The Space Frontier Foundation (SFF) and the Students for the Exploration & Development of Space (SEDS) successfully hosted the 2nd annual Student NewSpace Business Plan Competition at SpaceVision on November 10th at the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center, Buffalo, NY. SpaceVision is an annual conference organized by SEDS-USA, attracting large numbers of students, professionals and enthusiasts from around the country.
Five teams from universities across the country presented their business cases at the competition to vie for the grand prize. The teams came from Iowa State University, University of Alabama in Huntsville, University at Buffalo, University of Central Florida, and University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Collectively, the ideas from these teams represented a wide range of areas within the space sector.
The teams were judged by a panel of five experts who have had several years of experience in space entrepreneurship and industry. They provided a rigorous evaluation of the competing proposals and challenged the participants to critically think about their business cases. This not only allowed students to gain real-world exposure in matters of entrepreneurship but encouraged them to pursue it further and realize the benefits of being at the forefront of the NewSpace movement by starting a space-scalable business.
At the end of a tough contest, the judges decided to award the grand prize of $1000 to Interplanetary Reactions headed by Joe Moellers of Iowa State University and the second place to iSPI (Satellites for Public Intelligence) led by Joseph Pace of University at Buffalo. Team summaries are provided below. The second place prize was free registration for team participants to the NewSpace conference in July 2013.
SEDS and SFF hope to continue this great competition into its third year with the goal of inspiring innovation and the generation of new business ideas. Recognized for its unique ability to provide space enthusiasts with real-world entrepreneurship experience, the Student Newspace Business Plan Competition was ranked 9th out of 40 prestigious business plan competitions that “every entrepreneur should know about” by OnlineMBA.com, a website dedicated to providing resources to students who wish to pursue MBA degrees online.
Interplanetary Reactions is a pre-start-up company that will research high-efficiency chemical cycles for applications in energy generation and water purification. We hope to reduce the risk of entry in to the space industry by focusing on the development of technologies which have both Earth-based and space-based applications. Once our company starts generating revenue we will begin translating our work into space-based, microgravity capable systems for processing raw or waste materials into intermediate (carbon monoxide/carbon dioxide, and hydrocarbons) and final products (hydrogen, oxygen, and potable water) for the production of fuel cell reagents and life support consumables. Our mission is to accelerate the opening of the space frontier through developing solutions for the key problems which hinder spaceflight beyond low Earth orbit.
This company strives to make space accessible to the general public and inspire interest in the universe and space technologies for generations to come. We will deploy multiple semi-open-source small satellites with imaging capabilities in low-earth orbit for general public use. Each satellite will have a gimbaled camera and low-power telescope which can be manipulated remotely from the ground station. We will sell camera and telescope usage to the general public. Customers will be able to buy time slots of camera and telescope manipulation and will be able to directly alter the pointing directions of the camera and telescope. Our customers will be able to come to our headquarters to have full access to the satellite controls, or will be able to control the satellites from user-friendly software from their personal computers or smartphones. The user-friendly software will integrate GPS information with satellite position to enable customers to point the satellite’s camera and sensors to a desired location – essentially the customers will see the satellite’s location on live 3-D map and be able to select any viewing location within the satellite’s immediate range of view. Our satellites will be used by anyone in the general public – including schools, students, and space enthusiasts, increasing the accessibility of space and promoting space exploration.