CTE Mission: CubeSat

Bring space missions
to students

The U.S. Department of Education invites high schools to design and build CubeSat prototypes. The deadline for mission proposals was October 16, 2020.  Finalists will be announced in December 2020.

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A national challenge to build technical skills for careers in space and beyond

Space is a frontier for infinite exploration. As the boundaries of our missions in space continue to expand, so do the opportunities for today’s students to explore a wide range of related careers in space — or their own communities.

The U.S. Department of Education invites high schools to bring space missions to students by designing and building CubeSat prototypes — in the classroom or at home. Designing and building a CubeSat prototype in this multiphase challenge will offer students a firsthand opportunity to learn valuable technical skills — such as engineering, computer science, research, logistics, project management, and marketing — that can be applied to careers in aerospace and many other industries.

Up to five finalists will receive an equal share of the $25,000 cash prize pool, as well as additional in-kind prizes donated by the following organizations: 

  • Arduino
  • Blue Origin
  • Chevron
  • EnduroSat
  • LEGO Education
  • Magnitude.io
  • MIT Media Lab Space Exploration Initiative
  • XinaBox 

The Department understands that due to current conditions, schools will need flexibility to safely collaborate when designing and building prototypes during the challenge. The Department looks forward to the creative solutions in the mission proposals it receives as challenge entries.

Learn about the challenge

Important dates

August 18, 2020

Phase 1 opens

September 1, 2020

Virtual information session

September 22, 2020

Virtual Q&A panel

October 16, 2020

Mission proposal deadline

December 2020

Finalists announced

January - May 2021

Phase 2

Finalists will conduct flight events by early April.

See the detailed timeline


Develop and submit your mission proposals with guidance from the resource hub, a curated collection of virtual resources.


Students meet with federal leaders: Highlights from the October 28 panel

Read more


The deadline for mission proposals was 5:59 p.m. ET on Friday, October 16, 2020.

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