NASA has issued a request for information (RFI) on two CubeSat challenges it is eying for the moon and deep space:
The Centennial Challenges program seeks input on two challenges being considered for start in 2014. The two challenges described in this RFI are based upon feedback to an earlier CubeSat Challenges RFI (http://go.usa.gov/BBSj ) released in February 2014. The challenges build, deliver, and operate flight-qualified small spacecraft capable of advanced operations near the moon and beyond.
The purposes of this RFI are: (1) to gather feedback on the two updated challenges being considered, the overall challenge structure, draft rules, and prize amounts and (2) to determine the level of interest in potentially competing in these challenges.
The first challenge will award up to $3,000,000 in cash prizes to registered competitors that are able to meet or exceed technical objectives for 1) propulsion, 2) communication, and 3) longevity while in lunar orbit. The second challenge will award up to $1,500,00 in cash prizes to registered competitors that are able to meet or exceed technical objectives for 1) communication and 2) longevity beyond lunar distances. Up to $1,000,000 will also be awarded for successful competition of Ground Qualification Competition reviews.
The proposed challenges are NASAs first prize competitions to demonstrate and compete in deep space and would be carried into trans-lunar trajectory of the Interim Cryogenic Propulsion Stage (ICPS) on the first launch (EM-1) of the NASA Space Launch System (SLS) and Orion planned for Fiscal Year 2018 or on non-NASA vehicles that the competitor secures.