By Tim Ryan

NASA’s Science Mission Directorate has announced the launch of the 2023 NASA Entrepreneurs Challenge, inviting startups and entrepreneurs to participate and help advance the development of cutting-edge technologies in the fields of lunar payloads and climate science. Building on the success of previous Challenges held in 2020 and 2021, this year’s contest seeks to support innovative ideas while promoting diversity and inclusion by encouraging participation from historically underrepresented communities.

The 2023 NASA Entrepreneurs Challenge aims to advance the agency’s science goals, such as understanding the universe’s mysteries, supporting astronaut research on the Moon, and observing our dynamic planet Earth. To achieve these objectives, NASA recognizes the importance of cutting-edge technology and aims to harness the creativity and ingenuity of entrepreneurs from across the nation. The Challenge will reward winning participants with up to $1 million in total prizes, exposure to external funders and investors, and valuable insights into how entrepreneurs can work with NASA in the future.

The Challenge consists of two rounds. In Round 1, participants are required to submit a pitch deck along with a technical white paper outlining their technology concept. Up to 20 organizations will be awarded $16,000 each and advance to Round 2. During the second round, these organizations will provide more detailed information and present their concepts at an in-person pitch event hosted at the Defense TechConnect Innovation Summit and Expo in Washington. Up to eight organizations will be awarded an additional grand prize of $85,000 each.

The in-person pitch event is designed to provide finalists with valuable networking opportunities by connecting them with a top agency, military, and industry leaders. The event will also expose participants to venture capitalists and other impact funds. Past Challenge winners have secured millions of dollars in investor funds, gained acceptance into accelerator programs, and won Small Business Innovation Research contracts.

The prize is open to US individuals or teams, aged 18 or older. The NASA Tournament Lab, part of the Prizes, Challenges, and Crowdsourcing program in the Space Technology Mission Directorate, is managing the challenge. To learn more about the 2023 NASA Entrepreneurs Challenge and how to participate, visit

If you live in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia, REaKTOR is a great place to leverage NASA technology or prepare your solutions for possible NASA integrations. REaKTOR provides Incubation and Acceleration services by offering tailored programs that provide access to funding, mentorship, and resources needed for rapid business growth.