NASA will host the 2016 edition of the Student Launch competition alongside the Mars Ascent Vehicle Challenge at the space agency’s Marshall Space Flight Center on April 16.
The event will gather 50 teams from 22 states that will display rocket launch technology and robotic ground support systems, the space agency said Friday.
The top three teams in the MAV Challenge will win $50,000 from NASA, while a $5,000 prize from corporate sponsor Orbital ATK will be given to the highest-ranking team under the Student Launch segment.
Student Launch participants will aim to launch their rockets to reach an altitude of up to 5,280 feet above sea level at the Bragg Farms in Alabama, NASA said.
Participants in the MAV Challenge, which the Centennial Challenges program sponsors, will demonstrate an autonomous robotic system that will work to retrieve and store a mock sample from Mars into a rocket.
NASA added that an open house event called Rocket Fair will also commence to give teams an opportunity to deliver technical presentations on developed rocket and autonomous systems and receive feedback from NASA and Orbital ATK’s team of rocket scientists and engineers.