Roberts Space Industries, the developer and Kickstarter darling behind the upcoming space simulator Star Citizen, is giving back some of the over $37 million in publicly funded cash in a new spacecraft design competition kicking off tonight on YouTube.

The weekly series focuses on 24 finalist teams competing for a grand prize of $30,000 in cash. The competition began last October and has been whittled down from 270 teams from 65 countries to just this handful to design the future in virtual spacecraft.

The series will run for three weeks, airing every Friday at 6 PM ET and will include space-king developer Chris Roberts himself, creator of Star Citizen and Wing Commander.

"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."

The winner of the competition will not only get some cold hard cash but also have their designs used in the final game, a new super-charged AMD gaming rig, an Alienware laptop rig and a big batch of uber-expensive design software among other goodies.

Check out The Next Great Starship launching today at 6 PM ET on YouTube.

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[Via TotalXbox]