SunSat Design Competition

SunSat Design is an international competition intended to accelerate the conceptualization, manufacture, launch and operation of the next-generation satellites that will collect energy in space and deliver it to earth as a non-polluting source of electrical power.


The purpose of the SunSat Design initiative is to move space solar power out of the research labs and onto the public agenda. This will be done by virtual story-telling and networking on a global basis, explaining what space solar power is and how and why it will become the ultimate renewable energy resource for Planet Earth.

This two-year competition will link global scientific communities with university-based (and other) digital media labs for the purposes of advancing knowledge of space-based solar power satellites (SunSats) and illustrating their many Earth-energy applications.

Winning designs will be high-impact digital art, supported by credible science, engineering and business plans, that best promote media understanding and public acceptance of a path forward in using space satellites to deliver energy on-demand to any and all places on earth.


The SunSat Competition is an initiative of: 

Online Journal of space Communications Logo

In partnership with:

Society of Satellite Professionals International Logo

National Space Society Logo

Game Research and Immersive Design Lab Logo

For the next two years (2013-2015), Ohio University will be committing facilities and computing capacity, faculty and staff expertise and student time and talent to bringing a new level of visualization and international understanding to “energy from space.”


The Competition was announced at the International Space Development Conference held in May 2013 in San Diego CA. Registration for the first cycle opened in mid-September 2013 and will continue until January 15, 2014. Deadline for submission of completed designs and supporting documentation is March 28, 2014. Winners will be announced and their “Creative Visualizations” will be shown and celebrated in May 2014 at ISDC Los Angeles CA.

In 2012 and 2013, the Space Journal and the Ohio University GRID Lab have engaged in a funding campaign to raise monies for incentive funds to be given competing teams, and to permit award of substantial prizes. Some $30,000 has been raised. We hope to attract an additional $100,000 to help fund a more ambitious 2015 Second Round, and to cover Ohio University and Space Journal costs in managing the International Competition for maximum impact.

Prizes for winners will be awarded at NSS-International Space Development conferences in 2014 and 2015. For 2014, the goal of the SunSat Design Competition will be one 1st Prize of $10,000, two 2nd Prizes of $5,000, and one or more Honorable Mention Awards without cash prizes. Officially registered teams producing a plausibly competitive design (with Abstract, Visualization, Tech and Economic Briefs) by Feb.15, 2014, will benefit from critique and constructive comment from an NSS or SSPI professional. Six of these teams will be awarded an incentive of $1,000 to finish their projects by the March 30, 2014 deadline.

As additional funding is found, it is our intention to increase the number of prizes and incentives.

Please read the FAQ page before registering, and if you have any additional questions feel free to contact Competition Manager Kyle Perkins at or Team Liaison Brian Woods at

To register your team, download and complete the registration application and email it to us. Please note that your official acceptance as a competitor team will be made only after all information has been provided to the SunSat Design Advisory Panel, consisting of space professionals from the NSS and the SSPI, for review and give constructive feedback.

To get started, you may find it helpful to view Space Journal Issue No.17: Creative Visualization of Space Solar Power. If you are a space scientist/engineer who has been unable to locate a digital media lab near you, or if you are a visual artist/digital media center wishing to be linked to a space solar power mentor/advisor, the SunSat Design staff may have some suggestions for you.


The Ohio University GRID Lab seeks to raise $130,000 in project management, incentive and prize money to jumpstart (and sustain) its innovative SunSat Design Competition during 2013-2015.

Raising prize money is especially important since the Competition expects to give significant 1st, 2nd and 3rd place awards in each of three research categories. Competing teams will be awarded incentive funds upon completion of a (rigorous) registration process, at a mid-point (upon meeting milestones), and to cover some travel costs of teams invited to the next ISDC to accept their winning awards.
You can contribute to the International SunSat Design Competition via the Ohio University CASHNet secure donation form. This contribution will not put you on any Ohio University or other solicitation list under our control.

The GRID Lab (and its Space Journal client) has already raised $30,000 via an Indiegogo crowd-sourcing campaign in July and August 2013. An additional five individuals, organizations or businesses making a tax-deductible contribution of $10,000 each will bring us halfway to our goal. You will, thereby, have made a gift of education that will bring tangible and on-going benefits to the future of our planet.

If you are interested in becoming a SunSat Design Competition sponsor, you are invited to have a discussion with me.

Don M. Flournoy, Prof. of Telecommunications
Editor, Online Journal of Space Communication
Scripps College of Communication, Ohio Center of Excellence
RTVC 235, Ohio University, 740-594-4866


Your personal gift to the Ohio University International SunSat Design Competition may be matched by your employer.

If you think this is a possibility, please contact your human resources department, complete the form and send it along with your donation. Ohio University will certify on that form that it has received the gift and that the gift meets the company’s guidelines for matching funds. This form will be retuned to your company.

After your company verifies your eligibility, it will send its match to the SunSat Design Competition at Ohio University.

I can certify that this contribution will not put you on any Ohio University or other solicitation list under SunSat Design control.

Thank you for your support.

Don Flournoy, Prof.

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