station Module - NASA - Feb.20.09.

ESA & Other European Contests

The ESA (European Space Agency) regularly sponsors contests, particularly for students. Check

More European space contests

AIAA Student Design Competitions and Engineering Contest
The American Institute for Aeronautics and Astronautics sponsors this contest. Undergraduate & graduate students can win scholarships for monetary prizes in this design competition.
SPAACSE -- Scholarships
 The Society of Performers, Artists, Athletes, and Celebrities for Space Exploration (SPAACSE) offers yearly scholarship awards to promising students in the arts as well as other areas. Contests include a space essay and a space art competitions.

ThinkQuest is an educational program that gives out awards and scholoarships totaling over 1 million US dollars each year to US students 12-19. Teams of 2-3 students, supervised by an adult coach, do a research study on an approved research topic using the all the resources of the Internet.

Their web site should present their research findings in an engaging and informative manner. A panel of judges review the entries and the top entries get awards. All entries that pass the basic requirements will be put on the official web listing.

Typically there are several entries based on space topics.

University of Toronto Space Design Contest (UTSDC)
The University of Toronto Space Design Contest (UTSDC) is an annual contest for high school students. Teams of up to five compete by developing a design for a particular space related project (survey missions, space settlements, etc), and presenting it in a medium of their choosing. This contest is meant to be an application of creativity, technical knowledge, presentation skill and teamwork. Contestants submit their reports to UTSDC to review, and will have the opportunity to present their designs at an event hosted on the University of Toronto St. George campus.

More information can be found at utsdc.sa.utoronto.ca. An annual report will be made available.

X PRIZE Foundation
The X PRIZE Foundation continued the momentum of the X PRIZE rocket competition with development of several new competitions in space and in other areas.

Pete Conrad Spirit of Innovation Award
This contest "challenges high school teams to develop their own innovative concepts to benefit a specific science and technology area. Students detail their idea in a technical report, a business plan, and a prototype. They must demonstrate understanding of not only the concept itself, but also the business requirements needed to take their idea to the marketplace"

Heinlein Prize Trust
In honor of Robert H. Heinlein, this organization uses competitions and prizes to encourage Accomplishments in Commercial Space Activities.

More Competitions Current and Past


Space Contest History
Here are some resources about the history of prizes for space and other technical achievements.

More Space Contests

Contests in other sections

A low budget (£9,999.99 (sterling), or about US$20K, cash prize for the first private team to launch a payload that weighs between 9.99 and 19.99 grams.

Occasionally, there are sweepstakes style contests related to space such as winning trips into space on a suborbital rocketship. Here are some currently open:

  • Space Tourism - suborbital space ride contests.
  • Galaxy32.com
    "Find the 10 Planets, and win a Holiday in Space". A treasure hunt game in which the grand prize is a trip to space on a suborbital rocket ship. This game is free to play with no registration.


NASA Centennial Challenges
Inspired by the success of the X PRIZE, NASA has created the Centennial Challenges program to sponsor competitions to motivate development in various technologies that will support progress in space. The programs are open to student teams, small companies, volunteer organizations, hobbyists, etc.

Each prize competition, referred to as as a Challenge, is done in partnership with an independent organization that manages the program.

Sponsored by the American Astronautical Society (AAS) and the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), the student teams win prize money by building small "can" sized devices that will be "launched and deployed from a rocket at an altitude of about 760 meters". Points are scored for control of the descent rate, landing orientation, post-landing operations such as making panoramic images, etc.

The Great Moonbuggy Race
Marshall Space Flight Center sponsors this annual fun event with teams racing their homebuilt moonbuggys on a course around the Center's campus.

Note: HobbySpace does not endorse or certify in any way the sites listed here and is not responsible for any of the contents on those sites. All the links and site descriptions were simply obtained from publicly available information on the web or in print and given here for your convenience. Exercise all reasonable caution when participating in sweepstates and other contests. We are not responsible for any errors in the link descriptions.


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