Team Miles was one of 3 winners to get a free launch for their satellite in the NASA CubeQuest Challenge. The challenge, which is a space derby, offers $5.5 million in prizes for teams and will provide launch services on the 2020 NASA SLS-EM1 mission.
Team Miles is the only non-university team to have placed and earned prizes in all four rounds of competition, leading up to them being selected as one of the free launch slots. As a team of citizen scientists and engineers, they came together initially through Tampa Hackerspace, a community, non-profit workshop in Tampa, FL. The team expanded with experts in radiation, communications, software development, and project management.
The NASA Cube Quest Challenge is a competition to build space-ready, small satellites capable of advanced communication and propulsion near and beyond the moon. Teams strive for high-speed data communications, navigation, and survival in lunar orbit or deep space, competing for an unprecedented $5.5 million prize purse in NASA’s first ever in-space challenge. Cube Quest is part of NASA’s Centennial Challenges Program which accelerates technology by engaging non-traditional sources in competition.
The Miles spacecraft is a 6U satellite, about the size of a breadbox, that will be capable of navigating to the Moon, establishing Lunar orbit, conducting its mission, and then navigating to a final orbit near Mars. The entire mission will be flown autonomously by a sophisticated onboard computer system and powered by evolutionary plasma thrusters.
The team’s efforts have also been supported by strategic partnerships with Fluid and Reason (http://fluidandreason.com/), Yosemite Space (http://yosemitespace.com/), The DRI (http://thedri.com/), Piedmont Precision Aeroculture (http://ppaeroculture.com/), Brainloop (http://www.brainloop.com/), Basecamp (https://basecamp.com/), Thermal Management Technologies (http://tmtsdl.com/), and Sabalcore (http://www.sabalcore.com/)