Global Space Entrepreneurship Competition Announces Winners.
11 December 2020
Sydney, Australia - Saber Astronautics announces the winners of our “Quest for Blue” Space start up competition, the first of an annual event which ended 31st of October. The competition is designed to support the early stage entrepreneurship in the space sector.
The space industry today is a $420Bn market set to triple in the next 10-years. This rapid growth is largely due to the success of companies producing smaller, more agile satellites and improvement in space-based sensing. In the past, the commercial ‘space race’ has been fueled by established businesses, however many new entrants are successfully raising investment.
“We saw many of these new entrepreneurs coming out of university, pitching their business plans at space research conferences” explains Saber Astronautics’ CEO Dr Jason Held. “Pretty soon, investors started showing up, and we quickly realized a gap in translating these concepts into a form the investors can understand.”
Quest For Blue is the first in a series of “Quest” competitions to allow entrants a first attempt at designing a space mission and describing value as a business. A business plan for space is challenging because the many aspects and intricacies of space can have a cumulative effect on a company’s potential. Applicants were given access to space operations software (Saber’s mission control software called ‘The Predictive Ground station Interface’ a.k.a., ‘P.I.G.I.’) and direct mentoring. The result for entrants is the equivalent of a ‘back of a napkin sketch’, to quickly evaluate potential.
Quest For Blue attracted over 250 entrants from more than 20 universities worldwide. Entrants hailed from the USA, Australia, UK, India, and France. The best concepts were ranked on their financial potential, viability, creativity, and ability to communicate their ideas.
First place ($2,000 prize) - Gary Stewart of University of Strathclyde (Glasgow, Scotland).
BlythWeb Constellations mission is a small satellite constellation to track the efficiency of the energy grid worldwide, an innovation of two rapidly expanding industries.
Second place ($1,500 prize) - Yan Chen of Melbourne Space Program (Melbourne, Australia).
Orbitel – Your Ground Station in the Sky is a space based service for satellites providing 24/7 spacecraft control and real-time access to satellite health and tracking anywhere in Low Earth Orbit.
Third place ($1,000 prize) - StrathAIS student team at University of Strathclyde (Glasgow, Scotland).
Plastic Pollution Identification mission of two satellites to track plastic pollution and target environmental support needs worldwide.
Notable Work 1 ($250 prize) - Jackie Deng of University of New South Wales (Sydney, Australia)
Open Source Satellite mission to allow the general public to access and learn to develop satellites using orbital platforms.
Notable Work 2 ($250 prize) - Lisa Scott and Rael Taylor-Sezgin of University of Strathclyde (Glasgow, Scotland)
Chemical Spill and Oil Spill Detection is an oceanic environmental satellite constellation tracking the impacts of oil pollution and climate change.
This first Quest for Blue focused on Earth based consumer applications. Saber Astronautics plans the next ‘Quest’ competition for July 2021 and will expand to farther destinations.
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About Saber Astronautics
Saber Astronautics’ mission is the democratization of space, reducing barriers to space flight, and making space as easy as driving a car. Incorporated in 2008, Saber Astronautics provides space operations, mission design services, and related software. Saber has R&D laboratories and mission control centres in the USA and Australia, being a trusted supplier to both traditional space and government customers worldwide.