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OrbAstro Taking Students and Start-ups to Space in New Competitions

By Doug Messier
Parabolic Arc
October 29, 2020
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OXFORDSHIRE, UK (OrbAstro PR) — OrbAstro has today revealed two new space competitions for students and start-ups to get spacecraft payloads to orbit, Orbital Student and Orbital Start-Up. The company has dedicated some capacity onboard their satellite launching in December 2021 on a SpaceX Falcon 9 to the competition.

Students and start-ups will mature designs for their novel spacecraft payloads, assessed by an independent panel of space industry experts. A short-list of teams will have their payloads put through environmental testing, to ensure they can survive the violence of rocket launch and the space environment. The best teams left standing, two student teams and one start-up, will have their payloads integrated to the OrbAstro satellite and launched. Once in orbit, teams will have the opportunity to carry out satellite and payload operations. 

With a modest entry fee, the competition is making space readily accessible to university students and start-ups looking to demonstrate new technologies and business models from orbit. Deadline for applications in these pilot competitions is 15th of December. 

Dr Ash Dove-Jay, CEO of OrbAstro, “We want to create something useful, something we wish we had access to as students – and in the early days at OrbAstro. We will hold these competitions annually.”

Pete Worden, former Director of NASA Ames and now Chairman of Breakthrough Initiatives, said, “The Orbital Student and Orbital Start-Up Competitions are an exciting opportunity for a new generation of space enthusiasts to begin their careers. These are the people who will expand our global economy into space, settle other worlds and, later in the century make humankind not just a solar-system wide civilization but take us to the stars to make us a galactic species.”

Professor Chris Welch, Director of the Master Programme at the International Space University, voiced, “Early experience of designing, building, and flying space hardware is a significant boost to a space career. The OrbAstro competitions offer an excellent opportunity for motivated students and young professionals to gain this.”

OrbAstro is a UK and New Zealand based space technology company backed by space agency and government contracts. The company is currently in stealth mode, but they have several satellites booked for launch in 2021 and 2022, and over the coming months will be revealing satellite platforms and in-orbit service capabilities. Watch this space.