The 2018 edition of the joint Sustainable Exploration Challenge by Airbus, Air Liquide, and Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, focuses on sustaining life and the environment on the Moon: Build your Greenhouse or Hydrogen and Oxygen Refuelling Station on the Moon!

To do so, three key industry players, leaders in each of our fields, are joining forces to offer you existing Technology Building Blocks, expertise and know-how to kick-start your Greenhouse or Refuelling Station.

  • Topic 1 – Greenhouse: Imagine you are opening the first greenhouse in the Moon Village. What would you grow on the Moon to sustain human life? Which technologies would you use? Would it be indoor farming only, or would you also utilize sunlight, e.g. using dimmable windows to control the extremes? And how much would you sell your produce for?
  • Topic 2 – Refuelling Station: The first hydrogen-based economy may not be on Earth, but on the Moon. You are opening the first hydrogen and oxygen refuelling station on the Moon. Most likely, you would melt ice and turn water into hydrogen and oxygen through electrolysis. Based on both gases, many new applications are possible: fuel rovers, fuel cells, or provide oxygen for astronauts. Who are your customers in the Moon Village?

We believe that Earth is the starting point for space exploration – and vice versa. Having a business model for both Earth and space, will enable joint development from day 1, and give access to VCs from both worlds.

Build a viable business model for the Greenhouse or the Refuelling Station for a space-related and a terrestrial application utilizing the same technologies. The pitch deck should be geared towards space and non-space venture capitalists.


Partner up with three key industry players covering a broad cross-industry network to build a successful and sustainable business model for Earth and space!

The top 10 ideas will receive cross-industry support during the evaluation phase (August – September 2018) to develop an investors’ pitch, through technology, business, and investor insights, for a first phase of up to EUR 40,000.

The two finalists (best Greenhouse / Refuelling Station concept) will be provided with a tailored business support package including the following components:

  • Dedicated coaching support to fine-tune your pitch through deepened technology and business cooperation with Airbus, Air Liquide, and Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany
  • Opportunity to pitch the winning idea exclusively to venture capitalists at the Moon Economic Forum in Luxembourg, November 2018.
  • Pitch at the Selection Days for the Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany Accelerator Programme in November 2018. Upon successful approval, the programme covers travel to and free accommodation in Darmstadt, co-location at the Innovation Center, project support up to EUR 50,000.
  • Consultancy support for application to a Business Incubation Center (BIC), providing financial and technical support of up to EUR 50,000 upon approval. BIC sites located nearby Airbus, Air Liquide or Merck KGaA Darmstadt, Germany ensure optimal coaching support during the incubation process.

The winner will additionally receive travel and accommodation expenses for the Awards Ceremony at and access to the Space for Inspiration conference in Bilbao, 29-31 October 2018.



  • Integration of industry partners’ technology building blocks
  • Roadmap, with a special focus on a first phase of up to EUR 40,000.

Besides the above criteria, the quality of your pitch deck will be assessed based on the following aspects:

  • Your Team (incl. the company’s business sector and development status, the team composition and background of core team members, what makes your team special?
  • Your Programme (how do you intend to benefit from the award and how would you want to integrate the challenge partners? Would you be working full-time on the idea?)
  • Your Idea (incl. the problem you solve, the market addressed incl. competitors and customers, your space/terrestrial business model, your proposed roadmap)

Please feel free to use the provided Pitch Deck Template as a reference.


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    At Airbus, our purpose is to improve life on Earth and beyond through our cutting-edge Space technologies.

    With every technological breakthrough we bring people closer together, we navigate new frontiers and we discover new and unexplored destinations. And we don’t just take innovations to Space, our Space solutions help solve global challenges on Earth.

    But we don’t stop there: We envisage a future where our human economy expands beyond Earth’s orbit and everyone benefits from the value of Space. Explore, Discover, Connect: Together, we can make tomorrow more than just another day.

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    Air Liquide

    Air Liquide is ready to meet the challenges of this new chapter in the history of space.

    After more than 50 years of technological developments on the Ariane, Melfi, Planck, Herschel, Curiosity, and ExoMars programmes, we have the ambition, the will and the expertise to engage in all the major new international challenges: electric propulsion, more competitive launch vehicles, the constellation of satellites, life in space, and more.

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    Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany

    Founded in Darmstadt, Germany in 1668 by Friedrich Jacob Merck, we are the world’s oldest pharmaceutical and chemical company.

    The Merck family has remained the majority owner of the company to this very day. Over the course of nearly 350 years, we have become a truly global company with approximately 50,000 employees in 66 countries. Our people are united by their passion for new ideas, the possibilities of technology, and the potential to make a difference in the world.

  • supported by
    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.



Matthieu Lys
+33 562 19604