Student Competition

25th Annual Frank J. Redd
Student Competition

The student competition provides students with the opportunity to share their work on small satellite concepts and missions. Awards are given to competition finalists presenting at the Small Satellite Conference.

Papers may be presented on relevant study and research related to:

  • Small satellites, their systems and subsystems
  • Mission concepts
  • Related infrastructure (launch vehicles or ground systems)

Concepts (actual or proposed) may include hardware, uniquely applicable software, or mission results that serve to advance the state of the art or broaden the application of small satellites.

Participation and Eligibility

Participation is open to all full-time undergraduate and graduate students pursuing a bachelor's or master's degree in an engineering or scientific discipline at an accredited college or university.

Not eligible

  • Students enrolled in a PhD degree program
    (PhD students are invited to submit abstracts for consideration in the technical program)
  • Salaried government or industry sponsored students
  • Students graduating prior to January 2017

Registration Required

Student are required to register for the Conference at a reduced, all-inclusive registration fee of $175. Students must provide their own transportation and lodging.

Participation Rules

  • Each author listed must submit his/her own author information sheet as part of paper submission.
  • Participants may not author or co-author more than one paper.
  • Papers are limited to three authors.
  • All persons identified as authors must participate in the oral presentation—plan accordingly.
  • All student interaction should be done through the Conference Administrator.
  • Technical questions and/or judging issues or concerns should be communicated with the Technical Chair, Stanley Kennedy (
  • Contact with judges directly, either before or after the competition, is prohibited and may result in disqualification.

Authors failing to comply with all aspects of these rules may be disqualified at the sole discretion of the Student Session Technical Chair.

Paper Selection

A panel of judges drawn from industry, academia, and government will score each paper. Papers will be scored using the first three of the four criteria listed below. The top six papers will be selected for presentation at the Conference. Following presentation, the final scores are tallied and the Student Competition results are announced at the Student Awards Ceremony.

Scoring Criteria

  • Technical Content and/or Scientific Merit (40%)
  • Industry Relevance (15%)
  • Clarity of Writing (20%)
  • Presentation and Response to Questions (25%)


Student finalists must present their papers in the student Competition technical session at SmallSat. All authors identified in the technical paper must participate in the oral presentation—plan accordingly. Students will be given a maximum of 12 minutes to present their paper, followed by 3 minutes for questions. Presentations exceeding 12 minutes will be marked down.