This Challenge is only open to the 14 teams that won the first Honey, I Shrunk the NASA Payload Challenge. You can learn more about the teams and apply to join a team here.
In the previous Honey, I Shrunk the NASA Payload Challenge, 14 teams were recognized and awarded for their insightful and creative approaches to developing miniature payloads that will help collect information about the lunar environment and potential lunar resources. This challenge offers those winning teams the opportunity to vie for up to $800,000 in development funds and prizes. There will be an opportunity for teams to build out their ranks and fill in missing areas of expertise. Additionally, in order to help teams be as successful as possible, both phases will include opportunities for NASA to review team plans and/or their progress and to provide specific, individual feedback.
Phase 1 - Project plan development and team building
Phase 2 - Prototyping
Note: Phase 2 is contingent upon NASA receiving highly credible project plans in Phase 1. See the Guidelines section for further details.
Updated November 2, 2020. See track changes here.
The timeline for this challenge is extremely ambitious. But the payoff is considerable - ultimate success in this endeavor could mean that your payload is deployed on the lunar surface!
In order for NASA to meet timelines associated with the Artemis program, it must receive your working prototypes by January 28, 2022. NASA wants you to be successful and will be very participatory in this challenge. NASA has already each team with the internal feedback garnered by their submissions to the preceding ideation challenge so that teams can see where weaknesses have been identified and react accordingly. Additionally, there will be an opportunity during the Phase 1 open submission period to have NASA review your preliminary project plan so that you can strengthen your submission and address any missing elements.
To be successful in this prototype competition, your team will have to provide:
An updated version of the Small Lunar Payload User’s Guide is available under the Resources tab. You are strongly encouraged to familiarize yourself with this expanded set of specifications. Note: the payload user’s guide may undergo minor revisions, due to the dynamic nature of the CLPS and Artemis programs.
The 14 winning teams of the Honey, I Shrunk the NASA Payload challenge are all eligible to participate. No new teams will be accepted into this challenge. However, the 14 teams are allowed to recruit new team members to round out their teams with additional competencies and expertise, as needed. If you are interested in joining a team, please visit the Teams tab to review the needs of teams accepting new members. All team members must abide by the eligibility rules, in particular those regarding country of origin (see Rules section for more details).
The deadline to submit complete and final payload project plans is January 4, 2021. NASA wants you to make it tough for them to select Phase 1 winners! So be sure to take advantage of all the tools and resources available. Specifically,
One of the most important things for success in this phase is the development and submission of a comprehensive and realistic timeline to support your activities in the prototyping phase. NASA’s extensive experience in this area has shown them that a highly credible timeline is a key indicator of success in ambitious projects like this one.
If you are an international participant, be sure to allow sufficient time in your timeline for your prototypes to clear customs and arrive at NASA. You are strongly encouraged to start immediate research and planning to ensure that you have all necessary paperwork in place to support your prototype delivery satisfying both US and your country’s import/export rules and regulations. A good place to start is to check with your own country’s state department.
NASA will review the preliminary project plan from any team that has been submitted by November 10, 2020. High-level feedback will be provided by November 20 to each team. This feedback is intended to help teams create the best, most complete version of their project plans possible by helping teams to consider all important factors, highlight any missing elements, and/or more fully address key concerns.
Your preliminary submission should include:
Your complete and final submission to Phase 1 should include:
NASA will select up to four teams to advance to Phase 2. The evaluation criteria are listed below. Advancing teams will win award money to support their prototyping efforts. The specific amount of award money won will be determined by the budget listed within each winning project plan, as well as other factors. The maximum amount awarded to any one team will be $225,000.
If NASA determines that none of the submitted payload project plans are highly credible, providing high confidence levels that working prototypes can be successfully delivered by the end of the Phase 2, then the challenge will conclude at the end of Phase 1. In that case, the top three ranked teams will each receive a $20,000 prize.
Upon being selected as a Phase 1 winner, each winning team will be assigned a NASA project manager. A portion of the award money will be distributed at once, to help development efforts get underway. The remainder of the award money will be distributed upon achievement of two significant milestones, with half of the remaining award money being paid for each milestone achieved. The team and the NASA project manager will determine a set of mutually agreed-upon milestones against which remaining prize payments will be made. It is expected that each team will be in regular contact with its project manager throughout the prototyping period. In addition to development funds, teams will also have up to 40 hours of access to subject matter experts (SMEs). These experts will be drawn from NASA and will vary, depending on the specific expertise required by a team.
NASA is committed to helping Phase 2 teams be as successful as possible. To this end, they are offering valuable support mechanisms that are in addition to 40 hrs SME support. NASA is willing to assist with an initial design review, including a review of the design drawing and the material and equipment list, before teams start payload fabrication. This can be set up through a team’s project manager. Although documentation packages can be submitted for high level feedback (see below), teams should be proactively working with their project managers to identify and address documentation issues on an ongoing basis.
NASA must receive at least 3 identical, working prototypes, accompanied by a full documentation package, an annotated sample data set, and any additional information by January 28, 2022. If a team is able to provide additional prototypes, this is encouraged. The documentation package covers the following topics (see Resources tab for descriptions of each topic):
NASA will review the documentation packages from any team that have been submitted by October 29, 2021. High-level feedback will be provided by November 19, 2021 to each team. Good supporting documentation for prototypes is critical. NASA expects to receive near-final versions of documentation packages. There will be an opportunity to revise your documentation based on NASA’s feedback and any modifications made prior to final submission.
NASA plans to test one to two prototypes to failure and to reserve the remaining one(s) for possible deployment. These prototypes should arrive at NASA ready to undergo several weeks of rigorous testing. They should represent the final instrument design and should be ready for deployment. It is expected that prototypes, including all sub-systems, will be at TRL of 5 or higher. At the conclusion of the testing and evaluation period, NASA will select a winner and a runner up, based on prototype performance, scientific impact, and overall mission confidence. The winning team will receive $100,000, and the runner-up team will receive $25,000. Due to time constraints, only a portion of environmental testing will occur prior to the award decisions. Award decisions will be made primarily on prototype functional test results and analysis showing the design can survive the expected environments, which teams provide in the documentation package. Additional testing that occurs after award decisions will help inform whether or not prototypes are assigned to future missions.
This challenge has a total prize purse of $800,000.
The Phase 1 prize purse of $675,000 will be shared among up to 4 Phase 1 winning teams. NASA will determine the specific amounts won by each advancing team based on the proposed project budgets from each winning submission and other factors. The maximum amount awarded to any one team will be $225,000. The payment of winnings will be tied to progress against each team’s project plan.
At the end of Phase 2, after testing and evaluation of the received prototypes, NASA will award the winning team $100,000 and a runner-up team $25,000.
In addition to the prizes discussed above, winners will also receive the following non-monetary incentives:
Phase 1 Challenge launch - October 15, 2020
Phase 1 Preliminary project plans due - November 10, 2020
Phase 1 Project plans due - January 4, 2021
Phase 1 Submission evaluation period - January 4-25, 2021
Phase 1 Winners announced - January 28, 2021
Phase 2 Development period - Jan 28, 2021 - Jan 3, 2022
(team-specific milestones met throughout this period)
Phase 2 Initial documentation pkg due - October 29, 2021
Phase 2 Payloads must arrive at JPL - January 28, 2022
Phase 2 Evaluation period - January 28 - February 18, 2022
Phase 2 Winners announced - February 23, 2022
Phase 1 Judging Criteria
|Project plan, timeline, risk and risk mitigation|
Quality of project plan, including clear, concise writing and thoughtful and complete responses. Is a realistic timeline provided? Are milestones tied to significant achievements and meaningful progress? Is the development plan credible? Are all necessary resources considered and planned for?
Have all primary risks been identified? Have risk mitigation strategies been provided?
|Team||Likelihood that the proposing team has the expertise, experience, resources, and commitment to successfully deliver at least 3 working prototypes to NASA on time.||15|
|Cost||Is the budget complete? Are the costs provided realistic and complete? Are the proposed milestones reflective of major accomplishments and progress? Are they appropriately tied to award payments?||20|
|Payload impact and capability||The impact of proposed payload if it is successfully prototyped and deployed. Are the stated capabilities realistic? Is successful payload performance in a lunar environment likely? Is the information gathered important and aligned with the objectives of the Artemis program?||25|
|Likelihood of operational success||Is the feasibility of the proposed payload to operate in a lunar environment demonstrated? Do submitters provide a reasonable justification/analysis that provides confidence their payload can operate under the expected lunar environments? Is a credible operations scenario provided?||15|
Phase 2 Judging Criteria
|Operational Testing||Benchtop demonstration - does it work?||25|
|Functional Performance Testing||Does it make the claimed measurements? Are the measurement accuracy, precision, detection limit, and other performance criteria met?||20|
|Likelihood of surviving environmental testing||Will it perform in the lunar environment?||20|
|Scientific and Technical Impact||The impact of proposed payload if it is successfully deployed.||25|
|Quality of supporting documentation package||The documentation package is comprehensive and complete.||10|
Preliminary submission form
Phase 1 submission form
Phase 2 Submission
A complete submission to Phase 2 consists of:
The Prize is open to anyone age 18 or older participating as an individual or as a team. Individual competitors and teams may originate from any country, as long as United States federal sanctions do not prohibit participation (see: https://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/Programs/Pages/Programs.aspx).
If you are a NASA employee, a Government contractor, or employed by a Government Contractor, your participation in this challenge may be restricted.
Submissions must originate from either the U.S. or a designated country (see definition of designated country at https://www.acquisition.gov/far/part-25#FAR_25_003), OR have been substantially transformed in the US or designated country prior to prototype delivery pursuant to FAR 25.403(c).
Submissions must be made in English. All challenge-related communication will be in English.
You are required to ensure that all releases or transfers of technical data to non-US persons comply with International Traffic in Arms Regulation (ITAR), 22 C.F.R. §§ 120.1 to 130.17.
To be eligible to compete, you must comply with all the terms of the challenge as defined in the Challenge-Specific Agreement.
Innovators who are awarded a prize for their submission must agree to grant NASA a royalty free, non-exclusive, irrevocable, world-wide license in all Intellectual Property demonstrated by the winning/awarded submissions. See the Challenge-Specific Agreement for complete details.
Registration and Submissions:
Submissions must be made online (only), via upload to the HeroX.com website, on or before June 1, 2020, at 5:00 pm ET. No late submissions will be accepted.
Selection of Winners:
Based on the winning criteria, prizes will be awarded per the weighted Judging Criteria section above.
The determination of the winners will be made by HeroX based on the evaluation by relevant NASA specialists.