Got “The best Business Innovation Idea related to Space Exploration“? You represent a university, are a student, entrepreneur, part of a startup team or a single innovator who wants to contribute to this fascinating area? Then boost your idea benefitting Earth with help from the Space Exploration network.

Win awesome Prizes
worth EUR 800,000

Build your network with
International Partners

Make the world aware
of your Solution

Receive feedback from
renowned Experts

Make the Awards
your event


Business Coaching

Pitch Training

Development Support

Access to Testing Facilities

Business Incubation

Access to Venture Capital


Marketing Support

Market & Feasibility Studies

Flight Operations

Access to Experts

Travel & Accommodation


The Space Exploration Masters 2018 offers prizes worth more than EUR 800k, comprising various in-kind services tailored to help you boost your idea. As participant, you choose the challenge that would best support your business case from among more than 10 different partners. The Overall Winner is being selected from among all winners during the Awards Ceremony in Bilbao, Spain in line with the Space for Inspiration 2018 event.




    Here you can download the 2018 Terms of Participation.


    Content of Terms as of 30 July 2018 – Version 2.0

    The Space Exploration Masters 2018 competition is organised by Anwendungszentrum GmbH Oberpfaffenhofen
    (thereafter referred to as “Organiser” or “AZO”) on its own responsibility and on behalf of the European Space Agency
    (ESA, thereafter referred to as “Initiator”). The competition is organised within the scope of the ESA Exploration
    Strategy to secure Europe’s central role in global space exploration, deliver new results in both basic and applied
    science and offer a compelling vision of global endeavour, enriching society and inspiring the next generations. In
    addition, the Initiator and its partners, as well as the Ministry of the Economy of Luxembourg’s initiative of
    SpaceResources.lu, the consortia of Stevenson Astrosat Ltd. and the Chamber of Commerce of Huntsville/Madison
    County, Alabama, as well as Airbus DS, Air Liquide, and Merck KGaA, respectively, participate as main sponsoring
    Partners (thereafter referred to as “Partners”).

    With the Space Exploration Masters 2018 competition, the Organiser intends to gather ideas / solutions for “New
    Business Innovation” dedicated to Space Exploration and benefitting Earth. By awarding Prizes and promoting
    individual ideas, the Organiser aims at both innovative, viable and sustainable business models, products and services,
    and the development of systems, subsystems and components, also materials, new or optimised processes. They shall
    be in alignment with the value chain of payloads, launchers, spacecrafts, off‐world missions with destinations Low
    Earth Orbit (LEO), the Moon, Mars, or even beyond. Cases might make use of data derived in line with space
    exploration activities or identify new areas of application for existing space and non‐space portfolios via spin‐offs of
    approaches, solutions, and services from space to non‐space and spin‐ins from non‐space to space. The competition is
    separated into five Challenges in accordance with the Partners (thereafter referred to as “Challenges”).

    Enterprises, universities, non‐university scientific institutions, startup‐teams, consortia, and individuals of legal adult
    age from across the world (thereafter referred to as “Participants”) are entitled to participate in the Space Exploration
    Masters 2018. The Challenges provided by the Partners therefore are open to a global public and not limited to
    specific regions or countries. Personnel of Partners and affiliated organisations as well as their relatives may only
    participate in Challenges of the other Partners.
    Affiliate and associated company means “any legal entity which owns or controls, or is owned or controlled by,
    another legal entity. For a corporation, ownership of the voting stock is the controlling criterion. A legal entity is
    considered to own or control a second legal entity if –
    (1) The legal entity owns an interest of 50 percent or more in the second legal entity; or
    (2) The legal entity and one or more other legal entities, in which it owns an interest of 50 percent or more,
    together own an interest of 50 percent or more in the second legal entity; or
    (3) The legal entity owns an interest of 50 percent or more in another legal entity which in turn owns an
    interest of 50 percent or more in the second legal entity.
    The Space Exploration Masters 2018 takes place between May 1st, 2018, and July 31st August 5th (extended), 2018, and will call for proposals in altogether five Challenges.

    Participants are requested to electronically submit their contributions from May 1st, 2018, until 11:59 am CEST on July 31st August 5th (extended), 2018 (for detailed information refer to the procedure described below).

    The competition will be organised and carried out via a secure online ideas database accessible at www.spaceexploration‐
    masters.com. Registration is required at www.space‐exploration‐masters.com to create a user account,
    which may then be used to submit successful new ideas for business innovation to one of any of the offered
    Challenges. It is possible to enter more than one idea using the same personal account, but Participants may not apply
    the same or a slightly adopted idea for different Challenges. When creating an account, Participants will be asked to
    provide contact details, which the Organiser will use to inform them of all matters related to the Space Exploration
    Masters 2018 as well as any other matters which the Organiser may deem relevant for a Participant of the innovation
    competition. Once registration has been completed, Participants will receive a confirmation link to log in. Participants
    will be asked to choose an account password that will allow temporarily saving and processing the content for the
    idea submission on the server until it has the desired form.
    After logging in, Participants must select a Challenge for their idea / solution; that Challenge’s expert team will review
    their submission. As such, the Challenges available for selection are stated at: http://www.space‐explorationmaster.
    com/challenges including the respective objectives and prizes on offer. New Challenges may be added during
    the competition runtime. Any additional Challenge will be announced on the competition website which always
    reflects the most current status.
    After logging in, Participants are requested to answer all of the mandatory questions related to the Challenge, they
    would like to apply for, in an online questionnaire. A different questionnaire must be completed for each Challenge.
    During the competition, the Organiser may contact the Participants to assist and support them during the application
    Participants must submit their idea(s) and fill out the mandatory data and fields in the database no later than 11:59
    am CEST on July 31st August 5th, 2018. Only those ideas / solutions that contain all the mandatory information will be considered.
    The idea / solution will then be submitted to the expert panel of the respective Challenge. All experts assigned with
    the evaluation of the submitted ideas must commit to a non‐disclosure agreement before the proposals are put
    forward for evaluation. This non‐disclosure agreement will be concluded between Anwendungszentrum GmbH
    Oberpfaffenhofen and each of the experts.
    The evaluation of the ideas is an anonymous process subject to an upfront check of formal requirements. Each idea
    will receive its own identification number. During the evaluation process, the experts are only able to see this ID.
    However, the Partners may invite a small number of finalists to deliver a personal pitch. If the Participants are invited
    to present their idea to the experts personally, their identity will obviously be disclosed. However, at this stage they
    will already be nominated as a finalist.
    By participating, Participants acknowledge that their contact details will be passed on to the Partner after the
    database has been closed and the winners / finalists chosen. This Partner may then contact Participants to
    determine whether they are interested in moving forward with the ideas submitted. Any personal data will be
    deleted when no longer needed or required, or upon request. For further information on the deletion of personal
    and / or idea‐related data please refer to our Privacy Policy.

    The expert juries of the Partners will select one winning idea and up to two finalists for each Challenge. The Overall
    Winner is being selected from among all winners during the Space for Inspiration 2018 event in Bilbao, Spain. The
    selection by the (dedicated) expert juries is at their discretion, and thus not countervailable. The Organiser, the
    Initiator, and the Partners shall assume no liability whatsoever for the outcome of the selection process.
    The winner of the Space Exploration Masters 2018 will be awarded during the Awards Ceremony on October 30th,
    2018, in Bilbao, Spain.

    By clicking a checkbox in the user registration, Participants have the chance to also apply for the ESA space solutions
    prize in addition to their participation in any of the challenges. The ESA Space Solutions Prize awards the proposal with
    the best business model among the entries to all challenges of the Space Exploration Masters 2018. The prize is a EUR
    40,000 contract between ESA and the winning team to deliver a feasible case study identifying the strategy to
    implement the business model. By clicking the checkbox Participants acknowledge that ESA will get access to the
    submitted contact and idea details as well as the expert’s evaluation. AZO will act as the intermediary and pass on
    digital data. For any content over and above this, which the idea holder provides to ESA, they are solely responsible
    and might issue a separate NDA. AZO shall not be held liable for this data.

    Within the Space Exploration Masters 2018 the confidentiality of transmitted ideas / solutions is ensured. The
    transmitted ideas / solutions and the saved treatment statuses will be protected against any access by unauthorised
    third parties. The personnel and experts charged with carrying out the competition are committed to treating all
    matters confidentially.
    During the awards ceremony, the awarded ideas / solutions will also be made public along with the Challenge
    By participating in this competition, each Participant agrees that the Initiator, Organiser, and Partners may use the
    name, address, comments, likeness, photos (incl. photos taken of the winners at the Space Exploration Masters
    Awards Ceremony), and a description of the idea, if the Participant accepts any Prize, in publicity or advertising
    concerning this competition or otherwise in any medium now known or hereafter devised (including the internet or
    other interactive networks) at any place and time without further compensation or right of review and agrees to
    waive his / her rights with respect to such publicity and advertising.
    Once an idea / solution has been publicly recognised, the Organiser takes no further responsibility regarding the
    further cooperation of the respective winner with any of the Partners, sponsors or members of the expert panels. This
    also includes cases in which no cooperation between a winner and the respective Partner or sponsor materialises
    despite the award.

    9. RIGHTS
    The rights the Participants hold pertaining to their idea / solution will remain with the Participants. Whether they
    realise their ideas by themselves or with a Partner selected by them is left to Participant’s discretion. Through
    participation in the Space Exploration Masters 2018, the Participant will not acquire any rights to the idea. We
    strongly recommend that Participants discuss the protection of their idea / solution with the respective experts.
    Participants may protect their idea by applying for a patent, utility model, or another form of protection right. Prior to the participation in the competition, Participants should notify their employer of their idea if they have
    developed it in or in connection with the employment. Through the participation in the Space Exploration Masters
    2018 and / or the publication of the idea / solution during the awards ceremony, any protection of the idea (if not
    previously protected by a patent) may be rendered void or otherwise lost. The idea may become common property.
    We strongly recommend to sufficiently protecting the idea upfront. Despite all our efforts to keep the Participant’s
    idea / information confidential prior to its publication, Participants have to understand and acknowledge that neither
    the Organiser nor Initiator nor the Partners assume any liability for any damage resulting from the idea / information
    becoming public.

    It is the participants’ individual and sole responsibility to assure that the submission of their ideas, information and
    solutions is in compliance with national, foreign and international trade and export control laws and regulations. The
    ideas, the services, products or deliverables as well parts of them may be subject to national, foreign or international
    trade and export laws and regulations. The parties acknowledge that diversion contrary to such Export Regulations is
    The Participant ensures and guarantees to the Initiator, Organiser, and Partner that he or she is fully entitled to
    submit his or her idea to the competition, especially that he or she is in possession of all necessary industrial property,
    trade mark, and exploitation rights, copyrights and neighbouring rights for the submitted idea, and not making use of
    any content that is protected by copyrights or otherwise, without having acquired necessary rights of use. The
    Participant confirms that the submission of the idea is not in violation of any third‐party claims.
    The Participant / Submitting Entity is fully responsible for possible violations of third‐party claims. The Initiator,
    Organiser, and the Partner are not assuming any kind of liability in this respect.
    In case of an infringement of third‐party rights being claimed, the Participant / Submitting Entity will commit to fully
    dispense the Initiator, the Organiser, and the Partner from liability, to pay compensation to the Initiator, the
    Organiser, and the Partner for the costs of legal defence as well as for any additional harm caused to the Initiator, the
    Organiser, and the Partner by the recourse.
    In case that an infringement of said regulations should have occurred, the Participant / Submitting Entity is obliged to
    immediately and at his or her own charge restore the lacking conformity with national and/or international rights.
    Additionally, the Participant / Submitting Entity will explicitly dispense the Initiator, the Organiser, and the Partner
    from any kind of responsibility and liability, claims or legal procedure regarding relationships to third parties,
    irrespective of the legal basis, and cover all cost incurred by the Initiator, Organiser, and / or Partner.

    The award decisions will not be subject to dispute in a court of law. Decisions of the experts of the competition are
    final and binding for all Participants in all aspects of the competition. Participants have no right to a statement of the
    experts’ decisions.
    Each winner is responsible for all federal, state, local, provisional and other taxes.
    The Organiser reserves the right to modify these terms, including any of the deadlines set forth herein, at any time.
    Participation in this competition shall be governed by German law. Place of jurisdiction shall be Munich, Germany.

    12. CONTACT
    For information on the competition please visit: www.space‐exploration‐masters.com
    If you have any further questions please inquire at: support@space‐exploration‐masters.com




    (e.g. eligibility criteria, language, organisation form, team application)

    Who can participate?
    The competition is geared towards entrants from all over the world. In general, enterprises, universities, non-university scientific institutions, startup teams, scientists, researchers, students, engineers or individuals of legal adult age are entitled to participate.

    In which language can I submit my idea?
    Please submit your entry and all related communication in English only.

    Do I need to represent a company?
    This is not a mandatory field. You can also leave it blank and choose “individual” when prompted for the appropriate form of your organisation.

    Is it possible to enter the competition with an idea, but not a business plan?
    Yes! It’s an ideas competition, not a business plan competition. Please be aware, however, that providing a better description of your idea will give you a greater chance of winning the competition.

    Which Challenge suits my idea best?
    The general topic of all challenges is Space Exploration, but the partner challenges refer to different levels of innovation maturity and sophistication of the idea as well as specific focus topics. Please see the respective challenge page for a detailed description.

    My team is composed of multiple members – is every member obliged to create an individual account?
    It is sufficient to create one account per team and to mention all involved persons in the tab “team members” while submitting your idea.


    (e.g. entry point, illustrations, number of questions, several ideas)

    Is there any fee to enter the competition?
    No, participation in the competition is free of charge.

    Where can I enter my idea and how will I find the ideas database?
    At www.space-exploration-masters.com you will find the “REGISTER” button on top of the page, which is linked to the ideas database. There, you can register with your email address and password for logging into the database to continue developing your idea as often as you like before the end of the submission phase.

    Can I submit my idea elsewhere than in the database?

    No, this is not possible, all ideas have to be submitted through the database in order to be accepted. Please note, that only ideas which are 100%, thus fully, completed, will be forwarded to our experts for the evaluation after the database closure.

    Is it possible to illustrate my idea with a drawing or other picture?
    Yes, you can upload two pictures with a maximum size of 3MB each into the database. Only .gif, .jpg, .tif, and .png files are accepted.

    How many questions will I find in the ideas database?

    A total of about 20 questions have to be answered (varying depending on which challenge you plan to compete for). Some questions are multiple-choice and some questions have to be answered in writing.

    How many times will I be able to work on my idea in the ideas database?
    The database will be open from 1 May to 31 July, and you may access it as often as you like using the login and password you specify during the registration process.

    I have more than one idea. Will it be possible to join the competition with two or more ideas?
    You may enter more than one idea using the same personal account (= different new solutions), but are not allowed to enter the same idea for different challenges.

    Where can I find more detailed information on the requirements of the challenges?
    For further information please refer to the “CHALLENGES” section in the main navigation menu.


    (e.g. experts, Intellectual Property, evaluation criteria, timeline)

    Who will evaluate my idea?
    Each sponsoring partner has appointed an independent panel of industry and research experts to evaluate the ideas submitted in their particular challenge.

    Will the evaluation experts know my name?
    The evaluation of the ideas will be an anonymous process in which each idea receives its own identification number. During the evaluation process, the experts will only be able to see this ID. However, the challenge sponsors may invite a selected number of finalists to pitch their ideas in person. If you receive such an invitation, your identity will obviously be disclosed. At this stage, however, you will already be nominated as a finalist.

    Do I have to fear the loss of my Intellectual Property rights as soon as I submit my idea?
    No, the rights the participants hold pertaining to their idea will remain with the participants, but we strongly recommend that participants discuss the protection of their idea with the respective experts. Participants may protect their idea by applying for a patent, utility model, or another form of protection right.

    Which criteria will the experts view as essential?
    The following criteria are decisive in receiving a good rating. For a comprehensive list of the evaluation criteria, please go to the respective challenge page.
    – Space Exploration relevance
    – Benefit and innovation level
    – Technological feasibility
    – Market potential

    How long will I have to wait to find out if I am one of the winners?
    The final evaluation stage will take place in September. After this date, you will be informed if you have won a challenge. Please note, however, that the winners will not be officially announced before the Awards Ceremony on 30 October.

    What will happen to my idea if I am not one of the winners?
    All of the experts assigned with evaluating the ideas are requested to sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) prior to the evaluation. If you are not selected as a winner or runner-up, your name and idea will not be published or shared in any way. However, the partners of the competition may still contact you regarding possible further cooperation.


We offer you a dedicated helpdesk covering all sorts of queries. Our service staff are the primary point of contact for participants. So, if you have any question about the competition please get in touch through the below contact point. Support is provided in English and German.