C3: COSMIC Capstone Challenge

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Institutions are encouraged to register by August 4, 2024

Late Registration will be open through October 14, 2024

C3: Background

The COSMIC Capstone Challenge (C3) is a competition to design a payload, to be hosted about the BCT X-Sat Venus Class bus, that will demonstrate a chain of 3 or more operations that provide an on-orbit, autonomous ISAM capability. Successful projects will engage in the early design work necessary for a complex ISAM mission that could be ready for launch by the end of the decade. 

As a Conceptual Design Challenge, C3 invites students to explore the concepts that are the starting point for ambitious orbital missions. 

While C3 has recommended milestones, including a Midpoint Showcase in December 2024, the deliverables are the final outbrief (required) and technical paper (recommended) during the April 2025 at the C3 Final Showcase, on which the judge’s scores will be based. 

Presentations will be virtual with an in-person option at The Aerospace Corporation in El Segundo, California and potentially other sponsor locations.  

Shasta High Students use a complex, six-axis robotic arm to test and demonstrate their designs for space robotics.
Image credit: Shasta High School Robotics and Advanced Manufacturing Program



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A prototype surface lander robot, assembled by Shasta High Students. Image credit: Shasta High School Robotics and Advanced Manufacturing Program


C3: Timeline

  1. 01 July 2024
    C3 Launches
  2. 04 August 2024
    Early Registration Closes
  3. 14 October 2024
    Late Registration Closes
  4. Early December 2024
    Optional Mid-Point Showcase
  5. Mid April 2025
    C3 Final Showcase
Shasta High Students assemble robotic vehicles to test engineering principles.
Image credit: Shasta High School Robotics and Advanced Manufacturing Program