Cube Quest teams will have the opportunity to compete for a secondary payload spot on the first mission of NASA’s Orion spacecraft, which will launch atop the agency’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket.
The competition includes three stages: Ground Tournaments, Deep Space Derby, and Lunar Derby. All teams may compete in any one of the four Ground Tournaments. Teams that rate high on mission safety and probability of success will receive incremental awards. The Ground Tournaments will be held every four to six months, leading to an opportunity to earn a spot on the first integrated flight of Orion and SLS.
The Deep Space Derby will focus on finding innovative solutions to deep space communications using small spacecraft, and the Lunar Derby will focus primarily on propulsion for small spacecraft and near-Earth communications. Together, these challenges are expected to contribute to opening deep space exploration to non-government spacecraft for the first time.
Advancements in small spacecraft capabilities may not only provide benefits to future missions, but also may enable entirely new mission scenarios. The Cube Quest Challenge seeks to establish precedence for all subsystems necessary to perform deep-space exploration using small spacecraft.
Public Relations Officer
Cube Quest Challenge Deputy Administrators
Cube Quest Challenge Administrator
Ames Research Center
Moffett Field, California
Status of the Challenge
- The In-Space timeframe of the CubeQuest Challenge began on November 16, 2022. New teams wishing to join the challenge have until November 16, 2023 to enter and complete either the Lunar Derby or Deep Space Derby to be eligible for all prizes. For a complete list of rules and requirements, visit the How to Enter page.
- 12/1/22 – Team Miles spacecraft is deployed! Some downlink signals detected and are being processed to confirm if the spacecraft is alive or not.
- Team Alpha CubeSat spacecraft assembly is in progress!