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Photo Credit: Matt Kuhns/Masten Space
Autonomous Observation Challenge No. 1
Up to $500K to develop innovative observation technologies for small spacecraft that can be tested on suborbital flights.
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Photo Credit: NASA
Advancing Observation Capabilities
To support future missions, NASA seeks to advance observation capabilities using adaptive, distributed, heterogeneous networks of spacecraft, suborbital, and ground-based sensors working cooperatively.
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Register
Do you have a technology for small spacecraft that can be used to autonomously detect, locate, track, and collect data on transient terrestrial events or maintain line of sight communication with an object on the lunar surface? We would love to know about it! You must first register no later than Wednesday, July 28, 2021, at 5:00 PM Pacific.
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Photo Credit: NASA
Apply
Individuals, teams, and organizations that meet eligibility criteria are welcome to submit technologies. Applications should focus on advancing observation capabilities using networks of spacecraft, suborbital, and ground-based sensors working cooperatively. Apply no later than Wednesday, August 11, 2021, at 5:00 PM Pacific
APPLICATION
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Photo Credit: World View
Evaluation
Each valid application receives scores and comments from five Evaluation Panel judges, using a scoring rubric with four criteria: aligned, innovative, achievable, and feasible for flight test. All scores are normalized to ensure fairness for all applicants. The Selection Committee will choose up to four Winners to each receive an initial $200,000 award.
SCORING PROCESS
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Photo Credit: Blue Origin
Payload Build Round 1
During Payload Build Round 1, Winners will have the opportunity to compete for an additional award of $200,000 each. Winners will participate in a Payload Build progress call to present their plans for the payload development and progress to date. Field Judges will conduct an on-site visit in January 2022 to score the progress each Winner has made and determine if they qualify for the Round 1 award.
ROUND 1
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Photo Credit: NASA/Ken Ulbrich
Payload Build Round 2
Upon successful completion of Round 1, Winners will have the opportunity to compete for an additional award of $100,000 each in Payload Build Round 2. Winners will participate in a conference call to present their progress to date on their plans for the payload development. Field Judges will conduct an on-site visit in June 2022 to score the progress each Winner has made and determine if they qualify for the Round 2 award.
Round 2
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Photo Credit: NASA
Suborbital Flight Test
NASA intends to award a suborbital flight test to each of the Winners of Payload Build Round 2. These flight tests will be conducted on an appropriate vehicle provided by one of the vendors contracted to provide flight services for NASA government-sponsored research.
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Photo Credit: NASA
Questions & Answers
Get answers to frequently asked questions. Don’t see your question answered? View the full list of FAQs, or email us.
What is the NASA TechLeap Prize?
What is the Autonomous Observation Challenge No. 1?
Who can participate?
How do I submit an application?
How will applications be evaluated?
What can we win?
About Flight Opportunities
Flight Opportunities rapidly demonstrates promising technologies for space exploration, discovery, and the expansion of space commerce through suborbital testing with industry flight providers. The program matures capabilities needed for NASA missions and commercial applications while strategically investing in the growth of the U.S. commercial spaceflight industry.
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Are you ready to move your technology from the lab to suborbital flight test?
Join us in developing small spacecraft observation capabilities.
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Photo Credit: Blue Origin