The Space Station Technology Challenge (SSTC) is a hands-on, project-based experience for high school students that combines STEM concepts with the excitement of living and working in space. It challenges teams of high school or college students to answer one of two questions: (1) “What new technology can enhance Space Station capabilities?” or, (2) “What new technology can use Space Station capabilities to enhance Earth industries?”

The program includes two overarching components:

Training Course

The SSTC Training Course is a robust educational exploration into the science and technology behind the International Space Station and guides student teams through the process of developing their submissions to the SSTC pitch competition.

The course is designed for high school and college students and provides 16 curriculum missions with an estimated 12 hours worth of instructional activities and custom videos. Each module includes an activity to help students internalize the related STEM concepts. By participating in the SSTC and completing the requirements for the training course, students will learn about Space Station operations, research, commercial capabilities and benefits to the Earth. Students completing the course requirements will be well prepared for successful submissions to the SSTC competition.

The course curriculum guides students through four main topics:

  1. An Overview of Space Stations (Missions 1 to 4) covering topics including life conditions aboard the space station, station operation, future space stations, and guidance on pitch competition submissions.
  2. Unique Space Station Conditions (Missions 5 to 7) such as microgravity, space radiation, and the unique vantage point for observations conducted in space.
  3. Space Station Research (Missions 8 to 11) including topics in Physical Sciences, Life Science, Remote Sensing, and Technology/Materials Development.
  4. Final Project Guidance (Missions 12 to 16) examining the ideation process and requirements for submitting to the SSTC competition that include tips to design a project and information about what is expected when creating your Pitch Deck and 10 Minute Video Presentation.


Each mission includes video tutorials, written materials, hands-on engagement activities, and checkpoint milestones to be completed throughout the program. Subject matter experts (SME) provide unique video content that guides students throughout each module and builds a foundation for further experiential learning through the engineering-design process.
Registration for the SSTC provides full access to the Training Course to help prepare students in creating the best concepts for their pitch competition submissions! Register for the upcoming cohort today.

SSTC Pitch Competition

To complete the SSTC students submit a concept for a new technology to either enhance space station capabilities or to create a new technology utilizing space station capabilities to benefit the Earth. Each project submission includes two parts:

  1. A Pitch Deck of up to 12 slides.
  2. A Recorded Video Presentation of no more than 10 minutes.

Submissions are completed through the Institute of Competition Sciences’ online portal where they are reviewed by a panel of Subject Matter Expert judges. All teams completing the Training Course and submitting both project requirements receive Certificates of Completion. Best-In-Show awards are conferred by the SME judging panel to the top teams in each of the two categories during a live Closing Symposium.

Register for the SSTC today for complete access to the Training Course and Pitch Competition!