Help us solve the
space debris crisis

About Project Clear Constellation

According to a recent NASA study, there are approximately 8,000 metric tons of debris orbiting the earth. These waste materials vary in size from large to microscopic, but all move at such a high speed that they represent potentially mission-ending risk by penetrating everything from spacesuits to fuel tanks, and even the hulls of space shuttles. They are also a threat to scientific and commercial satellites that we increasingly rely on for education, communication, weather, navigation, and more.

Project Clear Constellation™ by Rubicon® is a new program devised to confront the growing problem of space waste. Left unaddressed, this issue will compound itself with each passing day, posing a grave threat to future space exploration and to the very lives of the brave men and women who serve on these missions. Rubicon’s Founder and CEO, Nate Morris, wrote about the issue.

The centerpiece of the program is the Clear Constellation competition, in which colleges and universities across the United States are invited to submit design concepts for solutions to help clean up space debris. Our panel of experts will judge submissions, and the winning entry will be awarded a cash prize of $100,000!

Our judges panel

Professor Marla Geha

Professor Marla Geha

Marla Geha is a professor and astrophysicist at Yale University. She obtained her B.S. in Applied and Engineering Physics from Cornell University in 1995 and her Ph.D. in Astrophysics from the University of California Santa Cruz in 2003.

Geha utilizes the world’s largest telescopes to study the smallest galaxies in the Universe. Geha’s science has been featured in many popular articles in publications including Time Magazine, CNN, The Daily Mail, and the John F. Kennedy Legacy Gallery. She has received various honors including Popular Science magazine’s “Brilliant 10” young scientists (2009), an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow (2010), a John S. Guggenheim Fellowship (2015) and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) Professorship (2018). She is the founder and faculty director of the Research Experience for Veteran Undergraduates (REVU) Program.

Dr. Jonathan McDowell

Dr. Jonathan McDowell

Jonathan McDowell is an astrophysicist at the Center for Astrophysics, Harvard & Smithsonian. He studies black holes and quasars, and oversees science software for the Chandra X-ray space telescope. McDowell’s publications include studies of cosmology, black holes, galaxies, quasars, and asteroids. He is also the editor of Jonathan’s Space Report, a free internet newsletter founded in 1989 covering technical details of space launches, and of the website which includes the General Catalog of Artificial Space Objects.

Dr. McDowell has a B.A in Mathematics (1981) and a Ph.D in Astrophysics (1987) from the University of Cambridge, England. Minor planet (4589) McDowell is named after him.

Rick Ambrose

Rick Ambrose

Rick Ambrose is Executive Vice President of Lockheed Martin Space and an officer of Lockheed Martin Corporation. Space is a more than $11 billion enterprise that employs nearly 22,000 people and provides advanced technology systems for national security, civil and commercial customers. Chief products include major systems for satellites, human space flight, strategic and missile defense, satellite command and control, sensor and data processing including predicative analytics and big data applications, space observatories and interplanetary spacecraft and a range of sensing, communications and exploration payloads.

With over four decades of experience in the defense and aerospace industry, Ambrose has led a significant number of programs in support of military, commercial and national security missions. Previously, he was President of Lockheed Martin’s Information Systems & Global Solutions-National business, responsible for leading a 6,500-person organization serving the U.S. intelligence community and international partners.

Ambrose also served as Vice President and General Manager of the Surveillance and Navigation Systems line of business within Space and prior to that, he led Mission Systems and Sensors Tactical Systems as Vice President and General Manager. He began his career with Lockheed Martin as Vice President of Ground Systems and Regional Executive of the Rocky Mountain region for the company’s Management and Data Systems and Astronautics Operations.

Before joining Lockheed Martin in 2000, Ambrose was Vice President of Space Systems for Raytheon’s Command, Control and Communications business segment and formerly served as President and General Manager for Space Systems, Hughes Information Technology Systems.

Ambrose serves on the Denver Museum of Nature & Science Board of Trustees and is a National Association of Corporate Directors Governance Fellow, a Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, and an International Academy of Astronautics Full Academician. He was honored with the 2020 Denver Business Journal C-Suite Lifetime Achievement Award; named a 2019 LinkedIn Top Voice in Technology; and is a recipient of the Aviation Week Network 2018 Laureate Award for Space: Leadership, the 2017 National Defense Industrial Association Space Division Peter B. Teets Award, and a five-time recipient of the Wash100 award by Executive Mosaic.

He has a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering technology from the DeVry Institute of Technology and a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Denver.

Nobu Okada

Nobu Okada

Nobu Okada founded Astroscale in 2013 due to a strong desire to address the growing threat of space debris. He used his personal funds as seed money and hired a team in Singapore in 2013 and opened an R&D office in Japan in 2015, a UK office in 2017, a US office in 2019, and an Israeli office in 2020, whilst raising US $191M capital. The team calls themselves, “Space Sweepers” and their mission is to secure safe and sustainable development of space for the benefit of future generations.

Nobu is the International Astronautical Federation’s Vice President for Space Economy and Sponsorship, co-chair of The Future of Space Technologies Council, World Economic Forum, member of the Space Generation Advisory Council Advisory Board, and a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society. He also served as a member of the Subcommittee on Space Civil Use, and Space Industry at the Cabinet Office for the Government of Japan. Nobu was awarded Company Leader of the Year at the 2020 SpaceNews Awards, Grand Prix during the UNESCO Netexplo Innovation Forum 2020, Forbes JAPAN “Start-up of The Year 2019” and Technology Pioneer by the World Economic Forum in 2017.

Prior to founding Astroscale, Nobu was an IT entrepreneur and strategy consultant, and had managed IT companies in Japan, China, India and Singapore. He led one company to a successful IPO. Before joining the IT industry, he worked for McKinsey & Company and the Japanese Government in the Ministry of Finance. He earned his bachelor’s degree in Agriculture
from the University of Tokyo in 1995 and an MBA from the Krannert School of Business, Purdue University in 2001.

When he was a teenager, Nobu attended a camp at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in the United States where he met Japan’s first astronaut, Mamoru Mohri. He received the handwritten message, “Space is waiting for your challenge.” and has been inspired to work on space ever since.

Mike Rogers

Mike Rogers

Mike Rogers is a former member of Congress representing Michigan’s Eighth Congressional District, and previously served as an officer in the U.S. Army and FBI special agent.

While in Congress Mr. Rogers chaired the powerful House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) where he authorized and oversaw a budget of $70 billion that funded the nation’s 17 intelligence agencies, including a large portion of the national security space architecture.

Mr. Rogers is a Senior Fellow at Harvard University and a member of the Board of Trustees and the David Abshire Chair at the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress, where he directs the Center’s national security programs, including the National Security Space Program that aims to identify ways in which new and emerging commercial space can be better integrated into the existing architecture. Mr. Rogers is a regular public speaker on global affairs, cybersecurity, and leadership.

Nate Morris

Nate Morris

Nate Morris is the founder of Morris Industries, a Lexington, Kentucky-based conglomerate that is reimagining the industrial economy. Morris’s passion to solve the environmental threats posed by global waste was pivotal in his founding of Rubicon, a software platform focused on waste and recycling, and the signature asset of Morris Industries.

Under Morris’s leadership as Chairman and CEO, Rubicon has become a catalyst for groundbreaking change across the waste management sector. Rubicon has been recognized as “One of the World’s Most Innovative Companies” by Fast Company and as an “Industry Disruptor” by Inc. Magazine.

Morris was the first Kentuckian to be named to Fortune Magazine’s 40 Under 40 list and to be recognized as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum. He is also the youngest inductee ever to the Kentucky Entrepreneur Hall of Fame. Morris graduated from George Washington University as a Scottish Rite Scholar and won an academic fellowship to Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. While at Princeton, he was named a Presidential Fellow at the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress. Morris is a member of Phi Beta Kappa and in 2020 was named a Fulbright Specialist Scholar.

Register now

Please complete the form below to register for the Clear Constellation competition. After registration, you will receive full program details including competition scope, entry requirements, deadlines, terms and conditions, and more.

If you are a member of the press or media and are interested in the Clear Constellation competition, contact us.

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