Space Exploration Masters Challenge

Space Exploration Masters Challenge


ESA jointly with Space Applications Services, Airbus, and SSTL with Goonhilly Earth Station Ltd (GES) is looking for new business ideas for supporting and enabling Space Exploration - for example, energy provision, life support systems, biological functions, plant germination processes, resources utilization, and material exploitation processes.

The Space Exploration Challenge seeks new ideas to solve system malfunctions and to contribute to the success of space exploration missions. The ideas shall be flyable in a cube/cube-sat size [1U ≡ 10 cm x 10 cm x 10 cm] towards one of the following destinations:

The European Columbus laboratory on the International Space Station:
– ICE Cubes (internal location) or
– Bartolomeo (external location)


The Moon on the Lunar Pathfinder Mission led by SSTL and GES.

SSTL's role

SSTL, together with our partners, Goonhilly Earth Station, will assist with judging and will provide the prize for the Moon Environment entrants.  


There is a two-stage prize:

  • Firstly, the best idea per destination, and
  • Later the solo winner will be selected during the Space for Inspiration 2018 event.

The prizes per destination are around EUR 50,000 each:

ICE Cubes Prize: ICE Cubes flight ticket to the International Space Station. The four-month service includes the flight, operations and mentorship of the experimental payload [1U-size].

Bartolomeo Prize: Slot reservation for a 2020/2021 flight. The prize includes safety feasibility reviews and favourable rate conditions.

Surrey Satellite Technology and Goonhilly Earth Station Ltd Prize: Training to develop and operate a payload on a lunar mission, on-site workshops, hands-on training in the cleanroom or at the mission operations centre, and a SSTL-GES feasibility study.

The prize includes a certificate recognising the idea as ESA Business Innovation Idea Master Award 2018 and a dedicated press release on the ESA space exploration benefits website.

The submission phase is open from 1st May - 31 July 2018.

For more details and to register, visit the Space Exploration Masters website

Download the ESA & Commercial Partners Challenge flyer