Innovation Gateway Challenge, presented by BHP
Design a spacecraft and mission
Be part of the NASA mission. Compete in a new series of challenges through our Innovation Gateway, a community science initiative. Everyday explorers – just like you – have the opportunity to provide useful solutions to further space exploration and our world.
Our first challenge is designing a spacecraft for a specific mission!
We are entering an unprecedented era of space exploration.
NASA is setting its sights on getting back to the Moon in preparation for landing on Mars. Private companies are being contracted to deliver supplies to the International Space Station and will soon be delivering astronauts as well. The New Horizons spacecraft has escaped our inner Solar System and continues to travel into the unknown.
To adapt to this ever-growing field of potential missions, NASA requires many different vehicles that serve different functions.
The Apollo and Space Shuttle programs are among the most well-known and significant feats in history. The Apollo Program landed humans on the Moon, and the Space Shuttle Program developed the first reusable spacecraft paving the way for innovations like the International Space Station.
These spacecraft are perfect examples of designing with a purpose.
Your challenge is to design a spacecraft and mission that complement each other.
Your submission should include diagrams of your spacecraft and mission. Acceptable submissions include drawings, schematics, renderings, etc. Do NOT submit pre-existing space vehicles. The mission should chart the flight path and any potential landing sites.
Your submission should include written information that describes your mission and spacecraft as well as any research or calculations you may have done.
Science and space exploration are for everyone. Anyone can compete in this challenge.
Participants will be judged on the detail of the research, the plausibility of the mission, and the creativity of the spacecraft. The more detail you provide, the more likely you will be to win this challenge.
All participants will receive a digital certificate for competing in the challenge. Challenge winners will be featured on our challenge webpage and on Space Center Houston social media pages.
Submit a document with your design for a spacecraft and a mission. The file formats .doc, .docx, and .pdf will be accepted.
Submissions should include your name and age and as much detail about your spacecraft and mission as you would like to include.
Please name your submission file in the following format: “First name, last name - Challenge 1”
Send your submission to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please make the email subject line match the following format: “First name, last name - Challenge 1”
Submissions must be entered before 5 p.m. Thursday, April 23.
NASA has an abundance of resources about their different spacecrafts. The links below are some good places to start: