Embry-Riddle One of 11 Universities Globally Selected for U.S. Space Force Challenge

Hyperspace Challenge
A total of 13 startups and 11 universities will participate in the fourth-annual Hyperspace Challenge, hosted by the Air Force Research Laboratory and CNM Ingenuity, under the U.S. Space Force.

The United States Space Force for the first time has opened its Hyperspace Challenge — a competition soliciting technologies to solve space-related problems, with $100,000 prizes being awarded to finalists — to colleges. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University was one of only 11 institutions of higher learning selected from across the globe to participate.

The showcase of space innovations, run by the Air Force Research Laboratory and CNM Ingenuity, as part of the new SpaceWERX for the U.S. Space Force, will take place in December.

“This early immersion in research that will minimize risks and optimize the effectiveness of Space Force is the kind of discovery-driven education that sets our aerospace engineers apart when they enter the workforce,” said Embry-Riddle President P. Barry Butler, Ph.D. “Our selection reflects Embry-Riddle’s growing prominence as a space-focused research institution.”

The Embry-Riddle team, led by Dr. Troy Henderson, associate professor of Aerospace Engineering, will compete in the program’s Rapid Initial Orbit Determination topic. Their goal is to understand when objects in space are too close to one another, putting them in danger of collision (AKA “conjunction analysis”), then come up with a method of completing this analysis quickly and with sparse data.

“One major benefit to students will be the connections they make with program managers in the Air Force Research Lab and Space Force,” Henderson said. “The project will not only give them hands-on experience working on space equipment but also a direct line to key policymakers in the industry. That’s a really big deal.”

Faculty members Dr. Riccardo Bevilacqua, Aerospace Engineering, and Dr. Sirani Perera, associate professor of Mathematics, are also on the team, in addition to statistics professor Kshitij Khare, from the University of Florida.

“This accomplishment by Dr. Henderson and his team is not only in line with our mission and values, but also indicative of the purposeful nature of our research enterprise,” added Dr. Remzi Seker, Associate Provost for Research.

Launched in 2018, Hyperspace Challenge was designed to accelerate collaboration and foster contracts between startups and university teams, and government space agencies. Learn more online.

Posted In: Engineering | Institutional News | Space