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NASA Announces Winners of the Lunar Gateway Packing Challenge

In an unprecedented global competition, NASA’s Artemis mission to return humans to the Moon and pave the way for deep space exploration has taken a giant leap forward with the conclusion of the Lunar Gateway Cargo Packing and Storing Challenge. Aimed at revolutionizing how astronauts manage space and supplies in the constrained environment of Gateway, humanity’s first lunar orbit space station, this challenge called upon innovators worldwide to rethink space logistics.

The challenge centered on the Gateway Deep Space Logistics Module, a critical component of future Artemis missions. This uncrewed spacecraft will autonomously dock with the Gateway, serving as a lifeline for astronauts by housing supplies, equipment, and waste management systems. The competition’s goal was clear: design a storage solution that maximizes space and efficiency while minimizing weight, embodying the principle of “less is more.”

Drawing participation from 90 contenders across 35 countries, the challenge showcased a wealth of creativity and engineering prowess through 3D computer model submissions. These designs were tasked with ensuring astronauts could quickly and easily access necessary cargo, all while navigating the unique constraints of space travel.

The challenge winners, announced with a total prize purse of $7,000, demonstrated exceptional innovation and practicality:

  • First Place ($3,000): Kriso Leinfellner from Austria with “QASIS–Quick Access Storage in Space.” Leinfellner’s design stood out for its emphasis on maximizing storage capacity and user-friendliness, achieved without relying on complex electronics or mechanical parts.
  • Second Place ($2,000): Mustafa ÇOBANOĞLU from Turkey for the “Lunar Gateway Hambar L.M. CTPE 410,” a design that blends simplicity with functionality, focusing on ease of operation and maintenance during both launch and orbital phases.
  • Third Place ($1,000): Marcelo Crestani from Brazil, with the “Nasa Challenge: ANT Module.” This design introduces an innovative electromechanical system for managing cargo, complemented by a novel internal rack system for efficient space utilization.
  • Fourth Place ($750): Augustine Uyah from Nigeria, with “Supercharged LEGO.” Uyah’s concept features modular, sliding racks, enabling straightforward access to cargo through a simple manual mechanism.
  • Fifth Place ($250): Matthias Etzkorn from Germany, with a design that cleverly combines fixed and translating racks for optimal cargo access and storage efficiency.

Administered by GrabCAD and managed by the NASA Tournament Lab, part of NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate’s Prizes, Challenges, and Crowdsourcing program, the challenge not only showcased global talent but also highlighted the power of crowdsourcing in solving complex space exploration challenges.

As NASA’s Artemis program gears up to land the first woman and the first person of color on the Moon, along with its first international partner astronaut, initiatives like the Lunar Gateway Cargo Packing and Storing Challenge are vital in ensuring the sustainability and success of long-term lunar exploration and beyond, for the benefit of all humanity.