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New Contest Seeks the Next Big Thing in Private Space Exploration

Artist's illustration of XCOR Aerospace's Lynx spacecraft launching with science payload.
XCOR Aerospace's Lynx spacecraft is shown launching into space with a science payload on its dorsal side in this artist's illustration. (Image credit: XCOR Aerospace)

A new space business contest launching this summer is looking for ideas that are out of this world.  Literally.

Organizers of the NewSpace Business Plan Competition (NewSpace BPC) hope the contest will help entrepreneurial space companies turn problem-solving and game-changing technologies into functioning businesses in support of the commercial space industry.

The business plan shootout will be hosted by the Space Frontier Foundation (SFF) during its NewSpace 2011 Conference at the NASA Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley, Calif., on July 28-30. The theme of the conference is "The Next Big Thing."

Finalists in the competition will present their plans to a panel of judges featuring venture capitalists, angel investors and business development leaders on July 29th. They will receive professional feedback and exposure to the public, press and investor community, and the winner will be awarded a $5,000 prize funded by the Heinlein Prize Trust, which was established by the trust of acclaimed science fiction author Robert Heinlein.

"Many successful businesses have begun life as entries in business plan competitions," said Art Dula, the trustee and literary executor of the author's estate. "With this in mind the Heinlein Prize Trust supports both the Space Frontier Foundation business plan competition and one conducted by the University of Arkansas."

Previous winners of the NewSpace BPC include Flagsuit LLC, which manufactures innovative spacesuit gloves.

Entries in the competition will be accepted up to June 15th. Submission guidelines and forms are available at

This article was provided by BusinessNewsDaily, a sister site of Follow for the latest in space science and exploration news on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook.

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