Our Challenges

Participants of the INNOspace Masters can select one out of four challenges, which fit best on the focus of their idea. The competition is awarding innovative concepts and solutions that solve current challenges in space or non-space industries by transferring knowledge or technology. In addition to worldwide network contacts, the winners will receive technological and economical support as well as assistance in implementing the project.

Each of our partners presents its own challenge with individual areas of focus covering the entire value chain along three phases of maturity:

Pre-competition phase

Research, development, demonstration: DLR Challenge
Target group: Companies (especially SMEs), universities, and non-university research institutions

Initial phase

Proof of market, near-to-market prototypes: ESA BIC Challenge
Target group: SMEs, start-ups, research teams, students

Innovation and integration phase

Technologies, systems, services & solutions: Airbus and OHB Challenge Target group: Science and industry, start-ups and individuals

DLR Challenge 2018/2019

DLR Logo

Acting on behalf of the Federal Government, the DLR’s Space Administration designs and implements Germany’s Space Programme, which integrates all German space activities on the national and European level.
The DLR Space Administration has started the initiative INNOspace® to promote innovations, technology transfer and new markets.

Who can apply?

  • SME
  • Publicly Financed University
  • Institutions

Prize 2018/2019

  • Verifiable applications involving individual or joint proposals are eligible for funding from Germany’s national space and innovation programme!
  • Up to 400,000 EUR in possible funding for each project.
  • This funding is subject to the general funding guidelines of the German federal government

This challenge is looking for innovative ideas and concepts for technologies, processes, and applications with transfer potential into space and vice versa in the following categories:

  • Materials, Components & Production
  • Sensor Technology & Miniaturisation
  • Communication & Networks
  • Propulsion Technology, E-Mobility & Energy Storage
  • Simulation & Testing

ESA BIC Challenge 2018/2019

Who can apply?

  • Start-Ups

The German ESA Business Incubation Centres (BICs) offer the only start-up programme in Germany that promotes company foundations based on technology transfers from and into the space sector from the initial phase up to the marketable product. In close collaboration with renowned partners the programme supports young companies for a period of up to two years.
The start-ups receive financial and technical support as an incentive.

The ESA BIC Start-up Challenge of the INNOspace Masters is looking for new technology transfer ideas and business models from earth into space and vice versa. Potential examples are:

  • Mobility applications and solutions
  • Innovative optimisation solutions
  • Increased efficiency and customer orientation solutions
  • Components or subsystems
  • Or any other ideas in the space sector

Start-ups are invited to submit their innovative products or services for the new space economy and obtain support from Germany’s ESA Business Incubation Centres in entering this future industry.

Prize 2018/2019

  • The winning proposal will be awarded with a support package tailored to the requirements of its realisation:
  • Assistance in transforming the business concept into a viable business plan
  • Support of the application in one of the German ESA BIC facilities. If accepted, you will benefit from 50,000 EUR in funding
  • Access to the Europe-wide network of experts, which can assist in both, technological and business-related aspects

Airbus Challenge 2018/2019

With new commercial approaches Airbus is positioning itself as a European leader at the pinnacle of technology and industrial development.

Airbus welcomes the opportunity to find external innovators with this award, in order to shape the future of commercial space together – along the complete aerospace value chain.

Who can apply?

  • Individuals
  • Start-ups
  • SME
  • Institutions

Prize 2018/2019

  • The winning idea receives an Airbus support package
    customised from the following components:
  • Access to Airbus experts
  • Possibility to pitch to Airbus Ventures
  • Possibility to pitch for the Airbus BizLab accelerator
  • Possibility to pitch for a crowd investing campaign
  • Development of a mission proposal (with the aim of a joint application for public funding)

Airbus is looking for enablers and solutions (products & processes, services & business models) related to aerospace (satellites, ISS, incl. airborne and terrestrial platforms) which are suitable to have a lasting influence on our daily lives. We are looking for solutions enabling topics such as:

  • Mobility
  • 5G connectivity and IoT/M2M
  • Microgravity Sciences
  • Material Research
  • New technologies and services


OHB Challenge 2018/2019

OHB SE is a European aerospace and technology group and one of the major independent forces within the European aerospace industry. Approx. 2,500 experts and executives are working on central European aerospace programmes.

With nearly 40 years of experience in the development and implementation of innovative aerospace systems and projects, and a range of specific aerospace and telematic products, the OHB Group has earned itself an outstanding position and is a renowned entity in international competition.

Who can apply?

  • Individuals
  • Start-Ups
  • SME
  • Institutions

Prize 2018/2019

  • EUR 6,900 cash prize & 18 hours engineering support
  • Support from relevant experts from the OHB Group
  • Cooperation opportunities at European level through the companies in the OHB Group
  • Possibility of a joint technology development programme
  • Pitch opportunity at OHB Venture Capital
  • Invitation to meet the OHB Group and the Space Community at the Paris Air Show 2019 in Le Bourget

OHB is looking for ideas for the future space sector: from novel concepts to competitive solutions. Technologies and processes from space and non-space sectors could be exploited for greater benefits in the future. The OHB challenge is intended to identify innovative, promising ideas and concepts to support the implementation and use of space solutions.
Topics can include: robotics, smart materials, new technologies, asteroid mining, commercial space services, transport applications (railway, aviation…), the Low Earth Orbit commercialisation… and any other inspiring idea in the space sector! We aim at fostering efficiency with increased performance in all future space projects.
Unlock your innovation potential!

INNOspace Masters

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