Generation Orbit Wins First Prize in NewSpace Business Plan Competition

Generation Orbit’s planned launch system. (Credit: Generation Orbit)
Generation Orbit’s planned launch system. (Credit: Generation Orbit)

The votes are in up in Stanford, and Generation Orbit has won the $100,000 first prize in the Space Frontier Foundation’s NewSpace Business Plan Competition.

The Atlanta-based company is developing an air-launched rocket system to serve the micro- and nanosat market. Fund for the first prize was put up by the NASA Ames Emerging Commercial Space Office.

ELIGOS of Princeton, N.J., claimed the $25,000 second prize, which was sponsored by ATK. ELIGOS has developed a new type of electric space propulsion unit with the goal of powerful, efficient electric space propulsion for all space propulsion needs; focused on the lucrative satellite orbit raising and maneuvering market.

Raptor Space Services won the $5,000 third prize provided by the NASA Ames Emerging Commercial Space Office.  Raptor, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Skycorp Incorporated, has been formed to address the demand for cost effective orbital transfer of cubesats from the International Space Station (ISS) to more desirable orbits. The Raptor solar electric propulsion spacecraft can carry 50 cubesats for deployment to higher orbits and inclinations in early 2016. Two vehicles, for 100 cubesats, will initially be built.

A $5,000 market sector award for the best entry in the area of on-orbit servicing was given to a company called Prospect Dynamics, which wasn’t even a finalist in the competition. According to the company’s minimalist website, “Prospect Dynamics is a new breed of commercial aerospace supplier demanded by the radical shift unfolding in the industry.  We are developing the core technologies to enable space mining, space debris removal, and the myriad related applications.”