CTE Mission: CubeSat

Bring space missions
to students

A U.S. Department of Education challenge to build technical skills for careers in space and beyond.

Meet the finalists

Congratulations to the five finalists

Over the course of just 10 months, students across the country brought ideas for CubeSat missions from concept to launch. Watch the video of CTE Mission: CubeSat Flight Week and celebrate the finalist teams’ hard work and accomplishments over the past academic year.

Anderson Clark Magnet High School

La Crescenta, California

Studied whether local encampments are in high-risk wildfire areas, with the goal of helping the local fire department to save lives of people without housing.

Freeport High School

Freeport, New York

Measured Earth’s surface temperature to study the differences in heat absorption and retention between urban and rural areas.

Mooresville High School

Mooresville, North Carolina

Measured the effect of their town’s population growth on air quality, land use, and temperature.

Opelika High School

Opelika, Alabama; in collaboration with Columbus High School and Northside High School

Collected performance data for a new type of core material used in NASA-grade fluxgate magnetometers, which are used to study Earth’s changing magnetic field.

Princeton High School

Princeton, New Jersey; in collaboration with Montgomery High School

Optimized space missions by examining topics such as atmospheric pressure density and habitable planetary environments.



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.

Through the challenge, the U.S. Department of Education invited 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 offered 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.

Five finalists were each awarded $5,000, 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 
Learn about the challenge

Important dates

August 18, 2020

Phase 1 opened

September 1, 2020

Virtual information session

September 22, 2020

Virtual Q&A panel

October 16, 2020

Mission proposal deadline

December 2, 2020

Finalists announced

January - May 2021

Phase 2

Finalists conducted flight events in April.

See the detailed timeline


The challenge is now over, but CTE Mission: CubeSat encourages interested students and teachers to start their own CubeSat projects. This resource hub includes curated educational resources, as well as virtual sessions with experts from academia, government, and industry.


A look back at CTE Mission: CubeSat

Read more