Concordia University and UBC Have Strong Showing at BASE 11 Rocket Challenge Phase 1

Representatives of the Space Concordia Team at the BASE 11 Space Challenge Phase 1 preliminary design review. Credit: Space Concordia.

As rocketry teams from across Canada prepare for next weeks 2019 Spaceport America Cup, another competition, the BASE 11 Space Challenge has just wrapped up its Phase 1 Preliminary Design Review (PDR) which saw impressive results by Concordia University and the University of British Columbia rocketry teams.

The BASE 11 Space Challenge was announced in June 2018. The competition has a prize pool of US$1.15 million including the launch prize of US$1 million. To win, student-led teams must design, build and launch a liquid-propelled, single-stage rocket to an altitude of 100 km.

Of the 25 teams still in the competition, five finalists were selected to participate in the Phase I PDR prize challenge which awarded US$50,000.

Claire Well of Space Concordia with their 2nd place US$15,000 cheque from the BASE 11 Space Challenge Phase 1 PDR
Claire Well of Space Concordia with their 2nd place US$15,000 cheque from the BASE 11 Space Challenge Phase 1 PDR. Credit: Space Concordia.

The BASE 11 Space Challenge judges chose Concordia University, Portland State University, the University of British Columbia, the University of California – San Diego and the University of Michigan for the Phase 1 PDR review challenge.  While these teams were judged to have submitted the best PDR submissions, all teams are still eligible to continue in the competition.

The three teams that won prizes were;

  • 1st Place (US$25,000) – University of Michigan
  • 2nd Place (US$15,000) – Concordia University
  • 3rd Place (US$10,000) – Portland State University

The University of British Columbia and the University of California – San Diego received honourable mentions.

There was also other prize money handed out for the Early Adopter Dassault Systèmes 3DEXPERIENCE.

Dassault Systèmes is a Chairman’s Circle Partner for the competition and provides both financial support and  licenses for all of the teams to use their 3DEXPERIENCE platform to design and collaborate on the project.

They awarded US$7,500 in prize money to;

  • 1st Place (US$5,000) – Portland State University
  • 2nd Place (US$2,500) – Concordia University

Landon Taylor, chairman and CEO of Base 11 said “the judges were deeply impressed by the outstanding work the student teams put into their rocket designs for Phase 1 of the Base 11 Space Challenge. If this first year has taught us anything, it’s how exciting and unpredictable this field is — the boldest goals, the greatest innovations, the strongest determination can come from unexpected places.”

The early positive results at the BASE 11 Space Challenge should not surprise anyone. While Canada does not have orbital launch capability or a location to launch from yet, the world class talent developing and graduating from universities across the country is making it just a matter of time before Canada is launching its own rockets.

Some of the recent graduates from these universities have started new space companies including Reaction Dynamics and C6 Launch. The former having just graduated from the Creative Destruction Lab’s first Space Stream accelerator program.

Presentations by the five Phase 1 PDR finalists


About Marc Boucher

Boucher is an entrepreneur, writer, editor & publisher. He is the founder of SpaceQ Media Inc. and CEO and co-founder of SpaceRef Interactive LLC. Boucher has 20+ years working in various roles in the space industry and a total of 30 years as a technology entrepreneur including creating Maple Square, Canada's first internet directory and search engine.

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