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This 20-20-20 Airship Challenge is currently contemplated as a two-tiered challenge that could provide opportunities to evaluate a wide range of innovative methods to launch an airship into the stratosphere, maintain altitude, and station-keep for a defined period of time. This challenge would seek to engage the aerospace industry, educational institutions, and amateurs to provide solutions. The Challenge is considering a total prize purse ranging from $3 to $5 million dollars, which would be split into multiple prize awards for successful demonstrations of a stratospheric airship that could accomplish the following tasks:

Reach a minimum altitude of 20 km. Maintain the altitude for 20 hours (200 hours for Tier 2 competition). Remain in a 20km diameter station keeping area (and navigate a designated path for Tier 2). Successfully return the 20 kg payload (200 kg for Tier 2 competition) and payload data. Show Airship scalability for longer duration flights with larger payloads through a scalability review.


Photo of Alina Kiessling
Alina Kiessling
Structure of the Universe
Photo of Jason Rhodes
Jason Rhodes
Science Division - Senior Research Scientist