ESA Prize jointly with Space Applications Services

by European Space Agency (ESA)


The European Space Agency (ESA) was looking for the best business innovation idea to advance the goals of the ESA Space Exploration Strategy. ESA wanted an innovative and disruptive case with a tangible business performance in matching one or more of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The proposed ideas and solutions had been related to areas such as health & exomedicine, biomedicine & biotechnology, nutrition and (space) farming, energy production and management, pharmaceutics & chemistry, and colloidal engineering in areas such as detergents, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, food and coatings. ESA was looking for compelling ideas that could benefit from the International Commercial Experiment Cubes Service (ICE Cubes) infrastructure, which address an identified problem with a clear business case.

What is ICE Cubes?

The ICE Cubes is a facility to be installed on board of the European module, Columbus, of the International Space Station. This research and technology platform with experimental cubes establishes a frequent and fast-track service in low Earth orbit. ICE Cubes allows to make the unique environment of microgravity more accessible to all. The launch of the first five experimental cubes will take place in December 2017. The service includes the launch, operations and possible return of the cubes. The current European Exploration Envelope Program (E3P) is funded by the following ESA Member States: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom. Applicants from these Member States are eligible.

Winner 2017

2017 Prize Description

ESA jointly with Space Applications Services, the commercial partner marketing ICE Cubes services, offered the following prize:

  • Flight and operations of the Experiment Cube [1U-size] on the International Space Station with 4-month service
  • Guidelines and mentorship for the development of the payload accommodated into the Cube [1U-size]
  • Certificate of recognition: ESA Business Innovation Idea Master Award
  • Dedicated press release on the ESA Space Exploration Benefits Website