Performance Incentive Phase
During the Performance Incentive Phase, NASA intends to provide each winner of System Build Round 2 the chance to compete for an additional award of up to $150,000 each and an opportunity for a flight test.
Round 2 winners will be assigned a unique NASA payload and specific flight vehicle on which to demonstrate use of their universal payload interface system for a flight test. Winning teams will work collaboratively with the NASA TechLeap Team, payload team, and principal investigator to set agreed upon milestones, and teams will have regular conference calls throughout the process. Field Judges will conduct on-site visits in August 2025 to conduct an assessment of the team’s ability to efficiently integrate a payload onto a flight vehicle and verify that the team’s universal payload interface system meets or exceeds the targets outlined in the Technical Guidelines. Teams that succeed in preparing the payload-interface system combination for integration with the flight vehicle within the allotted timeframe of five months will receive an award of $150,000, provided they meet the following objectives:
- Evidence that the system, as developed, will safely integrate the payload with the assigned flight vehicle.
- Evidence that the system will be ready for flight integration within the required schedule.
In addition to the $150,000 prize, teams that succeed in integrating the payload with the flight vehicle within the five-month timeframe will have the opportunity to flight test their systems. After the conclusion of the Performance Incentive Phase, teams will provide a detailed report that includes a summary of the implementation of their system on a flight vehicle, an assessment of the compatibility of the system with the vehicle and the payload, lessons learned, and recommendations for future enhancements/improvements.