Smart waste and recycling software leader announces design concept competition for United States colleges and universities

Lexington, KY (May 5, 2021) — Rubicon®, a software platform that provides smart waste and recycling solutions to businesses and governments worldwide, today announced the launch of Project Clear Constellation™, a new program devised to confront the growing issue of orbital space debris and its impact on our environment. The centerpiece of the program is a competition in which accredited colleges and universities from across the United States are invited to submit design concepts for solutions to confront this problem, which grows ever more acute each day. The winning concept, to be announced in May 2022, will be awarded a substantial cash prize that will be revealed soon.

According to a recent NASA study, there are approximately 8,000 metric tons of debris orbiting 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 the world increasingly relies on for education, communication, weather tracking, navigation, and more.

“Space debris is an issue that demands the world’s immediate attention,” said Mike Rogers, former Member of the United States Congress, Chair of the Center for the Study of the Presidency & Congress’ National Security Space Program, and Project Clear Constellation judge. “Creativity and ingenuity are required if we are going to tackle this problem before it is too late, and what better way to do that than to bring our country’s brightest minds together to design innovative solutions to address this most urgent of issues.”

Also serving on the judging panel are Dr. Jonathan C. McDowell, Astrophysicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, and Nate Morris, Founder and CEO of Rubicon. More judges will be announced in the coming weeks.

In recent years, a number of private companies such as Elon Musk’s SpaceX have made immense progress in both commercial and exploratory space flight. If left unaddressed, the accumulation of space debris presents a serious threat to the growth and continued success of those programs, not to mention mortal danger for the men and women serving on these missions.

“Space waste has been a grave concern of mine for many years now, and it is a problem that has not received the attention it so desperately needs,” said Morris. “Rubicon has always been an innovator in the smart waste and recycling industry, and Project Clear Constellation is our first step in this critical new mission. We believe that original, inventive ideas can be found anywhere and everywhere in our great country, and we encourage every college and university across the United States to join us.”

The competition begins today, with the registration period for participant schools open through Thursday, September 30, 2021. The submission deadline for design concepts is Monday, February 28, 2022, and the winning concept will be announced in mid-May 2022. Accredited colleges and universities can register now at

About Rubicon

Rubicon is a software platform that provides smart waste and recycling solutions for businesses and governments worldwide. Using technology to drive environmental innovation, the company helps turn businesses into more sustainable enterprises, and neighborhoods into greener and smarter places to live and work. Rubicon’s mission is to end waste. It helps its partners find economic value in their waste streams and confidently execute on their sustainability goals. Learn more at

Rubicon’s inaugural Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) Report, Toward a Future Without Waste, can be found at


Dan Sampson
Vice President of Marketing & Communications, Rubicon