New Space and Tech

NASA Launches Entrepreneurs Challenge to Advance the Agency’s Science Goals for Humanity

By Keith Cowing
Press Release
NASA Entrepreneur Challenges
April 11, 2023
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NASA Launches Entrepreneurs Challenge to Advance the Agency’s Science Goals for Humanity
NASA Entrepreneur Challenges

Today, NASA’s Science Mission Directorate launched the 2023 NASA Entrepreneurs Challenge. This year’s Challenge recognizes and supports entrepreneurs working on technology that advances the agency’s science goals, particularly in lunar exploration and climate science.

Reaching for new heights and revealing the unknown for the benefit of humanity doesn’t just require groundbreaking technologies; it requires visionary people. There are countless tenacious and innovative entrepreneurs working across the country on cutting-edge research and game-changing ideas of importance to NASA. The NASA Entrepreneur Challenge recognizes winning entrepreneurs with up to $1,000,000 in total prizes, provides winners with exposure to external funders and investors, and offers insight into how entrepreneurs can work with NASA in the future. NASA is particularly interested in reaching entrepreneurs from historically excluded communities, especially women, members of underrepresented minority groups, and persons with disabilities.

A follow-up to the previous NASA Entrepreneur Challenges in 2020 and 2021, this year’s Challenge focuses on two critical areas of need: lunar payloads and climate science. Prizes will be awarded to participants who successfully contribute ideas that further development and commercialization of technologies and data usage in these two broadly-defined areas.

In Round 1 of the Challenge, participants will submit a pitch deck alongside a technical white paper outlining the technology concept. Up to 20 organizations will receive $16,000 and advance to Round 2, where they will submit more detailed information and present at an in-person pitch event hosted at the Defense TechConnect Innovation Summit and Expo in Washington. Up to eight organizations will be awarded an additional grand prize of $85,000.

The pitch event will allow finalists to network with top agency, military, and industry leaders with exposure to venture capitalists and other impact funds. Winners from prior years have secured millions of dollars in investor funds, gained acceptance into accelerator programs, and won Small Business Innovation Research contracts following their participation in the challenge.

The Challenge: NASA’s Science Mission Directorate invites startups and entrepreneurs to participate in the NASA Entrepreneur Challenge to further the development and commercialization of technologies and data usage through an entrepreneurial lens to advance the Agency’s science goals for humankind.

The Prize: NASA’s Science Mission Directorate will award up to $1,000,000 in prizes to participants who can successfully contribute ideas that advance innovations related to lunar payloads or climate science. In addition, finalists will participate in an in-person pitch event where they will have the opportunity to present to and network with venture capitalists, impact investors, NASA scientists, and industry leaders.

Eligibility to Submit and Win Award: The prize is open to US persons aged 18 or older participating as individuals or as a team. Please see the challenge rules for complete eligibility requirements.

To learn more about the opportunity, visit

SpaceRef co-founder, Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA, Away Teams, Journalist, Space & Astrobiology, Lapsed climber.