Astrobotic Collaborates With NASA For TechRise Student Challenge

Astrobotic’s Xodiac rocket-powered lander taking off from test pad in Mojave, CA

 Mojave, CA – August 17, 2023 – Astrobotic’s Propulsion and Test division (P&T), formerly Masten Space Systems, is collaborating with NASA’s Flight Opportunities Program to bring the 2023 TechRise Challenge to students in grades six through 12. The flight for the challenge will take place at Astrobotic’s Mojave, CA location and utilize its Lunar Surface Proving Ground (LSPG), a 100m x 100m high fidelity test bed that will mimic topography and optical properties of the Moon’s surface. Xodiac, Astrobotic P&T’s fifth generation rocket-powered lander, will fly thirty student payloads as part of the challenge. 

“We’re excited to engage with students to fly their experiments on a Xodiac flight campaign,” says Jenna Edwards, Director of Propulsion & Test for Astrobotic, “As a pioneer in terrestrial testing for space technologies, Astrobotic hopes to inspire the next generation of engineers as we continue our mission to make space accessible to all.”

2023’s TechRise Student Challenge is led by NASA’s Flight Opportunities Program and administered by Future Engineers. Students will develop science and technology experiments, and if selected by the program, will receive resources to help them design an experiment, build and fly their payload, and analyze the flight data.  

“Xodiac provides government, universities, and commercial customers a valuable way to mature technologies in a flight-like testing environment, especially with our new Lunar Surface Proving Ground,” says Stefan Lamb, Xodiac Launch Conductor for Propulsion and Test at Astrobotic, “Xodiac is the culmination of nearly 20 years of VTVL flight testing and over 600 rocket-powered landings. Working with customers is one of my favorite parts of my role, and I’m thrilled to work with students to fly their experiments as a payload on our rocket. We look forward to sharing our passion for what we do and seeing them get excited about all things space.” 

Learn more about the 2023 TechRise Challenge here