Astrosat & Huntsville Prize

by Astrosat & Huntsville/Madison County Chamber


Astrosat and the Huntsville/Madison County Chamber in a European-US cooperation are looking for commercially viable business applications for missions in Low Earth Orbit which can use the Sierra Nevada Dream Chaser for purposes that look beyond Earth observation, or cargo and crew delivery. Application ideas should focus on the future of space exploration, aiming for a greater understanding of our Universe and/or supporting developments regarding destinations like the Moon, Mars, or other distant targets in space, ideally to the benefit of Earth. Capabilities of the Dream Chaser can be found here.

Together, Astrosat and the 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. The target groups for this competition have been international start-ups, SMEs, entrepreneurs, researchers, engineers, designers, universities and student teams.

Winner 2017

Infrastructure and Expertise

Astrosat has developed a “Space as a Service” approach that is disruptive as it is innovative. Essentially it removes the perception that “space” is the expensive roadblock and instead puts space as the key enabler for the delivery of a virtually unlimited range of services:

  • Satellite derived services making use of data from multiple services
  • Increasing effectiveness of terrestrial systems by merging with the right satellite data
  • Supporting businesses that want to place their own solutions, applications and/or experiments with relevance for space exploration into orbit through the build of a dedicated payload – the advances in small-satellite technology that could be adapted makes this achievable and affordable
  • Working towards cutting the costs of launch through the development of the Dream Chaser spacecraft and its potential

As the space industry becomes more commercial and new opportunities arise, the Huntsville/Madison County Chamber in Alabama USA seeks to foster the development of new initiatives that utilize space assets while building a global awareness of the expertise resident in Huntsville. One initiative is to land Sierra Nevada’s Dream Chaser at the commercial airport to take advantage of Huntsville’s decades of ISS payload integration, operations and processing at the NASA Payload Operations Center. The research and development related to genomics at HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology and the 280+ aerospace technology and services companies that have a presence in Huntsville.


2017 Prize Description

The highest value of this prize was the partnership and access provided by the sponsors, Astrosat and the Huntsville Chamber. The winner becomes part of this international team to advance the business proposition and supports the successful implementation of the winning concept. The winner is able to take advantage of many opportunities currently under development by Astrosat and the Chamber to promote the business concept and identifies partners and customers for its implementation:

  • Astrosat provided EUR 10,000 worth of business analysis to apply the “Space a as Service” model, including analysis of opportunity, costings, critical partnerships and strategy
  • The Huntsville Chamber provides travel, food and lodging valued at EUR 10,000 for a trip to Huntsville for facilitated meetings with aerospace and technology companies, plus VIP tours of the U.S. Space & Rocket Center, NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, Cummings Research Park and the Port of Huntsville.
  • As a bonus, if the winner elects to establish a presence in Huntsville, one year of office space and 75 hours of business incubation consulting services valued at EUR 15,000 is provided by BizTech.