Sharing Is Caring

U.S. government agencies constantly work to address issues that affect people, communities, and industries throughout the country and even the world. Sometimes, they need help.


Since 2010, the U.S. government has run over 1,200 prize competitions – engaging public solvers ranging from students and hobbyists to small business owners and academic researchers.


Challenge.Gov, managed by the General Services Administration, is a leading program that supports federal agencies to mature and scale the use of prize competitions in order to advance their missions. The Challenge.Gov team delivers this support by offering advanced infrastructure, empowering members of the Challenge and Prize Community of Practice, hosting interactive learning experiences, and developing practical toolkits.


Through this Challenge.Gov website, federal agencies can engage public solvers in challenges and prize competitions (together referred to as “prize competitions”) to identify innovative solutions to critical issues.


This site also provides a comprehensive toolkit for federal employees interested in or currently running prize competitions. Developed with insights from experts across government, this toolkit contains a robust repository of resources, best practices, and case studies.


Longitude and ship navigation, Lindbergh’s transatlantic flight, even initial designs for the U.S. Capitol and White House—all were the result of open prize competitions. More recently, challenges have produced concepts for the next “lunar loo” (space toilet), an improved digital wallet user interface, protecting fish from water infrastructure, opioid detection in international mail, and “getting out the count” for the census.


And yes, those self-driving vehicles got their start in federal prize competitions too!


Applications are open for the NASA TechRise Student Challenge 2021. From remote sensing and climate research to microgravity experiments and technologies to explore the Moon, schools are invited to join NASA in its mission to advance space exploration and enhance the knowledge of Earth.


If you are in sixth to 12th-grade at a U.S. public, private, or charter school, your challenge is to team up with your schoolmates and develop an experiment for one of the following flight test vehicles:


  • Suborbital rocket with about three minutes of microgravity (i.e., weightlessness).


  • High-altitude balloon with more than four hours of flight time at 70,000 feet, exposure to Earth’s atmosphere, and views of our planet.



  • A total of 57 winning teams will each receive $1,500 to build their experiment, a 3D-printed flight box in which to build it, and an assigned spot to test their experiment on a NASA-sponsored suborbital flight.


  • The winning teams will also have access to technical support and office hours with Future Engineers experts when building their experiments.


Requirements & Qualification

  • United States public, private, and charter schools incorporated in and maintaining a primary place of business in the United States that serve students in the range of 6th to 12th grades are eligible to assemble a Team (or multiple Teams) and enter.


  • Minimum 4 students per team. No maximum number of students per team.


  • Eligible schools include schools in the fifty United States, District of Columbia, U.S. Territories or Possessions, and schools operated by the U.S. for the children of American personnel overseas (excluding Department of Defense Dependents Schools and other schools considered a Federal entity).


Application Process

  • Originality of the light Experiment (25 Points)


  • Quality of the Build Plan and Compliance with the Design Guidelines (25 Points)


  • Impact on Education and/or Society (25 Points)


  • Timeline Feasibility (25 Points)


  • 5 Bonus Point Awarded if School is Title 1 Eligible


How To Apply

Interested and qualified candidates should,


  • Students: Develop an experiment idea with your school team and fill out the questions on the proposal template. Give your completed proposal to your teacher.


  • Teachers/Educators: Coordinate with your students to submit their team proposal. Teachers can submit an unlimited amount of proposals, but make sure each proposal is unique.


Please send your submissions to the following URL: https://www.futureengineers.org/nasatechrise


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