Getting Started

The Space Station Innovation Challenge engages participants in a worldwide interactive project-based program for high school and college students, blending STEM principles with the thrill of living and working in space. It tasks students with devising and executing creative ideas to improve the effectiveness, eco-friendliness, and dependability of future space station functions encompassing  current space station operations, research, and commercial applications on a space station. Getting started with new projects for first-time participants can seem daunting at first. The following steps will help you launch into your innovation experience.

Purchase your SSIC registration

To participate in the Challenge, your team needs to purchase registration for the SSIC, which includes access to the competition platform, digital curriculum guides, supplemental materials, and engagement events. Visit the “Register” page to get signed up.

Register your team on the ICS platform

Once you’ve completed the purchase,  you will have team credits in the ICS competition platform. You will need to activate your team credit and set up your team to get access to the program materials and competition portal. See our Resource Library for a tutorial.

Explore our Resource Library materials

The Resource Library on this website provides a wealth of knowledge and examples on how to ideate your innovation and be successful in your challenge submissions. Learn from past participants and review the information from our program management team to help narrow your focus and design your innovation.

  • Use the SSIC Quick Reference Guide as a launching point for customizing your SSIC innovation to fit your own unique research. Designed In the form of an infographic, this straightforward visual resource provides concise summaries, visual markers, and a clear picture of the tasks and available resources in each phase of the SSIC Season. It’s a great go to for any coach, team leader, or anyone interested in the challenge.

  • View videos on key SSIC resources like the SSIC Challenge Guide and Optional Resource Activities.

  • View the tutorial videos to understand how to register your team and prepare for your project.

Design your innovation

The SSIC Challenge Guide and accompanying optional mission activities encourage creativity, innovation, and problem-solving skills by presenting participants with a roadmap or comprehensive reference document defining the challenge scope, objectives, deliverables, and key milestones to ensure that everyone involved understands the goals and the desired outcomes.

Moreover, the optional resource activities are structured to promote teamwork, communication, and collaboration among students, helping them develop interpersonal skills and learn how to work effectively in a group setting. 

  • Review the SSIC Challenge Guide on the ICS competition portal for the SSIC (you’ll need to have completed Step 2 above for access).
  • Once you understand the details of what needs to go into cultivating your ideas, work as a team or individual brainstorm and ideate your innovation.

Participate in the Hackathon

The Fall 2024 Space Station Innovation Challenge will kick off with an exciting, virtual Ideation Hackathon event! Teams will engage in a collaborative weekend of idea building with a fun and rapid project brainstorm activity. The Hackathon will open on Friday, September 13th where teams will learn about getting started on the development of their space station innovation, and meet subject matter experts across the industry. Teams will spend the weekend developing their innovation topics and broad project elements. The Hackathon will close on Monday, September 16th with quick pitches from each team showcasing their idea with feedback from peers, the SSIC Advisory Board, and the SSIC management team. Top pitches will be recognized and awarded with SSIC merchandise!