International Space Station National Laboratory
Technology in Space Prize
To be considered for the Technology in Space Prize, you must be part of the  U.S. Early Stage Program.  Click here to learn more about applications for the U.S. Early Stage Program

The History of the International Space Station National Laboratory and MassChallenge

ISSNL_LogoSince 2014, the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space, Inc. (CASIS), manager of the International Space Station (ISS) National Laboratory, and Boeing have funded an annual Technology in Space Prize. The prize supports startups who participate in a MassChallenge program by providing the opportunity and access to the ISS National Lab to conduct innovative research and technology development (R&D). The prize awards up to $500k in nondilutive funding annually.

MassChallenge is one of the largest startup accelerators and supports high-impact, early-stage entrepreneurs, providing access to world-class mentorship, in-kind support, and other benefits to help startups succeed. CASIS partnered with MassChallenge to explore how research and technology development in low Earth orbit might give startup companies a competitive edge. Through collaboration with MassChallenge, the ISS National Lab serves as a business incubator—providing a path for entrepreneurs to improve their products or services and shorten time to market. 

Since its inception, the Technology in Space Prize has provided $9.7 million in funding to 30 startups for R&D sponsored by the ISS National Lab. Notable projects include:

  • Development of an artificial retina to restore vision in those blinded by macular degeneration
  • Protein crystallization research to aid in the treatment of cancer
  • Convection-free synthesis of 2D nanomaterials to detect radiation sources
  • 3D stem cell-derived culture model to test gene therapies for Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and Huntington’s disease

The Technology in Space Prize Over the Years...

The Technology in Space Prize provides startups with grant funding, operational and science support for spaceflight projects, and the use of ISS National Lab-allocated upmass, downmass, and crewtime (which can easily amount to more than $1 million of in-kind value per project). Results from space-based R&D have led to improvements in startup technology and access to new capital. Following award of an ISS National Lab-sponsored project, startups have raised more than twenty-five times the capital awarded.



Sending Startups to Space: MassChallenge, Boeing, and CASIS Partner Together

ISSRDC 2019: Accelerating Startups in Space – User Success Fostered through the MassChallenge Model

MassChallenge Technology in Space Prize 2021

NASA Astronauts in Space

"Part of the ISS National Lab’s mission is to expand access to the space station to a wide range of users that can maximize use of this powerful platform to return value to the American taxpayer and improve life on Earth. Our collaboration with MassChallenge and Boeing, which is entering its 10th year, has given us the opportunity to interact with a diverse group of startups that may have never considered low Earth orbit for their research and development purposes. From an injectable bone adhesive that accelerates healing of bone fractures to an artificial retina that restores vision in patients with degenerative eye diseases, advancements achieved by startups through space-based research benefit not only the startups themselves but also the nation. We look forward to continuing to work with MassChallenge to support innovative startups that look to space to advance technology and products for people on Earth.”

– Shaun Peiffer, Commercial Innovation Manager for the ISS National Lab

We are looking to expand our partnership for the Technology in Space Prize. If you’re interested, please contact Phillip Irace at

For questions & to learn more about the Technology in Space Prize, please reach out to Natalie Bossart or Phillip Irace

In order to be considered for the Technology in Space Prize you must be part of the U.S. Early Stage program, learn more about how to apply to the program here.