Okay Makers, start your engines!

You’ve got until June 22 to submit an entry to the CubeSat Challenge for Aerospace Engineers and Students through GrabCAD.

cubesat-close-upThe CubeSat is the name given to a standard small research satellite that is built by universities, startups, and makers all over the globe. It was introduced in 1999 and as a result of the standardization of its components, interfaces, and geometries has led to a marked decrease in the cost associated with producing and launching a satellite. Currently, these CubeSats make up the fastest growing segment of the aerospace industry. In addition, this standardization means they can be easily clustered into larger units to provide more complex functionality despite their individual simplicity.

MakerBot_RibbonIt has been realized, however, that the time has come to update the very way in which the satellites are manufactured to incorporate new processes and products made possible through additive manufacturing. As has been done successfully so many times before when looking for innovation in manufacturing the best resources are thousands of minds of makers distributed around the world.

For this reason, Stratasys and its subsidiary MakerBot presented this challenge to the GrabCAD community and its 2 million strong membership. Scott Sevcik, business development manager for aerospace and defense at Stratasys, described the project:

“3D printing allows aerospace engineers to think differently about building satellites and gives them a whole new toolset for packing more capability into a constrained volume. 3D printing can also simplify production as you move from the hand-built satellites of today to an automated process that will enable constellations of small satellites to be built more efficiently. We’re excited to see how the GrabCAD community can advance the CubeSat standard to provide even greater utility.”

429961main_cubesat_1The entries will be evaluated by a group of expert judges:

  • Dr. Jordi Puig-Suari, Cal Poly Professor & Co-Inventor of the CubeSat Standard
  • Dr. Robert Hoyt, CEO & Chief Scientist, Tethers Unlimited Inc.
  • David Espalin, Center Manager – W.M. Keck Center for 3D Innovation, University of Texas El Paso
  • Adam Hadaller, Mission Manager, Spaceflight Industries
  • Patrick Price, Aerospace Additive Manufacturing Research Engineer, Stratasys
  • Jesse Marin, Aerospace Project Engineer, Stratasys Direct Manufacturing
  • Jonathan Cook, Director of Product, MakerBot

The prizes are nothing to sneeze at, either. Rewards will be given for the top 10 entries with the person submitting the top ranked entry walking away with a MakerBot Replicator Desktop 3D printer, $2,500 in cash, their design printed by Stratasys, and some significant coverage by Stratasys media. Second and Third place winners will also receive a Replicator Desktop 3D printer and cash prizes of $1,000 and $500, respectively. Aside from the satisfaction of having made it into the top ten, Fourth through Tenth place winners will each receive $100, a MakerBot T-Shirt, and a 3D printed sample part. Any budding designer knows that having their work in front of a panel such as this is a great way to get a foot in the door or to show off years of expertise for an appreciative audience.

edsn-cubesat-swarm-nasaVisit the CubeSat Challenge website for full entry details and stay tuned because we will announce the lucky winners here!

Let us know if this is a competition you’ll be entering. Fill us in over at the CubeSat Challenge forum thread at 3DPB.com.

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