Competition Organizers

The Microgravity Research Competition is organized and sponsored by the Heinlein Prize Trust, a non-profit foundation which promotes the commercial uses of space.  The Trust provides financial prizes to commercial space entrepreneurs, enhances public awareness of commercial space, and uses space to inspire students about opportunities of the next frontier.  For more information, see

Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) is an entrepreneurial provider of space transportation services to world markets.  SpaceX was the winner of a $278M Space Act Agreement with NASA to develop and demonstrate space transportation to LEO and a $1.6B contract to transport cargo to and from ISS.    SpaceX is developing the Falcon family of low-cost launch vehicles, the Dragon spacecraft to carry cargo to and from LEO and ISS, and the DragonLab free-flier.  For more information, visit

Assisting the Heinlein Prize Trust in organizing the competition is the Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship.  The Rice Alliance is a non-profit organization and part of Rice University in Houston, Texas.  The mission of the Rice Alliance is to support the commercialization of technology innovations and the launch of new technology-based startup companies.  (Rice Alliance and Rice University have no role in selecting judges, finalists, or winner of this competition.)  For more information about the Rice Alliance, see

Rice Allience Logo

The organizers wish to thank the Steering Committee consisting of the following individuals for its assistance in formulating this competition:

  • Anousheh Ansari, Prodea Systems
  • Mike Beavin, Office of Space Commercialization, US Department of Commerce
  • Peter Diamandis, X Prize Foundation
  • Mary Lynne Dittmar, Dittmar Associates
  • Daniel Kraft, Stanford University 
  • Mary Napier, Consultant
  • Cheryl Nickerson, Arizona State University
  • Neal Pellis, Space & Life Sciences, NASA Johnson Space Center
  • Tom Pickens, SPACEHAB
  • Dennis Stone, Commercial Crew & Cargo Program, NASA Johnson Space Center

The organizers also acknowledge the following for their inputs:

  • Craig Kundrot, NASA Johnson Space Center
  • Louis Stodieck, BioServe Space Technologies
  • Paul Todd, Techshot
  • Lee Moradi, Center for Biophysical Sciences and Engineering
  • David Urban, NASA Glenn Research Center

For further information on this competition, please contact Sean Thompson of the Heinlein Prize Trust at or 713-861-3600 or return to Labflight for updates.

Copyright (c) 2009 Labflight Inc.