STEM Resources

ED Opens New CTE Challenge for High Schools Focused on Space Exploration

Ideas for Contributing to Space Missions Can Win $5K or More Per Team

The U.S. Department of Education has launched a new CTE program called the Your Place in Space Challenge, inviting high schools to “submit designs for a product or service that will contribute to space missions and exploration,” the department said in a news release. 

It is the first challenge in the CTE Momentum series, which aims to prepare high school students for STEM careers and to make career and technical education more accessible to K–12 students. 

High schools entering the challenge may “pursue designs of their choice or find inspiration from one of four suggested areas of exploration — covering topics such as space debris, the International Space Station, space travel, and the environment,” ED said. 

Officials from ED and NASA will host an informational webinar on May 10 from 2–3 p.m. ET to explain the challenge process and guidelines and answer questions. Educators may submit questions in advance through the webinar registration portal at A video of the webinar and a summary of questions and answers will be provided to registrants after the event.

Challenge submissions are due by 6 p.m. ET on Oct. 30, 2023. An independent panel of judges will review submissions based on the challenge criteria and select up to 10 winning teams, which will each receive at least $5,000, the department said. Winners are expected to be announced by early 2024.

ED noted that the space industry is expected to triple in size over the next 30 years, employing over 1.5 million people and generating $780 billion in economic activity by 2050. 

“From welders and cybersecurity experts to communications professionals and botanists, space careers promise higher-than-average wages and strong growth expectations over the coming decades. But space careers demand specialized skills — and students need new opportunities to build skills for future success,” ED said. “CTE programs are uniquely positioned to meet these needs because they offer students hands-on opportunities to apply knowledge and skills that they learned in a classroom setting.”

The department urged educators to visit the challenge website,, for inspiration and ideas on how to bring the Your Place in Space Challenge into classrooms during the 2023-2024 school year. 

Learn more at

About the Author

Kristal Kuykendall is editor, 1105 Media Education Group. She can be reached at [email protected].