Phase II: The Prototype 


The Project Airlock Phase II Competition Weekend will be held at the University of British Columbia in August of 2020


Teams are required to construct and build a one person, functional airlock prototype suitable for Mars conditions. Competing airlocks will be scored based on how closely they adhere to the design specifications described below.

In addition, teams are invited to prototype solutions to additional challenges for a maximum 10% bonus score.

Design Specifications
  • Normal Temperature Range: -63°C to 30°C

  • Extreme Temperature Range (bonus points): -140°C to 30°C

  • Airlock Pressurization: 0 atm to 1 atm (gauge)

  • Pressurization Time: ≤ 60 minutes

  • Volume Ratio: ≤ 50%

  • Astronaut dimensions: 2.1 m x 0.9 m


For the purposes of this competition; teams may allow for “earth-grade” substitutions for the following systems only:

  • External pressurization system

  • Electronics

  • Fasteners

  • Support structures for end cap (entry must be free standing)

For example: electronic systems can be built with typical off the shelf components.


Competing Teams are not required to bring their airlock prototypes to UBC. The following deliverables will be used to judge competing Airlocks:


  1. A 3-Part Video Submission to demonstrate deployment, a complete pressurization cycle, and overall airlock construction. These video specifications will be released at a later date.

  2. An in-person presentation during the competition weekend at the University of British Columbia

  3. A submission form, provided by competition planners, to detail key performance indicators.


Volume Ratio

The collapsed total volume divided by the expanded total volume. Total volume is defined as the volume of the smallest box that contains the airlock.


Functional Airlock

An airlock prototype that meets all design specifications as described in this document.


Additional Challenges

Any combination of additional design challenges may be incorporated for a 10% bonus

Radiation Proofing

Dust Management

Full Remote Automation

Excellence and Innovation


Earth-grade Parts

Components or systems that do not comply with the prescribed design specifications.

External pressurization system

The air supply and handling system that will be managed by the colony or an external unit. 


Internal Pressurization System

All piping, valves, fittings, etc. that are located within the structure of the airlock.


End Cap

The portion of the airlock that would theoretically interface with the colony. For the purposes of this competition this may be constructed as a solid “cap” or an optional second door.


End Cap Support Structures

Framing / support to ensure the airlock stays upright and secure. In reality this would be provided by a colony interface.