Heinlein Trust, SpaceX debut competition to promote innovation in zero gravity

HOUSTON, 6 Feb. 2009. The Heinlein Prize Trust announces the Microgravity Research Competition to reward innovation in the use of microgravity to advance nanotech, biotech, combustion, metallurgy, and other fields. Sponsored by the Trust and Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX), the competition offers a $25,000 prize and transportation to and from Low Earth Orbit for the winning experiment aboard a SpaceX Dragon spacecraft.

HOUSTON, 6 Feb. 2009. The Heinlein Prize Trust announces the Microgravity Research Competition to reward innovation in the use of microgravity to advance nanotech, biotech, combustion, metallurgy, and other fields. Sponsored by the Trust and Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX), the competition offers a $25,000 prize and transportation to and from Low Earth Orbit for the winning experiment aboard a SpaceX Dragon spacecraft.

Says 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."

The winning experiment will be launched into Earth orbit aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft. NASA recently selected Falcon 9 / Dragon to transport cargo to the International Space Station, says a representative.

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, Fla.

In space, there is no gravity-induced convection, sedimentation, hydrodynamic shear force, hydrostatic pressure, or mass transfer, according to representatives.

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.

More in Home