SGAC_Decode is a CubeSat Mission design competition for Nicaraguan and Caribbean students and young professionals. This 8 weeks competition is a collaboration between the SGAC National Point of Contacts from Nicaragua, Saint Lucia, Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica: Through this competition the Decode team expect to create capacity building for the youth in these countries as there are not many opportunities to work on space projects.

SGAC_Decode will be held virtually from July 9th to September 3rd 2022, after the NPoCs from Nicaragua and the Caribbean concluded that Space is for All and that diversity, inclusion and access is important to reach this statement they worked hard to make this competition happen. And through this competition give an opportunity of professional grow as well as encouragement for youth from this countries to pursue a career in the space sector. In support of some of SGAC’s project groups such as the Small Satellites PG, Space Exploration PG, and the Diversity and Gender Equality PG we are able to deliver this competition with access to CubeSat Mission Design knowledge and skills.

About the CubeSat Design Competition?

The competition is a cross-country collaboration between the NPoC of Nicaragua and the NPoCs of the Caribbean (Saint Lucia, Trinidad & Tobago, Jamaica, and Barbados). We initially wanted to collaborate on a webinar series as there had been series in the past where Nicaragua and the Caribbean had worked on. For example the NPoC of Nicaragua did the SGAC Webinar Series – Nicaragua and the Caribbean NPoCs organized the What Space Can do for WI webinar series. Both series touch downed on different important space topics and also issues that can be solved using space technology assets. Throughout our discussions for collaboration we all agreed that Nicaragua, Saint Lucia, Trinidad & Tobago, Jamaica, and Barbados are some of the countries from the NCAC region that have least opportunities for working on a space project or the encouragement to get involved in the space sector. Therefore, for us is very valuable to be us bringing opportunities for the youth of our country with the support of our Regional Coordinators Elizabeth Barrios and Angel Arcia, and some of SGAC’s Project Groups such as the Small Satellites Project Group (SSPG), Space Exploration Project Group (SEPG), and Diversity and Gender Equality Project Group (DGEPG). 

Why an 8 week competition? 

As mentioned previously we thought of collaborating on a webinar series as we had work on it previously, and although, we believe a webinar series is a great way to engage and encourage students and young professionals get involved in space; what is best than learning and applying what you learn. So, NPoC of Nicaragua Roxy Williams proposed on having a competition with training on CubeSat Mission design and that is how SGAC_Decode was born, joining forces between the Nicaragua NPoC and the Caribbean NPoCs. SGAC_Decode will last 8 weeks with the intention of training the participants and teaching them skills in how to design a CubeSat mission so, that they use this knowledge and design their missions. As a team we strongly believe in working towards a more diverse and inclusive space community and the main drive of this competition is specifically that; diversity, inclusion and access

A competition is a great way to learn new skills. Working towards a goal means looking up for improvements and innovations in performance, no matter the area you are working on. You may seek for an alternative solution to an specific problem, and bring a new creative solution to a problem. Additionally, competition is a great source of motivation and as one of our goals we want to encourage the youth to learn about space technologies and in this case, specifically, about CubeSats. We also wish our Decoders to accomplish something amazing and extraordinary during the competition.

From the event, we expect to have 6 projects from teams of up to 7 decoders who will work on a CubeSat Mission Design bringing solution to local or global issues. By the end of the competition the decoders will be capable of:

  • Providing a CubeSat-based solution to an identified issue
  • And will also be capable of understanding a Spacecraft Mission design route map.

At the end of the competition the decoders will present their final mission design to a jury who will evaluate:

  • The Mission Concept
  • How innovative the solution given is.
  • As well as the aspects of collaboration, teamwork and communication; key values when working in teams.

The winning team will have the opportunity to be mentored by experts in the field, continue improving their mission and the support to submit their mission design in other competitions such as the KiboCube to have the opportunity to deploy from the ISS Kibo, their CubeSats which they would develop and manufacture.

Applications to participate in the event as a decoder has been extended to July 1st.