Rules & Eligibility

Overview of Phase 2 Challenge
Rules and Eligibility

Phase 2  Competition Rules

Teams are responsible for understanding and complying with all Challenge rules and requirements, as detailed in the Team Agreement. The following sections below summarize key elements of the Team Agreement. Teams should review the Team Agreement for additional details.

Phase 2 Competition Rules

For reference, Phase 1 Rules can be accessed via the link below.  As the Challenge is now in Phase 2, all Phase 2 Competition Rules are in effect, not Phase 1. 

Legal Requirements

In General

Teams are responsible for understanding and complying with all Challenge rules and requirements as stated below and detailed in the Eligibility Requirements Document. The following sections below summarize key elements of the Eligibility Requirements Document. Teams should review the Eligibility Requirements Document for additional details.


NASA welcomes applications from individuals, groups of individuals, and/or organizations or entities that meet the eligibility requirements provided below.

In order to participate in the Challenge, each individual, whether acting alone or as part of a competitor team must identify their nationality.

  • No individual competitor shall be a citizen of a country on the NASA Export Control Program list of Designated Countries List Category II: Countries determined by the Department of State to support terrorism. The current list of designated countries can be found at Please check the link for the latest updates. This includes individuals with dual citizenship unless they are a U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent U.S. resident (green card holder).
  • While China is not a Category II designated country, pursuant to Public Law 116-6, Section 530, NASA is prohibited from participating, collaborating, or coordinating bilaterally in any way with China or any Chinese-owned entity. Team members who are citizens of China but not affiliated with a Chinese entity may be permitted to participate on a team.
  • Subject to the conditions set forth herein, foreign nationals and foreign national teams can participate in the Challenge. However, they are not eligible for a cash prize, and must acknowledge acceptance of this by signing and submitting a Foreign Participant Acknowledgement Form.
  • A competitor team-designated lead shall be responsible for both compliance with the rules (including prize eligibility rules) and the actions of all members of the team.

In order to be eligible to win a prize:

  1. Individuals must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents of the United States and be 18 years of age or older.
  2. Organizations must be an entity incorporated in and maintaining a primary place of business in the United States.
  3. Teams must be comprised of otherwise eligible individuals or organizations and led by an otherwise eligible individual or organization.
  4. Team leader must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.

A team may include foreign nationals and be eligible to win prize money as long as the foreign national signs and delivers a disclosure (separate form) wherein he/she discloses his/her citizenship and acknowledge that he/she is not eligible to win a prize from NASA, AND

  1. The foreign national is an employee of an otherwise eligible U.S. entity participating in the Challenge,
  2. The foreign national is an owner of such entity, so long as foreign citizens own less than 50% of the interests in the entity,
  3. The foreign national is a contractor under written contract to such entity, OR
  4. The foreign national is a full time student, during the time of the Challenge, of an otherwise eligible entity which is an accredited institution of higher learning, AND the student is during the Challenge in the United States on a valid student visa and is otherwise in compliance with all local, state, and federal laws and regulations regarding the sale and export of technology.

Teams selected for an award will be required to provide proof of citizenship/permanent residency, proof of primary place of business, proof of incorporation, and/or proof of student visa. Proof must be provided within 3 business days to be eligible for an award. Any team or team member who submitted the required proof documents in Phase 1 and was deemed eligible to compete will not be required to submit this documentation again in Phase 2. Teams must indicate which documents from Phase 1 should apply to Phase 2 entry and provide confirmation that all documents are still valid. A team’s failure to comply with any aspect of the eligibility requirements shall result in the team being disqualified from winning a prize from NASA.

U.S. government employees may enter the competition, or be members of prize-eligible teams, so long as they are not acting within the scope of their Federal employment, and they rely on no facilities, access, personnel, knowledge or other resources that are available to them as a result of their employment except for those resources available to all other participants on an equal basis.

U.S. government employees participating as individuals, or who submit applications on behalf of an otherwise eligible organization, will be responsible for ensuring that their participation in the Competition is permitted by the rules and regulations relevant to their position and that they have obtained any authorization that may be required by virtue of their government position. Failure to do so may result in the disqualification of them individually or of the entity which they represent or in which they are involved.

Teams will be ineligible to win a prize if any team member is a Federal entity or Federal employee acting within the scope of their employment. This includes any U.S. Government organization or organization principally or substantially funded by the Federal Government, including Federally Funded Research and Development Centers, Government-owned, contractor operated (GOCO) facilities, and University Affiliated Research Centers. No U.S. government funds may be used to participate in the Challenge. Any such entity or individual shall obtain prior written approval from their cognizant ethics officer that such participation does not violate federal personnel laws or applicable agency policy. A copy of this approval to participate in the Challenge shall promptly be provided to Ensemble.

Current employees, consultants, and students of Ensemble may only participate as team members when the team is not competing for a prize from NASA. Participation of such parties as team members on a team will make a team ineligible for any prize award.


Insurance and Indemnification

Each team member agrees to assume any and all risks and waives claims against Ensemble and the U.S. Government and its related entities, except in the case of willful misconduct, for any injury, death, damage, or loss of property, revenue, or profits, whether direct, indirect, or consequential, arising from each team member’s participation in the Challenge, whether such injury, death, damage, or loss arises through negligence or otherwise. For the purposes of this section, the term “related entity” means a contractor or subcontractor at any tier, and a supplier, user, customer, cooperating party, grantee, investigator, or detailee.

Team agrees to obtain any and all insurance policies and coverage required by its local, state, or Federal governments to conduct any and all virtual activities related to or required by participation of team and the team members in the Challenge. In addition, Ensemble requires that each team obtain liability insurance in the amount of $250,000 USD minimum that covers each team member or otherwise demonstrate financial responsibility for that amount. The team’s liability insurance shall provide coverage for all claims by (A) a third party for death, bodily injury, or property damage, or loss resulting from an activity carried out in connection with participation in the Challenge, with the Federal Government and Ensemble named as an additional insured under the team’s insurance policies; and (B) the Federal Government, Ensemble, and its contractors for damage or loss to Government or Ensemble property resulting from or related to Challenge activities. The team and all team members agree to indemnify the Federal Government and Ensemble against third-party claims for damages arising from or related to Challenge activities.

Proof of insurance in such form as reasonably required by Ensemble shall be provided to Ensemble by the Step 1 Submission Deadline as outlined in Exhibit C of the Eligibility Requirements Document. Alternatively, if team intends to fulfill this requirement by demonstrating financial responsibility in the requisite amount, team shall submit to Ensemble in writing such information as demonstrates to Ensemble, in Ensemble’s reasonable discretion, that team has sufficient financial responsibility to cover the potential claims cited in the requisite minimum amount as outlined in Exhibit C of the Eligibility Requirements Document.

Use of Names, Trademarks, and Insignias

Team may not use the name, trademark or insignia of Ensemble, its contractors, collaborators, or NASA on its printed materials related to the participation of team in the Challenge without Ensemble’s or its contractor’s, collaborator’s, or NASA’s prior written consent, whichever Party is applicable.

Team agrees that unauthorized use of such names, trademarks, and insignias shall result in elimination from participation in the Challenge if team continues unauthorized use after being notified to cease and desist by Ensemble or NASA, as applicable.

Delay, Cancellation or Termination

The Competitor team acknowledges that circumstances may arise that require the Challenge to be delayed indefinitely or canceled. Such delay or cancellation, and/or the termination of the Challenge, shall be within the full discretion of NASA, and the team accepts any risk of damage or loss due to such delay, cancellation, and/or termination.