The Cube Quest competition, sponsored by NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate Centennial Challenge Program, offers a total of $5 million to teams that meet the challenge objectives of designing, building and delivering flight-qualified, small satellites capable of advanced operations near and beyond the moon.
The competition includes has two remaining in-space elements. A Deep Space Derby, and a Lunar Derby.
The Deep Space Derby will focus on finding innovative solutions to deep space communications using small spacecraft, and the Lunar Derby will focus primarily on propulsion for small spacecraft and near-Earth communications. Together, these challenges are expected to contribute to opening deep space exploration to non-government spacecraft for the first time.
Advancements in small spacecraft capabilities may not only provide benefits to future missions but also may enable entirely new mission scenarios. The Cube Quest Challenge seeks to establish precedence for all subsystems necessary to perform deep-space exploration using small spacecraft.