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Star Citizen's $30K spaceship design contest airs Jan. 31

The Next Great Starship, a series covering the $30K spaceship design competition for Cloud Imperium's Star Citizen, will air on YouTube from Jan. 31.

The weekly series involves 24 final teams competing for a grand cash prize of $30,000, with a handful of those eliminated each show. The competition launched in October last year and saw 270 teams from 65 countries entering for the chance to have their craft design used in the space exploration sim.

The series will run for the next three weeks, airing on the Roberts Space Industries YouTube channel every Friday at 6 p.m. ET/ 3:00 p.m. PT. Judges include Cloud Imperium Games co-founder Chris Roberts, developers from Star Citizen's art, design and animation teams and unannounced celebrity judges. The Next Great Starship finale will air on June 7 from Los Angeles.

"The quality of the entries has been amazing," Roberts said in a statement. "And we had quite a variety of entrants including a husband and wife team, a father and son team, several high school level teams, automotive designers, bartenders, DJs, filmmakers and of course several professionals from the gaming industry. It just shows the breadth of our fan base and the numbers themselves show the excitement that our community is bringing to this competition."

As well as receiving $30,000, first place teams will have their design used in the game and Autodesk Entertainment Creation Suite, Maya Premium and one high-end AMD based system with Radeon R9 290X (for each team member). Second place will be granted with $10,000 in cash for the team members and an Alienware laptop, Autodesk Maya 2014, AMD Radeon R9 290X for each team member.

Third place team will receive $5,000 in cash for the team members, as well as an Autodesk Maya LT, AMD Radeon R9 290X (for each team member). Recipients of the Specialty Price will be awarded with a Windows 8 Cintiq Companion tablet from Wacom and the remaining finalists will receive $250 in RSI Credits.

The space sim recently surpassed $37 million in funding, unlocking an additional star system for players to explore.