Today, the U.S. Department of Education launched the Your Place in Space Challenge. This is the first challenge in CTE Momentum, an annual challenge series to prepare high school students for rewarding careers and increase access to career and technical education (CTE). The Your Place in Space Challenge invites high schools to submit designs for a product or service that will contribute to space missions and exploration.

“Our students need interdisciplinary opportunities to gain the skills critical for valuable careers — and our teachers deserve support in creating these inspirational educational programs. Through the Your Place in Space Challenge, the U.S. Department of Education is helping students connect the dots between the skills they build in CTE programs and fulfilling careers in the space industry.”

Dr. Amy Loyd
Assistant Secretary, Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education (OCTAE)

Helping students build skills for careers in the space industry

In the five decades since astronauts first walked on the Moon, space has become an important part of the American economy. Today, the space industry employs hundreds of thousands of people and generates hundreds of billions of dollars in economic value. From welders to cybersecurity experts to communications professionals and botanists, the space industry offers rewarding careers with promising pathways for advancement. 

But space careers also require specialized skills — and students need more opportunities to build them. CTE programs are uniquely positioned to meet this need by offering students hand-on opportunities to apply knowledge and skills that they learn in classroom settings. The Your Place in Space Challenge will connect the dots between the skills students are building in CTE programs and the fulfilling careers they can have in the space industry.

Get started: Explore challenge resources

This spring and summer, prepare for the upcoming school year by exploring the curated resources to learn more about the space industry and find inspiration on how to bring the Your Place in Space Challenge into classrooms. To begin planning a potential submission, review the submission form and selection criteria. When students return to school, teachers can assemble teams and work closely with students on their designs.

Submit a design by October 30

Teams may pursue designs of their choice or find inspiration from one of four suggested areas of exploration — covering topics such as space debris, the International Space Station, space travel, and the environment. Submissions are due by 6:00 p.m. ET on October 30, 2023. An independent judging panel will review submissions based on the challenge selection criteria and recommend up to 10 winners, who will each receive at least $5,000. The Department anticipates announcing the winners and launching the next annual challenge in early 2024.

Help spread the word

Drawing upon public and private collaboration, the Your Place in Space Challenge will inspire students to envision and pursue careers in the space industry. Help us spread the word to high schools: Access the Your Place in Space communications toolkit for sample content and graphics to share across digital channels, including social media, email, and websites — or click to tweet.
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Meet the winners of the Your Place in Space Challenge!