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NASA TechRise Student Challenge

Design an experiment to test on a suborbital rocket or high-altitude balloon.

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

Total Cash Prizes Offered: $85,500
Type of Challenge: Software and apps, Technology demonstration and hardware, Scientific
Submission Start: 08/18/2020 08:00 AM ET
Submission End: 11/03/2021 05:00 PM ET


Are you ready to get hands-on with a NASA project next year? In August, NASA’s TechRise Student Challenge will start accepting entries. Teachers are welcome to pre-register now and we will email you with more TechRise content, including curricula, summer workshops, and events as they become available.

From remote sensing and climate research, to microgravity experiments and technologies to explore the Moon, schools are invited to join NASA in its mission to advance space exploration and enhance our knowledge of Earth. If you are in 6th to 12th grade at a U.S. public, private, or charter school next school year, your challenge is to team up with your schoolmates and design a research or technology experiment no larger than 4in x 4in x 8in for one of the following flight test vehicles:

Suborbital rocket with at least 3 minutes of microgravity (i.e., zero-gravity or weightlessness).

High-altitude balloon with more than 4 hours of flight time at 70,000 feet or higher with exposure to Earth’s atmosphere and views of the planet.

To enter this Fall, students will develop experiment ideas in teams and generate answers to application questions using the TechRise Proposal Template. An educator or adult employee of the school will then submit the proposal to this competition website. Each proposal must specify whether the experiment is intended for a suborbital rocket or for a high-altitude balloon flight and should be developed using the Challenge Design Guidelines. Teachers/schools can submit an unlimited number of proposals, but each proposal should be unique.

57 winners will each be awarded a prize pack which consists of: $1500 to develop the proposed experiment, an assigned a spot on a NASA-sponsored flight operated by one of the following flight providers – Blue Origin, UP Aerospace, or Raven Aerostar, and a winner’s package inclusive of a 3D-printed Flight Box to use to build the experiment.

Key Dates

  • Challenge Launch: May 25, 2021
  • Entries Open: August 18, 2021
  • Entries Close: November 3, 2021


Total Cash Prize Pool


Prize Breakdown

$1,500 to 57 teams

Non-monetary Prizes

Flight Opportunity


United States public, private, and charter schools incorporated in and maintaining a primary place of business in the United States that serve students in the range of 6th to 12th grades are eligible to assemble a Team (or multiple Teams) and enter. Eligible schools include schools in the fifty United States, District of Columbia, U.S. Territories or Possessions, and schools operated by the U.S. for the children of American personnel overseas (excluding Department of Defense Dependents Schools and other schools considered a Federal entity) (eligible “Entrant”).

Judging Criteria

  • 25 Points: Originality of the light Experiment
  • 25 Points: Quality of the Build Plan and Compliance with the Design Guidelines
  • 25 Points: Impact on Education and/or Society
  • 25 Points: Timeline Feasibility
  • 5 Points: 5 Bonus Point Awarded if School is Title 1 Eligible

How to Enter

STUDENTS Develop an experiment idea with your school team and fill out the questions on the proposal template. (Template released in August) Give your completed proposal to your teacher.

TEACHERS/EDUCATORS Coordinate with your students to submit their team proposal. Teachers can submit an unlimited amount of proposals, but please make sure each proposal is unique.

Submission URL

Please send your submissions to the following URL:

Point of Contact

Have feedback or questions about this challenge? Send the challenge manager an email