The competition is part of ESA’s Space Exploration Masters program, which seeks business innovation and technology transfer ideas that utilize space infrastructure. The Huntsville chamber has partnered with Astrosat, a Scottish aerospace company, to identify commercial applications for Sierra Nevada’s Dream Chaser beyond crew and cargo transportation.
The Dream Chaser is able to land on conventional runways, and the Huntsville International Airport is pursuing landing permits for the vehicle to build a market for Huntsville’s space payload operations assets and expertise.
Landing the Dream Chaser is part of the chamber’s strategy to capture some of the $120 billion commercial space market. Huntsville officials announced their bid to secure Dream Chaser landings at the Paris Air Show in 2015.
The Huntsville/Astrosat prize includes business mentoring, a trip to Huntsville to meet with local aerospace companies, a tour of the US Space and Rocket Center, and a year’s worth of incubation and office space from BizTech.
The winner will also benefit from ongoing networking opportunities through the Chamber and Astrosat in the aerospace community. The prize is valued at 35,000 Euros (approximately $39,000).
The competition is aimed at graduate and doctoral students, entrepreneurs, startups and small companies that would benefit from the mentoring and networking prize.
There are five competitions in all including other sponsors such at Airbus, Luxembourg, and Merk. The winners of the individual competitions will be eligible for a grand prize sponsored by ESA to be announced in November.
The winner of the Huntsville/Astrosat prize will be announced in October at the Space Tech Expo in Bremen, Germany. The chamber is leading a group to Bremen including the US Space & Rocket Center, UAH, Teledyne Brown, and the North Alabama International Trade Association.