The Space Power Laboratory™

Space Power Awards Program 2016 – 2017
Undergraduate Announcement

The Space Power Laboratory (SPL) was founded in 2013 as a virtual entity to increase the understanding of the field of space power and support the development of new technologies to meet the challenges of the growing commercial space sector. The SPL is now a cooperative project supported by Star Sailor Power, LLC. and Aerospace Research Systems, Inc. (ARSI). Founded in 2015, Star Sailor Power, LLC, is a spin-off company Star Sailor Energy created to focus on commercialization of Star Sailor’s patented energy storage products. Star Sailor Power, LLC. is the primary partner and funding entity supporting new opportunities across organizations and increase educational programs in space power.

It is SPL’s mission to advance space power technologies including novel and exotic solar, advanced material generators and mechanical power storage technologies. As part of our mission, we are supporting the development of future practitioners and the recognition of space power as a primary field in space technology.


The field of space power and spacecraft electrical power subsystem (EPS) design is slowly evolving as new technologies come to the foray of space technology. Extraordinary improvements in battery technology have provided increasingly longer mission durations. However, smaller satellites, such as cube sats suffer significant limitations due to mass and volume limitations. New concepts from exotic refueling networks to multifunctional structures offer reduction in mass and energy cost while increasing capabilities within the small space satellite sector.

Space Power Awards Program

It is the intention of this awards program to increase the visibility of space power within the undergraduate population and create specialists for this evolving field. SPL is working with a number of academic institutions to establish a variety of opportunities for undergraduate students to complete research papers and compete for cash awards.

Beginning in 2016 – 2017 academic year, two awards of $500 each will be given to the two most technologically innovative and competent research papers from undergraduates majoring in physical or space sciences, technology or engineering. The list of student participants will be submitted to the Space Power Laboratory from appropriate faculty or school personnel. The selection process will be driven by these faculty recommendations in the attempt to support the student’s program of study and school’s interests. The Space Power Awards Program will broaden to include graduate students in the 2017-2018 academic year.

Primary areas of interest

The issues concerning the degradation and failure of spacecraft electrical power subsystem (EPS) on orbit are well known. Nearly 28% of all spacecraft failures are the result of EPS failures. Currently efforts focusing on better testing and burn-in procedures coupled with redundancies are the primary methods used to mitigate and reduce failures. The Space Power Laboratory through the Space Power Awards Program is attempting to challenge a new generation of creative and innovative technologists to think outside the box and provide solutions to current and future space power requirements.

Current topics

- Battery stack design, including safety and redundancy,
- Power distribution and controls,
- PV and thermal solar,
- "Lightweighting" power storage,
- EPS integration and reliability models for Cube Sats.

Due to current interests, proposals will be limited to low earth orbits (LEO) spacecraft.

The ultimate goal of this program is to expand the understanding of space power as a systems discipline and increase recognition of space power in student populations. Papers and competition results will be shared with the student’s institution and published in the ARSI On-Line Space Studies Journal. Students and their faculty advisors are also encouraged to submit their work to professional journal publications.


1). Students must be matriculated juniors or seniors (or fourth year juniors or seniors in ABET accredited programs) and be a major in a space sciences, physical sciences, engineering or technology program or department.

2). Proposals must be submitted by the deadline with a completed SPL Space Power Awards Form and letter of recommendation from advisor or department chair. Deadlines will be provided on the website and in the proposal documents that may be found on the website. All documents must be submitted in “PDF” format. Letters of recommendation may be mailed, but must be received prior to the recommendation and paper submission deadline.

3). Students provided an award must complete a research paper copyright release. A journal article may be substituted for the report. However, if a journal article is substituted it must acknowledge the awards program and final copy of the article must be submitted to SPL. All paper titles, student names and institutions that submit papers for the awards competition will be published on the Space Studies and SPL websites. SPL and its affiliates are not responsible for intellectual property or export control regulated data. No ITAR regulated materials or data are permitted.


There is no cost to enter.
February 17, 2017 – Student registration: Email submitted by faculty member including a list of all student participating, year (junior or senior), student’s contact email, faculty advisor and research paper topic.

March 24, 2017 – Research paper submission deadline is at midnight Eastern Time on the 24 March 2017. No exceptions.

April 20, 2017 – Research paper award recipients announced. Faculty advisors and students will be notified by email before the close of business on the 20 April 2017 .

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