Huntsville Chamber launches competition to advance Dream Chaser applications

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The Huntsville/Madison County Chamber launched an international competition with the European Space Agency (ESA) this week at the Paris Air Show.

The competition is part of ESA’s Space Exploration Masters program, which seeks business innovation and technology transfer ideas that use space infrastructure. The Huntsville chamber has partnered with Astrosat, a Scottish aerospace company, to identify commercial applications for Sierra Nevada’s Dream Chaser beyond crew and cargo transportation.

Sierra Nevada’s Dream Chaser is a commercial spacecraft that is able to land on conventional runways. (Contributed)

The Dream Chaser is able to land on conventional runways, and the Huntsville International Airport is pursuing landing permits for the vehicle to build a market for Huntsville’s space payload operations assets and expertise.

Landing the Dream Chaser is part of the chamber’s strategy to capture some of the $120 billion commercial space market. Huntsville officials announced their bid to secure Dream Chaser landings at the Paris Air Show in 2015.

The Huntsville/Astrosat prize includes business mentoring, a trip to Huntsville to meet with local aerospace companies, a tour of the US Space and Rocket Center, and a year’s worth of incubation and office space from BizTech.

The winner will also benefit from ongoing networking opportunities through the Chamber and Astrosat in the aerospace community. The prize is valued at 35,000 Euros (approximately $39,000).

The Huntsville Chamber entered a space competition to identify novel applications for the Dream Chaser space vehicle. The announcement was made the Paris Air Show. (Contributed)

The competition is aimed at graduate and doctoral students, entrepreneurs, startups and small companies that would benefit from the mentoring and networking prize.

There are five competitions in all, including other sponsors such as Airbus, Luxembourg and Merk. The winners of the individual competitions will be eligible for a grand prize sponsored by ESA to be announced in November.

The winner of the Huntsville/Astrosat prize will be announced in October at the Space Tech Expo in Bremen, Germany. The Chamber is leading a group to Bremen including the US Space & Rocket Center, University of Alabama in Huntsville, Teledyne Brown and the North Alabama International Trade Association.

This story originally appeared on the Alabama Department of Commerce’s Made in Alabama website.

Republished with permission of Alabama NewsCenter.

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