On March 17, I had the distinct opportunity to introduce a space panel outlining opportunities in microgravity post shuttle at Engadget Expand in San Francisco. Obviously through my affiliation with the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (the ISS National Lab), and our congressionally mandated mission to manage, promote and broker research on the International Space Station (ISS) U.S. National Laboratory, I was highly biased in outlining the potential opportunities that exist onboard humankind’s greatest technological achievement. With the ISS now complete and fully operational, it is time for the American tax payer to see a return on their investment, and that is where the ISS National Lab comes into the discussion along with our partner in utilizing the station for microgravity research, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). The U.S. National Lab provides access to those who wish to create groundbreaking discoveries that will benefit Earth. the ISS National Lab speaks with any U.S. organization interested in utilizing this research platform, not just Fortune 500 companies. Researchers working from their basement or startup companies with terrific ideas that can benefit humanity are also encouraged to submit proposals for experimentation. As a nonprofit, the ISS National Lab is not biased with regard to who accesses the ISS National Lab, but rather we strive to send as much quality research to the station as possible, regardless of the size of your company.
During part of my speech, I spoke directly to something we hope brings music to any small startup or entrepreneur’s ears: There is a competition currently in place where the ISS National Lab and MassChallenge are partnering to fund and send a company’s research to the International Space Station U.S. National Laboratory. Funded opportunities to build your brand beyond our horizons don’t come along very often, so the ISS National Lab and MassChallenge fully expect research proposals to fly in, allowing researchers to take their research to the next level, providing an edge on their competition.
Each year, MassChallenge orchestrates the world’s largest entrepreneurial accelerator, awarding one million dollars to startup companies for costs associated with their business or research. Additionally, MassChallenge will provide mentorship, office space, and many other resources to 125 proposals to assist in bringing innovative ideas to reality – all without taking any equity or placing any restrictions on the startups.
The MassChallenge Startup Accelerator is currently receiving proposals until April 3rd. To learn more about MassChallenge, the accelerator and the history associated with the organization and previous winners, click here: www.masschallenge.org/apply
So how is the ISS National Lab involved with the MassChallenge accelerator, and why? MassChallenge each year receives proposals from startups that are of a technical variety. These entities are looking for funds to begin operations on research that can create innovative products that benefit humanity and turn a profit. the ISS National Lab recognized an opportunity to bring outside-of-the-box, quality research to the ISS and the fit seemed perfect. MassChallenge has many high-tech applicants and researchers seeking funding. the ISS National Lab is looking for research opportunities to utilize the National Lab and in some instances has the ability to fund such exploration. Why not create a partnership where a winning technical researcher from MassChallenge’s Startup Accelerator can send their research to the ISS for innovative, groundbreaking discoveries not capable on Earth?
However, while sending research to the ISS is much cheaper than you think, it isn’t free, as proposers must cover their own the ground costs and any hardware not already on the ISS. So the ISS National Lab will sweeten the pot by supplying this winning researcher up to $100,000 on top of funds received by MassChallenge to make flight and research on Station that much more easy.
This partnership does great things for everyone involved. For MassChallenge, it allows their scope to fund startup companies all the way into space. For the ISS National Lab, it allows a new set of researchers who never thought research on the ISS was possible to now understand the opportunities that exist on Station and the associated benefits. Most importantly, the proposers now have the opportunity to look beyond what was previously thought possible for their business vision and look to the stars for further inspiration.
The MassChallenge application fee is $199, however, the ISS National Lab is partnering with Engadget to provide proposers a discount on their application fee. For interested applicants, we encourage you to send a very brief description of your research idea to MassChallege by April 1st and ten applicants will receive a $100 off promocode!
So the only question left to ponder for all those entrepreneurs: what can space do for you? Apply to the MassChallenge Startup Accelerator and let’s find out, together.