Base 11


Base 11 Space Challenge

The Base 11 Space Challenge is a $1M+ prize for the first student-led team to design, build and launch a liquid-fueled rocket to space.

This challenge is closed

Last Launch Window

This challenge is closed



Are you ready to launch to space?


The Base 11 Space Challenge is a $1M + prize for a student-led team to design, build and launch a liquid-propelled, single stage rocket to an altitude of 100 kilometers (the Karman Line) by December 30, 2021.


The future of the economy resides in space and other science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) sectors.  Indeed, the global space industry is projected to top $3 trillion dollars in the next 30 years, and the White House has re-launched the National Space Council to help accelerate commercial space exploration.  Many posit that efficient and affordable space travel is essential to the human race. But the number one resource needed to support the space industry is human capital. The current aerospace talent pipeline is in crisis.

We want to dramatically increase and empower the STEM talent in the United States, and we believe you are the solution.

The Base 11 Space Challenge will motivate universities to bolster their rocketry programs and to empower students to learn far more than the theory of liquid propulsion systems by providing access to critical resources and to world-class experts.  Students will acquire expertise in rocket safety, learn how to navigate flight regulations, and develop the essential skills of teamwork and innovation that are most in demand by forward-looking companies like SpaceX, Blue Origin, Google, Virgin Galactic, Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin, Dassault Systèmes, and Boeing. Teams will be encouraged to conduct outreach and provide mentorship to community college and high school students to better develop the STEM talent pipeline that includes women and ethnicities traditionally underrepresented in STEM.

Teams that participate in this Challenge will gain real-world experience in engineering, prototyping, testing, failure analysis, data management, teamwork, collaboration, and innovation. Additionally, team members are guaranteed interviews with at least one corporate partner.

Base 11 has teamed with Dassault Systèmes, who will offer their 3D design and simulation software to university teams free of charge and will waive fees for student team members to earn industry-recognized SOLIDWORKS and Catia certifications.  


* The Base 11 Space Challenge is sponsored by National Rocketry League, LLC, a subsidiary of Base 11.


Base 11 is a nonprofit workforce and entrepreneur development company on a mission to solve one of the country’s biggest problems: The growing science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) talent crisis fueled by the underrepresentation of women and ethnic minorities. Together with our partners, we are leading the STEM Revolution.

Our most revolutionary idea is this: that by fostering collaboration between forward-looking industry veterans and passionate, persistent students from high schools and colleges, we can transform high-potential, low-resource college and high school students into the STEM talent that industry so desperately needs. And in the process, we can transform lives and build a sustainable middle class for ALL Americans.

So what are you waiting for? Join the STEM Revolution.


Prize Purse

Base 11 will distribute $1.15 million to the winning Competition Teams’ Universities over the course of this three-phase challenge, with a $1 million award being the ultimate prize for the rocket that reaches the 100 Km altitude mark by December 2021.  Smaller prizes will be awarded during the three phases for technical achievement and for innovative problem-solving.  The monies won from these competitions are intended to help teams defray some of the financial burdens associated with the Challenge. teams defray some of the financial burdens associated with the Challenge.  These prizes will be awarded as follows

  • Best Preliminary Design Award, $50,000 total purse
    • $25,000 for first place, $15,000 for second place, $10,000 for third place
  • Best Static Test Firing Award, $50,000 total purse
    • $25,000 for first place, $15,000 for second place, $10,000 for third place
  • Pop-up Innovation Contests, $50,000 total purse
    • An unspecified number of Contests relating to different rocketry issues
    • Prizes of varying amounts, depending on the specific contest

The first team that launches a single stage, liquid-fueled rocket to reach an altitude of 100 Km wins $1M, to be distributed as directed funding as follows:

  • $500,000 in restricted funding to the university to support rocketry and other STEM-related educational efforts with an emphasis on diversity and inclusion, and
  • $500,000 to the student rocketry team to be disbursed according to the team’s plan submitted at the time of entry.


Who can participate

Any team affiliated with a US or Canadian institute of higher learning can participate in the Challenge, provided they supply all the required information by the September 28, 2018 deadline.  For more information, see the Official Rules.


Timeline and Deliverables

The Base 11 Space Challenge is a three and a half year challenge that launched on June 6, 2018.  A $1M+ prize will go to the student-led team that designs, builds, and launches a liquid-propelled, single stage rocket to an altitude of 100 kilometers (The Karman Line) by December 2021.  Students teams may buy an engine and other off-the-shelf components and may use mentors and subject matter experts to provide design critique and similar guidance.  But launchable rockets are expected to be solely the product of student teams' efforts in terms of design, execution against design, full integration, and launch.  A launch rail suitable for the scale of these rockets will be provided at the Spaceport America launch site.  Use of this rail ensures that all launch attempts will be made using identical equipment.  The timeline, phases, and associated deliverables are outlined below both graphically and in chart format.

Competition DeliverablesDeadlineAvailable for early submission?
Team RegistrationSeptember 28, 2018Yes
Phase 1 Preliminary Design ReportMarch 22, 2019No
Static Test Firing ApprovalNovember 29, 2019Yes, submit by the last Friday of any month. NOTE: Nov. 29, 2019 is the FINAL date to submit your Static Test Firing Request.
Phase 2 Critical Design ReportFebruary 12, 2020Yes
Phase 2 Static Test Fire Report (Optional)CanceledYes*
Phase 3 Launch Readiness ReportJune 18, 2021Yes, on or prior to June 18, 2021 for the December 2021 launch window.
Finals EventDecember 2021

Yes, at the following dates:

December 2021

May 2021

December 2020

May 2020

Interim Reports**

January  2019

November 2019

Summer 2020

May 2021


* While teams may submit Phase 2 Static Test Fire Reports in advance of the official deadline, prizes for these awards will be conferred following the official deadline and judging process.

** Interim reports must be submitted according to the timeline outlined above as long as the Grand Prize is unclaimed.


Entrant Application (June 6 - September 28, 2018)

All teams must be from a US or Canadian Institution of Higher Learning.  All teams and team members should review the Official Rules for complete eligibility requirements.

All teams who submit complete and timely applications by 4:59 pm Pacific Time on September 28, 2018, will be accepted into the challenge. Entry Applications may be submitted early and the first review of applications will occur on August 1, 2018. All Competition Teams that have been selected to participate in the Competition will be notified by the end of November.

To complete your application:

  1. The Faculty Advisor, in collaboration with the CEO, must submit the Team Entry Form which includes the following:
    1. Primary and secondary point of contacts
    2. Completed team roster including assignment of the five mandatory roles: Faculty Advisor, CEO, Chief Safety Officer, Business Development Director, and Chief Engineer
    3. Every team member must complete the following:
      1. A signed media waiver
      2. A completed biography
      3. A head and shoulders photograph (minimum 300 dpi resolution)
      4. Students only: Verification that he or she is a current student at the team-affiliated university (verification certificate from university registrar of the type provided for health or auto insurance)
      5. Students only: A signed parental consent form if under the age of 18
    4. A signed authorization form from the university (dean-level or above) supporting the team entry and specifying how Grand Prize funds would be distributed should the team win.
    5. Evidence of insurance: see requirements here.
    6. A description of recent student rocketry activities, if any
    7. First video diary submission (see guidelines, specific questions to address are in submission form)
  2. Additionally, every student team member and the faculty advisor listed on the team roster must accept the Official Rules. To do so, click the ACCEPT CHALLENGE button at the Challenge homepage, then read and accept the Official Rules at the bottom.

Please note that as new members join the team:

  1. Their names must be added to an updated team roster
  2. They must complete and submit the individual team member forms listed in section 1.c. above
  3. They must accept the Official Rules.
  4. They must attend the virtual safety training series.

Please review the Best Practices for Team Composition prior to completing your application.


Approval to Begin Static Test Firing

Static test firing of engines is a critical part of the Base 11 Space Challenge  but it is also one of the most hazardous steps in the process of building a rocket.  Prior to performing any static test firing of engines, teams must submit their engine test stand design and static test firing procedure for review.  The National Rocketry League, LLC., the Safety Advisory Council, and the judges will review test stand design and test firing procedure to ensure that they are acceptable and well thought out.  This review is a straight-forward go/no go decision. Teams must receive approval before any test firing attempts are made.  Review of a team’s test stand design and test firing procedure can occur anytime after November 2018.  The deadline for submitting designs and firing procedures for review is November 29, 2019. Additional information can be found the document Requirements for Static Test Firing Approval.


Phase 1: Preliminary Design (June 2018 – March 2019)

After the September 28, 2018 deadline, no new teams will be allowed to participate in the Challenge.  In fall, 2018, there will be an in-person meeting of all team safety officers.  Before the start of any prototyping or testing, all teams will be required to attend the virtual safety training series.  Furthermore, once any type of testing or prototyping starts, the safety officers from each team will be required to maintain a safety log that records all safety incidents, including near-misses, and documents remedial action(s) taken to prevent recurrence. In addition, teams must increase their insurance coverage prior to any static testing as per the Risk Management and Insurance Guidelines

By the end of this phase, teams will have produced a complete high-level design of their vehicle, with sufficient detail for each major subsystem to demonstrate the soundness of the design, supported by calculation, analysis, simulation and/or initial test data.

Throughout the Challenge, all teams will be required to provide Base 11 with regular updates in addition to Phase Reports.  Please see the Interim Update section for deadlines and more information.

Phase 1 Preliminary Design reports, associated design files, an updated team roster, a copy of the training log, and a copy of the safety log must be uploaded to the HeroX and 3DS platforms by the March 22, 2019 deadline.  Preliminary designs need to address:

  • Overall system design and underlying assumptions
  • Mass budget
  • Propellant selection and engine design
  • Engine test stand design and test plan
  • Fuel shut off safety system
  • Airframe structure
  • Flight dynamics
  • Electronics and altitude monitoring
  • Software
  • Recovery system
  • Ground support equipment
  • Safety and hazards

Teams will also be asked to describe their strategy for succession planning, knowledge retention, and outreach to community colleges and high schools to build their talent pipeline.

There will be a demonstration of a static engine test firing in March 2019.  This demonstration will be an excellent opportunity for teams to meet one another and to meet Challenge sponsors and Base 11 personnel.  In addition to observing a static test firing, there will be an opportunity to develop relationships with sponsors, judges, and other professionals in the field.  The test firing will be accompanied by a live safety session/demonstration.  The four key members of each team (CEO, Chief Engineer, Chief Safety Officer, and Business Development Director) are strongly encouraged to attend, and it is strongly recommended that members of the propulsion design group also attend. Teams must increase their insurance coverage prior to the team starting static test firing per the Risk Management and Insurance Guidelines.

Judges will review the Phase 1 submissions from each team and provide written feedback in accordance with the Phase 1 Judging Rubric.   In June, the top five teams will be invited to pitch their rocketry program in front of a group of judges at the Next Frontier event at Caltech. Winners of Phase 1 will be announced at that time. As teams move into Phase 2, they will have the opportunity to choose to collaborate and pool resources.  In situations where teams do collaborate:

  • Teams are required to notify Sponsor in advance of such merger and designate one University’s Competition Team to be the remaining Competition Team; the other Competition Team(s) will be deemed disqualified from the Competition upon such notice, but the Entrants associated with those disqualified Teams may be added to the roster of the remaining Competition Team so long as all other requirements of these Rules are met.
  • Sponsor shall not be involved in how any Prize is allocated among merging Competition Teams and will award the applicable Prize(s) only to the University of the remaining, non-disqualified, Competition Team.


Phase 2: Critical Design

During this phase, the iterative processes of prototyping designs, testing them, incorporating test results into the next design version, prototyping the new version, etc. occur.  Due to the aggressive timeframe for Phase 2, operational and design safety must be emphasized.  

Phase 2 Critical Design reports, associated design files, an updated team roster, and a copy of the Safety Log should be uploaded to the HeroX and the 3DS platforms anytime, but no later than the submission deadline. The deadline is February 12, 2021.  Judges will review the submitted content and provide written feedback.  Teams again have the opportunity to combine with other teams as they move into Phase 3.  

Teams may submit Phase 2 deliverables in advance of the Phase 2 deadlines and will receive written feedback within approximately 6 weeks of submission. 


Static Test Firing Prizes - CANCELED

Due to delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the deadline for Phase 2 has been pushed back to February 2021 to allow as many teams as possible to remain in the competition. The Phase 3 deadline remains unchanged. With these new dates, between Phase 2 and Phase 3, there is not sufficient time for static test fire reports to be evaluated and prizes awarded between Phase 2 and Phase 3. 

Team submissions will include:

  • Static Test Firing report (available at a later date)
  • Video of the test firing (per instructions in the report template).

Judges will review the submissions and award the first place winner $25,000, second place $15,000, and third place $10,000.  Awards will be announced in 2021.  Judges will evaluate each team’s static test firing as follows:

  • Demonstrating target thrust
  • Demonstrating target specific impulse
  • Demonstrating stable combustion (i.e. minimal thrust oscillation)
  • Demonstrating full design burn duration
  • Operability of the test setup (ease of setup and operation)
  • Overall professionalism of the team in setting up and conducting the test.


Phase 3: Launch Readiness

During this phase, teams are collecting data, and building and refining their rockets in preparation for receiving launch approval and scheduling a launch attempt. 

There are four separate Launch Windows during which teams may attempt to launch their rocket to win the Grand Prize.  The Launch Windows are tentatively scheduled as follows:


First Launch Window - CanceledMay 2020
Second Launch Window - CanceledDecember 2020
Third Launch Window - CanceledMay 2021
Fourth Launch WindowDecember 2021


In order to attempt a launch, teams must have successfully submitted both Phase 1 and Phase 2 reports before submitting their Phase 3 launch readiness reports, related design files, and a copy of their safety log. 

To attempt a launch during the May 2021 launch window, teams must submit Phase 3 documents to the judges by January 31, 2021. Judges will provide written feedback within 4-6 weeks and will provide review and discussion of any necessary next steps by teleconference with the team within 2 weeks of providing the written feedback.  The judges will inform the team whether or not they have received launch approval at the end of the teleconference, or shortly thereafter.


Days prior to launch window 1, 2, or 3Action
  • Phase 1 report and all supporting documentation (safety log, video updates, etc) successfully submitted
  • Phase 2 report and all supporting documentation successfully submitted
  • Phase 3 report and all supporting documentation submitted
  • Base 11 informed of launch intent
  • Judges provide written feedback to Phase 3 report
  • Judges hold teleconference with team to review feedback
  • Judges inform team of their launch approval decision
  • Base 11 and Spaceport America each provide final approval for launch attempt, pending FAA waiver
  • Flight Safety Review


It is likely that most teams will attempt to launch their rockets in the  final launch window, in December 2021.  In order to accommodate the larger number of launch attempts, the timeline for this window is longer.  To attempt a launch in the final, December 2021, Launch Window teams must submit their Phase 3 documents by the June 18, 2021 deadline.  Judges will provide written feedback by August 13, 2021.  Teleconferences will be scheduled with each team in early September 2021 to review the written feedback and discuss any necessary next steps.  A teleconference with the judges to review feedback will be held within 2 weeks from the return of judges’ feedback.  Judges will inform each team whether or not they have received launch approval soon after their teleconferences with the judges, and no later than early October 2021.  


Additionally, as teams prepare their launch readiness reports, they will prepare and submit to the FAA their applications for a Class 3 waiver.  It is anticipated that much of the information necessary for the launch readiness reports will be reused in the waiver applications.  Teams should budget at least 60 days for the FAA to grant the waivers. The deadline to apply for FAA Class 3 waivers for the December 2021 Launch Window is October 11, 2021.


Teams that are unsuccessful in an initial launch attempt are permitted to try again, time and resources permitting,  as long as successive attempts occur before the December 30, 2021 deadline.  Teams must request and receive launch approval from the judges for each attempt.

Once a team has a successful launch attempt, they win the $1M purse and the challenge is over. If more than one team launches at the same launch attempt and more than one team reaches the 100 Km altitude mark, the winning team will be determined by evaluation against secondary criteria. See Official Rules for details. 


Interim Updates

All teams will be required to check in with Base 11 four additional times throughout the Challenge, for an interim update.  Teams will be able to share their challenges and successes.  It will also be a checkpoint for safety officers to review efforts to implement the safety protocols outlined in the Safety Requirements document. 

Interim update submission requirements include:


Teams must submit interim updates according to the following schedule (exact dates to be provided):

  • January  2019
  • November 2019
  • Summer 2020
  • May 2021


Pop-up Innovation Contests

Throughout the course of the Challenge, there will be pop-up Innovation Contests.  These fun, short contests will be posted at the Base 11 Space Challenge site with little or no warning.  During these Innovation Contests, Base 11 and/or its corporate sponsors will post a specific topic or problem associated with rocketry to which teams are invited to respond with short, innovative solutions.  These Contests will only be open for a few weeks at a time, and responses are intended to be short, informal submissions that address the issue in unexpected, innovative, or unconventional ways.  Awards will typically be small, on the order of several thousand dollars.

These Innovation Contests will be a great way for teams to think outside the box on issues that are related to this rocketry Challenge!



There is an inherent contradiction between the danger of working with liquid rocket fuels and the race to be the first team to reach 100 Km.  To address this, the Base 11 Space Challenge is taking a leadership position on rocketry program safety by establishing a Safety Advisory Council.  Composed of respected and nationally recognized industry experts, this Council developed and oversaw the creation of the safety guidelines.  To establish and maintain a culture of safety throughout the challenge, there will be mandatory safety training for all members of all teams.  Additionally, every team is required to have a safety officer.  Among the safety officer’s responsibilities is the maintenance of a safety log throughout the challenge.  The safety log will be regularly reviewed by the judges.  Gross violation of the Safety Guidelines is grounds for disqualification from the challenge.

Base 11 and the Safety Advisory Council endeavor to establish and maintain a culture of safety by providing guidance and numerous resources regarding safety and best practices for working with rockets and liquid fuels.  But ultimately the responsibility and liability for a safe and rewarding experience rests with each participating team in this Base 11 Space Challenge. Please see the Safety Tab for more details.



Best Practices for Team Composition

The team roster lists a number of roles, and ideally, all roles will be filled.  Teams are encouraged to assign members to specific roles.  However, 4 student roles and 1 faculty role are required.  Specific names must be entered into these 5 roles for the team entry to be complete.  The required roles are:

  • Faculty Advisor
  • CEO (team leader)
  • Chief Engineer
  • Chief Safety Officer
  • Business Development Director (business and marketing)

Additionally, in support of active outreach and building the talent pipeline, teams may invite certain individuals from local high schools or community colleges to join the university team.  Such individuals must complete all the individual team member entry forms listed above, undergo safety training, and be listed on the team roster.  If the individual is under 18, a signed parental consent form must also be submitted.  These apprentice team members may not comprise more than 15% of the team composition

It is expected that the team will undergo changes over the course of the Challenge as some students graduate and new students join the team.  In order to manage the ebb and flow of the team composition, these best practices for team composition are strongly encouraged:

  • Teams should consist of a minimum of 10 active students and 1 faculty advisor/mentor.
  • Teams should avoid having greater than 50% changeover in any given school year.
  • Students who leave the team due to graduation may continue to participate in the challenge as a team member.
  • Students who leave the team due to graduation and do not continue to participate in the challenge as a team member are recommended to provide mentorship and support through monthly video calls or check-ins with their team.


Prize Details

All Prizes except for the Grand Prize of $1 Million U.S. Dollars will be awarded during the Competition and are intended to be used to offset or defray some of the expenses associated with participation in the Competition.  It is intended that the University of the Competition Team winning the $1 Million Grand Prize use 50% of funds to support STEM education with an emphasis on diversity and inclusion; and the other 50% to directly support the University’s rocketry team (through scholarships, lab equipment, materials, or even stipends to team members who contributed to the development of the successful rocket).  The Prize amounts for each competition are as follows:

Contest NamePrize CriteriaPrize Amount
Best Preliminary DesignBased on Preliminary Design Reports.

$25k – 1st

$15k – 2nd

$10k – 3rd

Best Static Test FiringBased on Static Test Firing Report and Static Test Firing Performance

$25k – 1st

$15k – 2nd

$10k – 3rd

Pop-Up Innovation AwardsTBD$50K total
Grand PrizeFirst Competition Team to launch a liquid-propelled, single-stage rocket to an altitude of 100 km.$1 Million


Base 11 is a nonprofit workforce and entrepreneur development company on a mission to solve one of the country’s biggest problems: The growing science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) talent crisis fueled by the underrepresentation of women and ethnic minorities. Together with our partners, we are leading the STEM Revolution.

Our most revolutionary idea is this: that by fostering collaboration between forward-looking industry veterans and passionate, persistent students from high schools and colleges, we can transform high-potential, low-resource college and high school students into the STEM talent that industry so desperately needs. And in the process, we can transform lives and build a sustainable middle class for ALL Americans.

So what are you waiting for? Join the STEM Revolution.



1These Guidelines are for informational purposes only and do not constitute the Official Rules. To the extent these Guidelines conflict with the Official Rules, the Official Rules control.


Challenge Updates


Nov. 21, 2022, 9:35 p.m. PST by Jade Kim

Although the Base 11 $1m+ Space Challenge has officially concluded, the money is still on the table! If you are a university rocketry team who is interested in building a liquid fueled rocket that can reach the Karman Line, you still have a chance at winning the $1M prize. For more details, visit or reach out to with the subject line "Space Challenge".

Register now for an exciting update on the Space Challenge!

Sept. 21, 2021, 6:03 p.m. PDT by Kyla Jeffrey

The Base 11 Space Challenge was launched in 2018 with the mission to award $1M+ to the first student-led rocketry team to launch a liquid-fueled rocket to the Karman Line by December 30, 2021. Since then, many exciting updates have happened. Tune into the virtual Next Frontier Conference & EXPO on October 6th to hear about how far the challenge has come and what to expect next for the largest collegiate rocketry competition in the world. Register now for free!

Phase 3 Flight Readiness Review form is now LIVE

June 15, 2021, 3:02 p.m. PDT by Andrew Berger

Hello Teams,


The Phase 3 Flight Readiness Review form is now live and available for teams to begin looking at.

In order for Base11, the Safety Council, Spaceport America and the White Sands/FAA team to support a Space Challenge launch to the Karman line, significant resources must be focused on the review and approval processes. The most critical resource is the one we cannot control which is TIME.  

Flight Readiness Reviews require a fully integrated rocket.  Launch procedures, safety checks, recovery systems, tracking systems, essentially every system within the project must be finalized and ready for review. 


The Safety Council has set Friday, June 18th, 2021, as the final deadline for submitting video and data from a successful, full duration, full impulse hotfire test of the flight-ready engine.  Failure to complete engine testing before this deadline will result in the team no longer competing in the Space Challenge.



Congratulations to our Phase 2 Space Challenge Winners!

April 20, 2021, 11:25 a.m. PDT by Christine Byrd
Astronaut Leland Melvin and SVP of Dassault Systèmes Al Bunshaft announced the Phase 2 winners of the Base 11 Space Challenge.

At today's Next Frontier Spring Innovation Session, we announced the winners of Phase 2 of the Base 11 Space Challenge. Phase 2 is the Critical Design Review (CDR) and although there were no cash prizes associated with this phase, we were excited to share the top-performing teams, as determined by the judges. Al Bunshaft, Senior Vice President of Dassault Systèmes and astronaut Leland Melvin jointly announced the winners.  They are:

  • 1st place - Space Concordia, Concordia University
  • 2nd place - MASA, University of Michigan
  • 3rd place - UBC Rocket, University of British Columbia

It's worth noting that three other teams also remain in the competition, having completed their CDRs. They are: 

  • HALE, Oregon State University
  • PSAS, Portland State University
  • TREL, University of Texas at Austin

Congratulations to all of the teams that have made it this far, especially amid the unexpected challenges of 2020. You can expect your written feedback from the judges in the next few weeks.


Reminder: Watch the the Phase 2 winners announcement tomorrow

April 19, 2021, 9:11 a.m. PDT by Christine Byrd

Tomorrow at Base 11’s Next Frontier Spring Innovation Session, we'll announce the winners of Phase 2 of the Base 11 Space Challenge. Register here. 

More highlights of the virtual event include:

  • Be the FIRST to access Base 11 Digital, the new all-in-one mobile and desktop platform that provides students and early career adults with the access, awareness & belief needed to succeed in STEM careers of the 21st Century
  • Access the Boulé-Base 11 Fellows Program designed to develop a pipeline of highly skilled, well-connected African American STEM leaders in industry, science, medicine and law
  • Discover new Innovation Challenges from Thermo Fisher Scientific, Dassault Systèmes, and Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity, aka the Boulé
  • Hear tips for landing internship/jobs from STEM employers hiring now, including Sensata Technologies and Regeneron.





Creating and implementing a world-class safety protocol for liquid-fueled rocketry teams in universities across the US and Canada is a priority for the Base 11 Space Challenge.

Safety requirements include:

  • Industry-approved Base 11 Space Challenge Safety Guidelines provide safety advice and establish minimum safety requirements for teams.
  • Each team must designate a Safety Officer at the time of entering the competition.
  • Safety Officers are required to participate in mandatory in-person safety training in October 2018.
  • Safety Officers are responsible for maintaining an up-to-date Safety Log at all times, and tracking team member training in the Training Log.
  • All team members are required to complete an online safety training before beginning any prototyping. (details TBA).

Safety Resources:

Safety Forms and Reports:

  • Incident Log Template:Teams are required to log every injury, illness, or "near miss" event (which could have caused an injury or illness) that occur in relation to the team's rocket activities and submit the log to the required individuals, as detailed in Appendix D of the Safety Guidelines. The forms must be completed no matter how minor the injury, illness or near miss. One form is to be completed by the individual who was involved in the incident, and a second form is to be completed by the Safety Officer. Understanding the incidents and near misses helps to identify and correct hazards before they cause serious injuries.
  • Safety Logs: The Safety Officer is responsible for maintaining an up-to-date Safety Log, which is the collection of all Incident Logs (see above). Teams must submit their Safety Log at every interim report and submission deadline. Safety Logs must also be available immediately upon request.
  • Training Logs: The Safety Officer is responsible for keeping track of the training that team members have completed, and ensuring that necessary training has occurred for each team member, based on his or her role on the team.

Questions? Post them in the Forum or email them to

Safety Council Members include:

Mark Holthaus, Systems Engineer, Boeing

Mark Holthaus has worked as an electrical engineer in the aerospace industry since 1977.  His work experience includes:  electronic design, flight termination, reliability, and safety for military aircraft, hypersonic vehicles, space vehicles, and reusable launch vehicles. He has volunteered as a mentor to engineering students at California State University, Long Beach for 15 years.

Since 1995, Mark has been active in amateur rocketry, starting as a team member with the Spacefarer project, a proposed bipropellant liquid rocket designed to reach 60 miles. The Spacefarer held an amateur record of 120,000-lb-sec total-impulse for about 15 years.  By 1998, Mark received a license by the California State Fire Marshal’s Office as a Pyrotechnic Operator, Rockets – 1st Class.  This license enabled Mark to legally supervise and launch commercial and experimental rockets utilizing solid, liquid, and hybrid motors/engines in the state.

In 2003, Mark was part of a small group of rocket enthusiasts that formed the Friends of Amateur Rocketry (FAR).  Mark is both a director and treasurer of FAR.  FAR’s mission was established to support STEM education through static firing and launch of amateur rockets.  He is the lead pyrotechnic operator and head of safety for the FAR Site, which is a ten-acre test site in the Mojave Desert established by FAR, which has hosted many college and university student rocketry teams.


Bill Gutman, Director of Aerospace Operations, Spaceport America

Dr. Bill Gutman has been the Director of Aerospace Operations for Spaceport America since October 2009, although his deep involvement with the project goes back to the mid 1990s through a technical support contract with New Mexico State University. As Director of Aerospace Operations, his major responsibilities are to oversee launches and flight safety, to maintain the FAA Launch Site Operator License, and to be the technical liaison with launch customers. He also has the honor of being the face of Spaceport America’s STEM outreach program. In that capacity, he tries and frequently succeeds at exciting the upcoming generation about STEM careers. He presents space demonstrations and videos to every sixth grade science class in the Las Cruces Public Schools as well as to many other school groups around New Mexico using both in-person and virtual methods.

Prior to joining the spaceport, Dr. Gutman was employed by the New Mexico State University Physical Science Laboratory and worked on a variety of projects. These included high power laser propagation research, development of optical instrumentation systems, and development of advanced sensor systems. Beginning in 1999, he participated in the development of the unmanned aircraft program at NMSU PSL.

Dr. Gutman earned his Ph.D. in optical and molecular physics from Ohio State University.


Jeff Kincaid, Vice President of Engineering (ret.), Rocketdyne

Jeff was employed by Rocketdyne from 1972 until he retired in 2015. As Vice President of Engineering, he was responsible for the technical excellence of diverse rocket propulsion, space and land power programs. Before that, Jeff served as Chief Engineer for Rocketdyne, Chief Engineer of the RS-68 Engine for the Boeing Delta IV program and Chief Engineer of the Linear Aerospike engine for the NASA/ Lockheed-Martin X-33 program. He also served as the Director of structural analysis, structural dynamics and aerothermodynamics for the Space Shuttle Main Engines. He is currently a technical consultant for Rocketdyne liquid rocket engine programs.

Jeff has a BS degree in Aerospace Engineering from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona and a Certificate in Program Management from West Coast University.

Jeff lives in Simi Valley with his wife Nancy. He decided he wanted to be a “rocket scientist” at the age of 7. As such, he is looking forward to becoming one of the first 1,000 people to enter space, aboard Virgin Galactic’s rocketplane in the near future.


Michael McDermott, Manager of Environmental Health and Safety, SpaceX

Michael is the Manager of Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) for the SpaceX rocket manufacturing campus located in Hawthorne, CA. Managing a team of EHS professionals, Michael oversees all aspects of EHS associated with SpaceX’s design, R&D, manufacturing, testing, and refurbishment of SpaceX launch vehicles and space crafts. Prior to joining SpaceX, Michael held a number of EHS management positions for Aleris International, an aluminum metal manufacturer servicing the aerospace and transportation market segments, and the Eaton Corporation, where he supported manufacturing operations in their Electrical, Aerospace, and Hydraulic business units.

Michael received a B.S. in Health & Safety Sciences from the Indiana University of Pennsylvania, and an MBA from the Pennsylvania State University.


Adam Trumpour, Concept Designer, Pratt & Whitney Canada and Founding Partner, Continuum Aerospace Inc.

Adam Trumpour is a concept designer for Pratt & Whitney Canada, where he supports systems integration and mechanical design for a range of aircraft turbine engines and is involved in the research and development of experimental hardware. He is also a founding partner of Continuum Aerospace, a small company devoted to engineering consulting and developing innovative rocket propulsion systems for suborbital, micro-satellite and space tourism markets and has performed studies for the Canadian Space Agency. Adam previously volunteered with the DaVinci Project, a Toronto-based competitor in the XPRIZE, where he helped develop hybrid rocket propulsion systems. In his spare time, Adam participates in amateur rocketry activities focused on liquid propellant engines, mentors student rocketry teams, and works to advance the cause of entrepreneurial space and rocketry in Canada. He served as a technical advisor for the Base 11 Space Challenge.
Adam earned his Master of Applied Science in aerospace engineering from Ryerson University and his bachelor’s in engineering science from the University of Toronto.