Heinlein Trust and SpaceX Announce Competition to Promote Research Innovation in Zero Gravity

Heinlein Trust and SpaceX Announce Competition to Promote Research Innovation in Zero Gravity

January 20, 2009 Partner News, Press Releases

Removing Gravity Offers New Understanding of Biological and Physical Processes

Houston, Texas – The Space Frontier Foundation is pleased to promote the recently announced competition by the Heinlein Prize Trust and Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) for innovative research in microgravity. Robert Heinlein was one of the world’s leading visionaries and inspired the work of the Space Frontier Foundation. We also believe that a breakthrough in microgravity research is both achievable by private industry, and will do much to help us open the Space Frontier. We urge our friends and allies to promote the Microgravity Research Competition, and to compete for the prize.

The Heinlein Prize Trust and SpaceX, two esteemed members of the NewSpace community, have joined forces. The Heinlein Prize Trust is offering a $25,000 cash prize to finance development of an innovative microgravity experiment, and SpaceX is offering free transportation to low Earth orbit, and back to Earth, for the winning experiment aboard the Dragon spacecraft.

“Decades of demonstrations have shown that the microgravity of space provides a unique window on biological and physical processes,” said Art Dula, Trustee of the Heinlein Prize Trust. “Because of substantial recent funding by NASA and the private sector, access to microgravity will soon be more commonplace. This opens an incredibly exciting opportunity for the research community,” Dula said.

The Microgravity Research Competition is open to U.S. universities and non-profit organizations with industry partners. The winning team will also get to witness the launch of their experiment from Cape Canaveral, Florida.

“SpaceX is excited to offer our Dragon spacecraft as a platform for in-space experimentation services to mainstream researchers,” said Elon Musk, SpaceX CEO and CTO. “We plan to fly ‘DragonLab’ missions starting in 2010 for this express purpose,” Musk said.

The announcement, available at www.labflight.com, provides an overview of microgravity’s practical applications and details on the competition. Proposals are due on March 20, 2009.

The application and judging process will be supported by the Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship. The winner will be announced on April 18, 2009 at the Awards Banquet for the 2009 Rice Business Plan Competition hosted by the Rice Alliance.

“We are very pleased to participate in this important competition,” said Brad Burke, managing director, Rice Alliance, “because of the important role of commercializing promising technology research and innovations.”

For more information about the Microgravity Research Competition:

  • Visit www.labflight.com
  • Visit www.heinleinprize.com, or
  • Contact Art Dula, art@dula.com, 713-861-1960

For more information about:

  • the Heinlein Prize Trust, see www.heinleinprize.com
  • SpaceX, visit www.spacex.com