Competition Structure

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The VSSEC-NASA Australian Space Prize is open to all Australian undergraduate students completing their final undergraduate or honors year at an Australian University.

The competition will be judged based on the student’s final year thesis or honors thesis and a completed application form. To fulfil the requirements of the NASA internship program the student must also provide a CV, two letters of reference and a short essay explaining why they would be the best candidate for the prize.

If the student’s thesis is not on a space related topic, an additional paper (no longer than six pages in length) will be accepted detailing the space application of the thesis.

If the thesis is the result of a group project the thesis must either clearly define the contribution of the applicant, or a separate paper (no longer than six pages in length) may be submitted clearly defining the contribution of the applicant.

Only theses from the year of the competition will be accepted.

The competition is divided into five categories:

Structural design, orbital dynamics, materials, power systems, rocketry, robotics, etc.
Geology and planetary science, astrobiology, etc.
Human physiology, astrobiology, microbiology, etc.
Data processing systems, data management, electronics, control systems, instrument and sensor design, and applications using space-derived data.
Space physics, astronomy, astrophysics, theoretical physics, mathematical modeling, space weather, atmospheric science, etc.

All applications will be reviewed by appropriate independent experts and a winner selected from each category. If the applications in a category don’t meet a sufficient standard, a winner will not be selected in that categaory.

Category winners are invited to complete a separate application for the NASA Academy Program. The overall winner will be selected by independent judges at NASA and invited to attend the  NASA summer internship program of their choice, in June/August 2017. The other category winners will each receive a $1000 cash prize.

The prize includes the cost of attending the NASA Internship Program, airfares, internal transfers, accommodation and meals for the ten week program. Any additional costs associated with the winner extending their stay in the US will be their own responsibility. VSSEC, NASA and the US Consulate will support the winner’s visa application and VSSEC will assist the winner with all their travel arrangements.

The winner agrees to work with VSSEC and its education partners to develop an education package based on the winner’s research and their experience at the NASA Academy.