ULA Opens Rover, Rocket Payload Design Competition; Rob Strain Quoted

United Launch Alliance has unveiled a competition that encourages participants to submit payload and rover design proposals that will be launched through a refurbished rocket.

Based on NASA’s Mars 2020 mission, the Student Rocket Launch program invites students and interns from Ball Aerospace to design a rover platform that will take off at nearly 5K feet aboard the 35-foot Future Heavy Super Sport rocket, ULA said Thursday.

Non-competing participants are also invited to design payloads that will be fielded via a parachute to a designated location.

Rob Strain, president at Ball Aerospace, said the effort will allow the participants to develop approaches for real-world engineering gaps.

Interested participants have until Feb. 21 to submit their proposals. ULA will then select 20 finalists in the program’s navigation contest.

The Student Rocket Launch program is a yearly event that seeks to provide hands-on experience in the design, engineering, assessment and construction of payload systems. Last year’s payloads included rovers, data sensors and a scale model of the Apollo 11 spacecraft.

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