Terrestrial environmental hazards, e. g. radiation, toxic pollutants and contaminants, impact many aspects of life that are inextricably linked to health and food. To address this, WHO has a key role to play in advancing both mitigation and adaptation strategies for climate and environmental change, working in collaboration with ESA and other stakeholders.

Remove before flight: Seeking innovative keys to open up the current stressors to a healthy food provision for Space Exploration missions.

Just as environments on Earth can be hazardous, the space environment also turns out to be dangerous for human beings in space, e.g. astronauts, plants and animals. ESA constantly performs activities including but not limited to astronaut missions, ground-based experiments and technology demonstrations related to food concerns to assure sustainable survivability in space. Hence the importance of checklists, procedures, nutritional features, taste elements, preservation, packaging, food generation in space, etc.

The challenge aims to encourage the global community of problem-solvers to come up with new ideas to overcome barriers to steering humankind’s spaceship towards other non-terrestrial orbits, planets or celestial bodies. The objective is to foster commercially viable business applications related to health and food issues, e.g. lightweight, compact, tasty and nutritious qualities, for space exploration missions. The applications are expected to promote the availability of safe, healthy and wholesome food for everyone and raise awareness to improve food and nutrition security on Earth.

The target groups for this challenge are bright teams of students, startups, and young professionals teaming up with large entities, e.g. corporations and research institutes with an established capacity to deliver the solution to market at global level, specially toward disadvantaged areas on Earth.


The most relevant value of this prize is the partnership of ESA with WHO, CNES and ASI. The winner will gain multifaceted visibility within these four stakeholder networks to advance the implementation of the idea. The winner will receive:

  • Certificate of recognition as the winner of the ESA Business Innovation Idea Master Award 2018
  • A dedicated press release on the ESA Space Exploration Benefits website
  • Global exposure to innovation: WHO technical experts discuss with the prize recipients the current needs of relevant space science and technologies to advance the health-related Sustainable Development Goals for Member States;
  • Space Exploration Engagement: Three dedicated hours of coaching from ESA experts to apply to an ESA Space Exploration programme;
  • Space and non-Space Fertilization: Three dedicated hours of coaching from ESA Experts to apply to an ESA Business Applications funding programme;
  • Provided by ASI: A dedicated idea boost package including the characterisation of a feasibility study for a space mission concept; matchmaking with Italian academia, labs and industrial players who could foster the related space-based payload development and the scouting of funding opportunities at a national and international level – e.g. EU Horizon 2020, etc.;
  • Provided by CNES: A dedicated visibility package with the sponsorship to attend the award ceremony alongside the Space for Inspiration 2018 conference in Bilbao (ES) on 29-31 October 2018



Applications will be evaluated by a jury jointly membered by experts from ESA, WHO, ASI and CNES. The evaluation criteria are:

  • Relevance to the advancement of Space Exploration and the improvement of food and nutrition on Earth;
  • Ratio between market potential and feasible implementation in the short-medium term;
  • Aptness to foster industrial cooperation between space and non-space sectors;
  • Suitability to enable innovation, and
  • Contribution to meet the UN Sustainable Development Goals.


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    European Space Agency (ESA)

    The European Space Agency is Europe’s gateway to Space.

    Its mission is to shape the development of Europe’s space capability and ensure that investment in space continues to deliver benefits to the citizens of Europe and the world. ESA’s vision positions space exploration as a global endeavour, including missions to low Earth orbit, the Moon and Mars. It also aims to establish marketable space exploration initiatives and to boost socio-economic growth, job creation and added welfare.

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    WHO – United Nations World Health Organization

    World Health Organization (WHO) is the directing and coordinating authority on international health within the United Nations’ system.

    WHO’s goal is to build a better, healthier future for people all over the world. Working through offices in more than 150 countries, WHO Secretariat staff work side by side with governments and other partners to ensure the highest attainable level of health for all people.

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    ASI - Italian Space Agency

    The Italian Space Agency was founded in 1988. Its purpose was to coordinate all of Italy's efforts and investments in the space sector that had begun in the 1960s.

    The Italian Space Agency was founded in 1988. Its purpose was to coordinate all of Italy’s efforts and investments in the space sector that had begun in the 1960s. Within almost thirty years’ time, ASI became one of the most significant players in the world in space science, satellite technologies and the development of systems for exploring the Universe. Today, ASI has a key role at the European level where Italy is the third contributor country to the European Space Agency.

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    CNES - French Space Agency

    CNES is the French government space agency. Its headquarters are located in central Paris and it is under the supervision of the French Ministries of Defence and Research.

    It operates from the Toulouse Space Center and Guiana Space Centre, but also has payloads launched from space centres operated by other countries. CNES is member of the European space Agency. CNES benefits from the second largest national budget allocated to space.



Bernhard Hufenbach
+31 71 565 5075