Boost Your Innovative Space Exploration Business Idea Benefitting Earth!

Space exploration contains large potential for the creation of innovative applications, products and services, also benefitting Earth. New topics and application areas create countless possibilities for technology transfer and novel ideas for space-based technologies and solutions. Their application in non-space industries drives new business opportunities and new markets.

In 2017, AZO has launched the Space Exploration Masters on behalf of the European Space Agency (ESA) and in line with the goals of the ESA Space Exploration Strategy, in cooperation with strong world-class partners. The Space Exploration Masters is an international competition to identify the best technology transfer business successes, as well as to empower and foster business innovation around space exploration activities in Low Earth Orbit (LEO), on Moon, Mars, or beyond – for the benefit of society and Earth.

The two different prize categories “Technology Transfer Success“ and “New Business Innovation“ were looking for exciting submissions in the fields of Human Space and Robotic Missions, Space Resources & Industry, Discovery & Space Observation, Spacecraft, Rockets, Propulsion, Space Tourism, Deep Space Communication & Navigation, Space Habitats, and Life Sciences – just to name a few.

Technology Transfer Success

Traditionally technology transfer is the process of transferring and using technology from the places and social groups of its origination to promote the wider distribution among people and places. The main focus of the Technology Transfer Success category of the Space Exploration Masters laid on the development of solutions specifically derived from non-space fields into exploration activities and vice-versa. Thereby, sector-specific characteristics, expertise and insights of different fields made these cases unique. Related technology transfer cases that are so far unknown to ESA were of high intrest.

The prize category we were looking for innovative and disruptive cases, so far unknown to ESA, with a tangible business performance in matching at least one of the United Nation Sustainable Development Goals. These included: No Poverty, Zero Hunger, Good Health & Well-Being, Quality Education, Gender Equality, Clean Water & Sanitation, Affordable & Clean Energy, Decent Work & Economic Growth, Industry Innovation & Infrastructure, Reduced Inequalities, Sustainable Cities & Communities, Responsible Consumption & Production, Climate Action, Life Below Water, Life on Land, Peace, Justice, & Strong Institutions and Partnerships for the Goals.


New Business Innovation

This second challenge identified best business innovation ideas for Space Exploration with destinations such as LEO, Moon, Mars ….. and beyond with the most renowed Partners:

The European Space Agency (ESA) was looking for the best business innovation idea to advance the goals of the ESA Space Exploration Strategy. ESA was looking for an innovative and disruptive case, so far unknown to ESA, with a tangible business performance in matching one or more of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.


The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg with its “Luxembourg Prize” aimed to discover innovative ideas and business cases complementing the Grand Duchy‘s growing portfolio of activities in space resources utilization.


Astrosat & Huntsville/Madison County Chamber were seeking proposals to use the Sierra Nevada Dream Chaser in a commercial, for-profit venture. Competitors should consider how existing infrastructure and expertise in Huntsville could be combined and Astrosat’s “Space as a Service” approach used to enable and enhance proposed missions with relevance for joint European-US space exploration activities.


Airbus and Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany were seeking for sustainability in space which is the key to survival in space and to realizing new business ideas. Spacefarers need to act responsibly to preserve the space environment for the future. As on Earth today, chemical and biological processes are the key to closing the cycles of materials.