Our Challenges

The seventh round of the INNOspace Masters has been running from 18 October 2021 to 18 February 2022. Participants of the INNOspace Masters had the choice to select one out of five challenges, which would fit best on the focus of their idea. The competition is annually 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 receive technological and economical support as well as assistance in implementing the project.

This year, the INNOspace Masters is governed by the overarching theme of Sustainable and Efficient Innovations for Space and Earth. Each challenge addresses a variety of topics and focuses on a different phase of technological maturity – from applied research to market-ready solutions.

Pre-Competition Phase

Research, Development, Demonstrators

Target Group:

Companies (especially SMEs), Universities, Non-University Research Institutions

Initial Phase

Proof of Market, Near-to-Market Prototypes

Target Group:

Start-ups, Research Teams, Students

Innovation and Integration Phase

Technologies, Systems, Services & Solutions

Target Group:

Science & Industry, Start-ups, SMEs, Individuals

DLR Challenge 2021/2022

Acting on behalf of the Federal Government, the German Space Agency at DLR designs and implements Germany’s Space Programme, which integrates all German space activities on the national and European level.

The German Space Agency at DLR has started the initiative INNOspace® to promote innovations, technology transfer and new markets.

The German Space Agency at DLR is looking for innovative ideas and concepts leading to improved technologies, processes, and applications by transferring expertise between space and other sectors. This year’s DLR Challenge focuses on:

  • Digital Sustainability and Security in Space (e.g. cyber-security, quantum communication, space weather resistance, protection from GNSS spoofing/jamming, …)
  • Sustainable, safe and efficient Energy Supply and Mobility focused on the Transfer of Hydrogen Technologies (e.g. e-fuels, hydrogen processing & storage, shared infrastructure, …)

The ideas can reach from basic applied research up to technology demonstrators.


Who can apply?

ESA BIC Challenge 2021/2022

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:

  • 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.


Who can apply?

Airbus Challenge 2021/2022

Airbus is a European leader and pioneer in the space sector with a strong focus on technology and industrial development using new commercial approaches.

Airbus welcomes the opportunity to find in the framework of this Challenge external innovators to shape the future of commercial space together – along the entire value chain.

In the challenge, Airbus is looking for exceptional hardware, industrial processes, applications, or business models with relevance for space that promise to have a lasting influence on our daily lives. The focus is on solutions enabling sustainable and efficient innovations for space and earth on topics such as, but not limited to:

  • Earth observation and environmental monitoring
  • Mobility and transportation
  • 5G connectivity and IoT/M2M
  • Space exploration and the sustainable use of space
  • Agriculture, life sciences and health
  • Microgravity and materials research
  • New and sustainable technologies and services


Who can apply?

OHB Challenge 2021/2022

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.

Ideas for sustainable space!

The development and use of space technologies will help mankind to master the challenges of tomorrow. OHB is looking for new ideas to support this – from novel concepts to competitive solutions:

  • Ideas and concepts for commercialisation of space: application for Remote sensing satellites (e.g. Multi-/Hyperspectral, Radar, Optical, Signal intelligence); concepts for future commercial business
  • Ideas and concepts for improved sustainability: improvement of satellites in the manufacturing process; new designs to eliminate space debris; concepts for sustainable use of orbits
  • Any other ideas supporting the vision of space as a positive driver for improvement in our society.


Who can apply?

Mercedes-Benz car2space Challenge 2021/2022

Join the Mercedes-Benz car2space Challenge at INNOspace Masters.
Create your own car2space innovation:

  • Explore Earth observation data in HD maps for autonomous vehicles or invent solutions for supply chain monitoring
  • Design disruptive ad hoc networks for hybrid telecommunication devices (terrestrial x orbital)
  • Create new space business services for enhanced navigation of autonomous vehicles
  • Innovate with cutting edge technologies such as Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, Mixed Reality (VR/AR/MR), AI/ML, Sensors, Simulations & Digital Twins
  • Or develop innovations based on life-enabling technologies for self-sustainable systems (energy, water, oxygen, materials)


Who can apply?

Evaluation Criteria

Learn which criteria the submission needs to fulfill in order to have the best chances of winning the dedicated challenge.

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