Most folks are familiar with the International Space Station (ISS). However, what you may not know is that the national lab on board the ISS is available to anyone to conduct research, provided that research is deemed worthy enough to make the trip into orbit. The Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) is a non-profit tasked by NASA to find and promote those worthy proposals, and it's teamed up with the MassChallenge startup accelerator to find the next great entrepreneurial space research project -- and they want YOU, dear readers to hit them with your ideas. Want to know more? Join us after the break to find out what it takes to get your research in orbit.
Project proposals can be in the life sciences or materials science fields, related to remote earth observation, or any other field that benefits from the extreme temperature range and microgravity environment only available in space. Should your project fit the bill, you'll get to work with the MassChallenge start-up accelerator, which provides everything a would-be company needs: mentorship from business and relevant industry folks, office space, access to funding and awards grants.
MassChallenge will be doling out $1 million in grant money to a host of start-ups in $50,000 and $100,000 increments, and CASIS is putting up an additional $100,000 for the finest space-related project that makes it through the program. But that's not even the best part. CASIS also covers -- using taxpayer money, mind you -- both the cost of transporting your payload to and from the ISS and in-orbit operations costs like astronaut time to actually, you know, perform the research.
To recap: you submit a research project, it gets chosen, then CASIS gives you $100K to bring it to fruition and shoots it into space on a SpaceX rocket or one of CASIS's other launch partners. It costs $199 to apply to the MassChallenge Accelerator, but we'll be giving out $100 dollar discount codes for applicants later this week, so stay tuned for that and more info on the process. In the meantime, feel free to peruse the MassChallenge and CASIS websites and get those research ideas percolating.