ULA Announces Winners For Its “3-2-1 Liftoff! ULA Rocket Hardware Challenge”

Image Credit: United Launch Alliance/Nic Adams

December 15, 2016 – Today, United Launch Alliance (ULA) named winners for its additive manufacturing GrabCAD design challenge, called 3-2-1 Liftoff! ULA Rocket Hardware Challenge. The challenge asked participants to design a launch support attachment bracket for ULA’s current Atlas V rocket.

GrabCAD, a division of Stratasys, hosted the challenge. GrabCAD is a digital manufacturing hub helping designers and engineers build great products faster.

“We could not have been more pleased with the nearly 400 innovative entries we received,” said Mark Peller, ULA’s vice president of Engineering. “What could be more exciting than designing hardware that will fly on a future Atlas V rocket? In fact, the quality of the entries was so tremendous we’ve increased the first place award to $10,000.”

A panel of judges, including ULA CEO and President Tory Bruno as well as additional engineers and experts from ULA and Stratasys, judged the entries.

The winners are as follows:

First Place: Nic Adams $10,000
Second Place: Vishale Gandhele $3,000
Third Place: Winston Jennings $2,000
Honorable Mention: Stanislav Petrek
Honorable Mention: Cameron Navarre

In addition to the financial award, Nic Adams’ support bracket will fly on a future Atlas V mission.

“It is truly an exciting time, and we are on the cusp of a space revolution,” said Bruno. “New technologies and missions we haven’t even imagined are on the horizon, and ULA is transforming the future of launch.”

Interpretation of the design space ULA provided proved to be a differentiator when reviewing the entries. The most common discriminators between submissions were edge distance, part stress, and support material.

To select the winners, ULA completed a detailed analysis on the finalist entries using ULA’s own methods and tools.

“We were very impressed with the quality of work displayed, and honored to be able to judge the submissions,” said Peller. “ULA is committed to reaching the next generation of scientist and engineers, and opportunities such as this challenge are a great way to build the enthusiasm in the innovative work taking place in aerospace. This is an incredible time to be a part of the space industry!”