KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla., April 23, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) and The Boeing Company (Boeing) today announced a collaboration that will provide support to entrepreneurial researchers through the MassChallenge Startup Accelerator. CASIS is the nonprofit organization responsible for managing and promoting research onboard the International Space Station U.S. National Laboratory. Boeing is the International Space Station sustaining engineering contractor responsible for the successful integration of vehicle and payload hardware and software for the orbiting laboratory.
MassChallenge is the largest-ever startup accelerator, and the first to support high-impact, early-stage entrepreneurs without taking any equity. Its four-month program offers world-class mentorship, free office space, $1 million in cash awards, and up to $10 million through in-kind support. MassChallenge alumni have collectively raised over $360 million in outside funding, generated nearly $100 million in revenue, and created over 3,000 jobs since 2010.
Last year, CASIS awarded funding to multiple companies for flight projects destined for the International Space Station. "Through our initial partnership with the MassChallenge Startup Accelerator, CASIS was able to bring funding to a variety of projects capable of enhancing the research portfolio of the ISS National Lab," said CASIS President and Executive Director, Gregory H. Johnson. "This year, we are ecstatic that Boeing, a leader in the development and sustainability of the ISS, has joined us in our effort to identify even more flight-ready concepts to the station. Through collaborations like this, additional researchers will have the opportunity to access this unparalleled research and technology laboratory for Earth benefit."
The space station provides a unique, one-of-a-kind microgravity environment for researchers to conduct investigations, for educators to inspire, and a stepping stone to future human exploration of the solar system. Boeing's ISS Program Manager, John Shannon, emphasizes that "this collaboration will amplify the effort of getting flight projects in the pipeline for ISS National Lab. We look forward to many more years of great science, and more importantly, great discoveries as a result of the ISS."
As was the case last year, this year's winning flight projects selected for awards through the MassChallenge Startup Accelerator must incorporate science or technology demonstrations capable of improving utilization on the ISS National Lab. The technical and flight project support provided by Boeing will combine with that from CASIS to award a total of $600,000 to selected companies for National Laboratory flight projects for the space station.
The MassChallenge Startup Accelerator closed its four-month program on April 2. However, any proposal from an early-stage startup with a flight-ready concept that is U.S. based is eligible for ISS National Lab sponsorship and funding through this collaboration. For additional information on the contest, please visit www.masschallenge.org
About CASIS: The Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) was selected by NASA in July 2011 to maximize use of the International Space Station (ISS) U.S. National Laboratory through 2020. CASIS is dedicated to supporting and accelerating innovations and new discoveries that will enhance the health and wellbeing of people and our planet. For more information, visit www.iss-casis.org.
About the ISS National Laboratory: In 2005, Congress designated the U.S. portion of the International Space Station as the nation's newest national laboratory to maximize its use for improving life on Earth, promoting collaboration among diverse users, and advancing STEM education. This unique laboratory environment is available for use by other U.S. government agencies and by academic and private institutions, providing access to the permanent microgravity setting, vantage point in low Earth orbit, and varied environments of space.
SOURCE Center for the Advancement of Science in Space