Propel Pitch Session

organized by Lockheed Martin

The ASCEND Propel Pitch Session organized by Lockheed Martin is a pitch session-style event where companies, organizations, and independent groups will have the opportunity to submit their ideas for a lunar payload concept, compete for prizes, and receive feedback from a panel comprised of leaders in the space industry. Pitches will be received in the form of 2 minute video submissions that should describe the payload or instrument concept and benefits. They will be judged based on their ability to advance scientific knowledge, demonstrate new technologies, or engage the public. Use of engaging, effective visuals is encouraged.

All submissions must be received through the following portal by 23:59 hrs US Eastern Time on November 12th, 2020.


The top submissions and their teams will be highlighted and the winning submission will be announced Tuesday, November 17th at 16:00 hrs US Eastern Time  live at ASCEND 2020.

The winning team will receive the following prizes:

  • Virtual registration for the winning team to AIAA ASCEND 2021
  • VIP invitation to the Artemis 1 launch viewing
  • An exclusive tour of the Lockheed Martin Space facility in Denver, CO
  • Space exploration swag bundle

Competition Rules and Prize Disclaimer:

  • Submissions shall not include confidential, proprietary, or export controlled information
  • Travel costs are not included for the Artemis 1 launch viewing or the LM Space facility tour
  • Launch site access is limited to 3 people from the winning team and is pending the facility security approval process
  • The Lockheed Martin tour is limited to 8 people from the winning team, will occur at a later date after COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted, and is pending the facility security approval process
Edwards Headshot

Christie Edwards, Deputy Exploration Architect, Lockheed Martin Space (Moderator)

Dr. Christine Edwards is the Deputy Exploration Architect at Lockheed Martin Space. She specializes in enabling greater autonomy for future space exploration missions through advances in AI and human-machine teaming. Previous positions include serving as Principal Investigator for weather and remote sensing research and development, lead systems engineer and associate manager for Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) operations, guidance navigation and control (GN&C) operations for the GRAIL, Mars Odyssey, and Stardust missions, launch support for Juno, and autonomous rendezvous, proximity operations, and docking (ARPOD) development for the Orion. Christy holds a PhD in systems engineering from Stevens Institute of Technology, Bachelor and Master of Science degrees in aerospace engineering from MIT, is a Research Associate at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, and was recognized by Aviation Week & Space Technology in their 40 under 40 in Aerospace and Defense.

Harriet Brettle

Harriet Brettle, Chair, Space Generation Advisory Council (Judge)

Head of Business Analysis at Astroscale and also co-chair of the Space Generation Advisory Council. I have a keen interest in public engagement with space science, interactions between different fields relevant to space exploration, and the future of new space economy.


Jose Hurtado, Professor, Geological Sciences, University of Texas at El Paso (Judge)

Jose Hurtado is a Professor in the Department of Geological Sciences at The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP). He joined UTEP in 2002 after completing a postdoctoral fellowship at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Dr. Hurtado obtained his Ph.D. in geology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and holds an M.S./B.S. in geology from the California Institute of Technology. His research interests include terrestrial geology and remote sensing, focusing on the western US and the Himalaya, as well as planetary science. His planetary science work includes remote sensing studies of the Moon as well as work in analog environments investigating the tools and techniques for planetary surface exploration with humans and robots. During 2014-2015, Dr. Hurtado joined the operations team at Virgin Galactic as an astronaut instructor and also worked on SpaceShipTwo cabin systems and life-support engineering tasks. Dr. Hurtado currently serves on the executive committees for the NASA Lunar Exploration Analysis Group (LEAG) and the Lunar Surface Innovation Consortium (LSIC).

Jones Headshot

Sarah Jones, Director, Global Strategic Partnerships, Knowledge Enterprise, Arizona State University (Judge)

Dr. Sarah Jones is the Director for Global Strategic Partnerships in the office of Knowledge Enterprise at Arizona State University.  She manages strategic partnerships such as the PLuS Alliance (King’s College London and UNSW Sydney), Dublin City University and Ben Gurion University.  Her primary focus with these partnerships is identifying and nurturing the unique assets each organization brings to the collaboration and fostering ways to advance their shared goals. In particular she is motivated to further ASU’s mission of increasing access, promoting lifelong learning and workforce development, and leveraging partners strengths and expertise to co-create innovative and impactful solutions. She is experienced fostering collaborations with community and governmental partners around the state of Arizona and around the globe.

Prior to joining the Knowledge Enterprise, Dr. Jones was the Executive Director and Director of Technology Innovation for the ASU REACH Institute. In addition to leading a multi-disciplinary team to disseminate evidence-based programs, she led the REACH Institute in their transition to using a digital platform to deliver and monitor clinical interventions.  She earned her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Arizona State University.

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Jeffrey Montes, Sr. Space Architect, Blue Origin (Judge)

Jeffrey is a Space architect and technologist whose work on habitat designs has been awarded by NASA and exhibited in museums around the world. Jeffrey was the principal designer of Marsha, a novel design and 3D printed prototype for a Mars habitat awarded 1st place in the finale of the NASA 3D Printed Habitat Challenge. Jeffrey also co-designed Mars Ice House (2015) and Mars Ice Home (2017)m, two inventive designs that utilize ice as a light-transmitting shield for cosmic radiation. Jeffrey holds a Master of Architecture from the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation (GSAPP) at Columbia University and is a fellow at Open Lunar Foundation.

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