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.
Just a friendly reminder that your team's static test fire request is due today at 4:59 p.m. Pacific time. Details about this deadline can be found here.
We certainly hope this isn't the case, but if your team has decided to withdraw from the competition, please send us a note at email@example.com so that we know not to expect a static test fire request from you.
The deadline to submit your request to begin static test firing your Base 11 Space Challenge engine is Friday, November 29, 2019 at 4:59 p.m. Pacific. Please note that Thursday and Friday are holidays in the U.S. (Thanksgiving weekend) so plan ahead. Ideally, submit your request by Wednesday before enjoying the long weekend. At the very least, make sure to ask any questions you have of the Base 11 team no later than Wednesday.
For more details about the static test fire request, including how they will be evaluated by the Safety Council, please review this previous update.
Remember that per the Safety Guidelines, all new team members are required to complete this training course. As team members complete the training, it should be recorded in the team's training log. Members will also receive a confirmation email when they have completed all of the modules.
Teams are not expected to have implemented this online training prior to Friday's Phase 2 Interim Report deadline, but are strongly encouraged to implement it as soon as possible, and will be expected to have fully trained all team members by the March 2020 deadline.
As a reminder, teams are encouraged to provide other relevant training to their members. For example, several teams participated in Tripoli or other regional rocketry trainings over the past year. This online safety training should be viewed as just the beginning of your training process. Conversely, this is a free online course available to anyone, so if you have other rocketry teams on your campus that would benefit from the training, they are welcome to take the course, as well.
The final deadline to submit your request to begin static test firing your engine is November 29. This deadline is extremely important, because teams MUST submit by the deadline in order to continue in the competition.
To help you understand what the Safety Council is looking for when reviewing the static test fire, we are sharing this form that the council uses to guide their reviews. The Safety Council is also providing this example Safety Checklist for teams to refer to. The static test fire request should be thoughtful and comprehensive. While the requests are not being evaluated for length, as a point of reference, the shortest static test fire to receive approval so far was about 75 pages.
To date, two teams have been cleared to begin their static test firing and two more had their requests vetted and were given feedback and asked to make modifications to their plans.
When you submit your static test fire request by November 29, there are three potential outcomes:
Approval. This is a “go” decision and means your team has approval to begin static test firing. (Note that no team has received a “go” decision based on their very first submission to the Safety Council. They were all given feedback and asked to revise and resubmit at least one time.)
Contingent approval. In this scenario, your team receives a “no go” on the static test fire request. However, the Safety Council will provide feedback on what needs to be corrected and revisited in the static test fire plan. Your team can revise and resubmit the request for approval the following month. Teams that receive contingent approval are still in the competition, even though they are not yet approved to begin static test fires of their engine.
Denial. Based on the content of their static test fire request submitted this month, some teams will be found to no longer be viable competitors. We anticipate that for a team to have any chance of launching by the end of 2021, they need to have a successful test fire program up and running by mid-2020. If the Safety Council determines that the teams are not reasonably close to achieving this, based on their static test fire request, they will not be given an opportunity to revise and resubmit. For those teams, this will be the end of their participation in the Base 11 Space Challenge, but they can continue to work toward launching their rockets at other competitions such as the Spaceport America’s Cup.
For those teams concerned about the latter outcome, please review this form that the Safety Council uses when reviewing the static test fire requests. They will also be considering the following when reviewing the submissions :
Is the overall test stand design safe, even if it requires minor adjustments, or does it require substantial upgrades to be considered safe?
Is the test stand capable of supporting a full scale, full duration test fire, or will it require substantial upgrades to make that requirement feasible?
What is the timeline on the construction of the test stand and its initial test fire date?
We look forward to seeing your static test fire plans.
We were able to work with HeroX to draft challenge guidelines, promote the challenge to a targeted audience of interested parties, and ultimately draw a crowd of innovators from across the globe to submit proposals to address our challenge. We were quite satisfied with the number and diversity of both individuals and proposals that the challenge drew.