The International Space Solar Power Student Project Competition

The need to advance STEM (science, technology, engineering & mathematics) education is especially important in encouraging the emergence of future generations of researchers, technologists and innovators in aerospace, and especially in the fields of expertise required for the successful exploration, development and eventual settlement of space. The critical topic of Space Solar Power (SSP) – harvesting solar energy in space affordably and delivering it to markets in space and on Earth – has been studied as a vision for humanity's future for almost 50 years. And yet there are almost no courses (and no degrees of which we are aware) offered on this topic at either the undergraduate or the graduate levels in accredited colleges or universities.

If Space Solar Power – which is critical to space development and settlement – is to become a reality, this must change.
SPACE Canada and several other organizations are organizing an annual faculty-advised, student-conducted international research and engineering research and paper competition on the topic of Space Solar Power.
The following are selected Highlights of the new competiton:
  1. This will be an annual competition; the first year will be this year, 2017
  2. The purpose of the competition is to engender new, meaningful and credible student research projects in the broad field of Space Solar Power, and to support the presentation of the best of the various projects in an international forum including explicit recognition of the best research with a formal prize.
  3. The competition will involve Prizes with two main parts:
    1. First, travel and registration support for selected semi-finalist teams to attend the annual International Space Development Conference (ISDC), with a formal certificate of recognition for selected semi-finalist teams (as a team, and for each team member, including the faculty advisor); and,
    2. Travel and registration support for one or two selected finalist team(s) to present their results to the International Astronautical Federation (IAF) SSP Symposium at the annual International Astronautical Congress, with a formal certificate and a plaque for the selected winning team(s) (the plaque for the team, and a certificate for each participant, including the faculty advisor).
  4. The competition is open to participation by faculty-coached, student-implemented project team, including a faculty advisor, not fewer than two undergraduate students and potentially one or more graduate students from any accredited international college or university. A given project team may involve more than a single university in an integrated team; however, each team from any participating college or university must include not less than two undergraduate students and one faculty advisor.
  5. The competition will involve three stages: (1) registration and proposal / abstract submission; (2) preliminary presentation of interim results at the Space Solar Power Track of the annual NSS ISDC (in late May each year); and (3) final presentation (with a formal technical paper) of the one or two best projects at the IAF Power Committee Solar Power Satellite (SPS) Symposium at the annual International Astronautical Congress (IAC) (in late September each year).
  6. Semi-finalists in the annual competition will be chosen by an independent review process based on submitted abstracts and draft presentation materials; these will be provided with a fixed level of financial support for their attendance and presentation of interim results at the annual ISDC SSP Track. (Participation in the ISDC must comprise not less than one student team member and one faculty advisor; however otherwise the decision as to who should participate and how the funds should be distributed among team members to meet travel and registration costs will be flexible.)
  7. The deadline for participation in the 2017 competition is the development and submission of an abstract for a proposed student research project by not later than the end of March 2017.
For additional information, please download the competition announcement provided here: Download PDF.
We look forward to the active participation by students and faculty from accredited colleges and universities globally in this new competition. If you would like to indicate interest in participating, and to obtain additional information, please contact us