This past August, the US Air Force launched a new program: the Air Force Collaboratory. Separated into three projects, the collaboratory aims to bring together students, educators, and innovators with an interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). It invites them to submit their ideas to solve real-world Air Force challenges via an interactive online platform. The final project, “The Launch of GPS IIF,” is open through November 30, 2013.

In this project, contributors are asked to help determine the most effective location within the GPS satellite constellation to launch the Air Force’s newest GPS satellite. The GPS IIF series is an integral part of a space-based navigation system, which provides three-dimensional location, velocity, and timing information for global GPS users. The project will test the ability of students and other collaborators to target the precise coordinates--within the 27 new and legacy satellites—where the new satellite should be launched.

The collaboratory’s first project, “Search and Rescue 2.0,” asked contributors to submit plans to locate, stabilize, or transport victims in collapsed structures. The second project, “Mind of a Quadrotor,” had participants create an autonomous quadrotor that could navigate with minimal human interaction. To submit ideas or find out more, visit the Air Force Collaboratory’s website.