Space Access 12: Nano-Satellite Launch Challenge Discussion

Percy Luney
Vice President, Space Florida

Space Florida is administering NASA’s $3 million Nano-Satellite Launch Challenge through a new non-profit, the Space Florida Small Satellite Research Center. Luney was at Space Access 12 to solicit ideas and and answer questions from attendees on proposed rules set to be released for public comment on Tuesday.
Notes on Presentation and Discussion

  • Nano-Satellite Launch Challenge is contest to launch nanosats into space twice within seven days
  • Nano-Satellite competition is one of  NASA’s Centennial Challenges
  • Prizes: First Prize, $1.5 million; second prize, $1 million; third prize, $500,000
  • Competition designed to promote both air launch and ground launch and prizes are apportioned accordingly
  • If first prize is won through air launch, then second prize will go to first team to achieve it via ground launch (and vice versa).  Third prize would be awarded for accomplishing the goal via either method.
  • Proposed rules for the competition will be released on the Space Florida website ( on Tuesday for public comment
  • Final rules will be issued in late May after public comments are received
  • $10,000 registration fee to cover overhead costs (tentative)
  • Addition fee paid to pay for judges to fly to launch location and stay through seven-day window
  • Range fees are additional charges on top of those costs
  • Depending upon the range, may have to pay range fees for both launches
  • Space Florida operates commercial launch facility at Cape Canaveral that is available to any team that wants to launch from it
  • Space Florida will work with competitors to deal with Air Force on range approvals for Cape Canaveral
  • For air launches, could not launch two rockets on the same flight — would have to come back, land, and take off again — two sorties
  • Competitors would not be penalized for act of God events (i.e., weather constraints delaying second launch attempt)