The exploration of space has always been an endeavour that captivates the human imagination. As we look towards the future of space exploration, one of the critical components is the utilisation of space resources. To promote innovation and collaboration in this field, the European Space Agency (ESA) is calling for partners for the 2nd edition of the Space Resources Challenge. 

Launched in 2021 by ESA and ESRIC (European Space Resources Innovation Centre), the Space Resources Challenge aims to stimulate challenge-driven innovation, engaging the community to explore innovative solutions for Europe’s exploration programme. The Challenge encourages academia, industries, and research institutions to compete for a prize supporting the development of advanced methods for prospecting, extracting, and utilising space resources. 

The second Space Resources Challenge 

We are excited to announce the launch of the second Space Resources Challenge later this year! Building on the success of the first Challenge, which aimed to advance cutting-edge prospecting technologies to identify and characterise lunar resources, this new Challenge takes us to the next logical step in the ISRU value chain, by focusing on Excavation & Beneficiation technologies. 

Participating teams will be tasked with collecting, preparing, and delivering lunar regolith as a feedstock for a range of processes, from producing oxygen for life support and spacecraft refuelling, to 3D-printing infrastructure in situ.  

The second Space Resources Challenge will be hosted at LUNA, ESA’s new lunar analogue facility at the European Astronaut Centre (EAC) in Cologne! This state-of-the-art facility is designed to provide a valuable regolith testbed for technology demonstrations and serve as a training ground for future Moon-bound astronauts, allowing for a full simulation of lunar missions on Earth in a relevant environment. LUNA will feature a 700m2 area filled with EAC-1 lunar regolith simulant and will be operational by Q4 2024.   

ESA will reward €500,000 to the best performing team based on the following four evaluation criteria:  

 Ability to excavate 

 Ability to beneficiate  

 Ability to respect an imposed mass & energy budget 

 Ability to mitigate their dust impact on the lunar environment 

The ESA prize will fund a feasibility study aimed at maturing the winning solution into a viable payload.


We are looking for two types of Partners

Challenge Partners will award a minimum of €75,000 in the form of their choice to the best performing team in one of the prize categories listed above. We are pleased to announce that the Luxembourg Space Agency (LSA) and the European Space Resources Innovation Centre (ESRIC) have, together, joined us as our first Challenge Partner and will reward the team that performs best in the Beneficiation criterion. 

Team Partners, on the other hand, will support the team of their choice up to the field test. This support may include financial backing, mentoring, expertise, and/or other in-kind contributions. 

What are the benefits?  

Becoming a Partner can offer a multitude of benefits for entities passionate about space exploration.  

  • Access to innovative solutions: As a Partner, you could gain non-exclusive IP access to the most innovative solutions of the Challenge, allowing to leverage pioneering technology solutions developed for current and future space missions.  
  • Global network: You may also have access to a global network of experts, businesses and organisations, opening doors to collaborative ventures and lucrative business opportunities within the space industry.  
  • Visibility: Being associated with ESA will also demonstrate your commitment as a Partner to promoting sustainable space exploration to a wider audience, enhancing the visibility of the partnering entity to a global community eager for advancements in space explorations technologies.  
  • Marketing: Being involved in the Space Resources Challenge will provide you with unique marketing and promotional opportunities through media campaigns, public events, and targeted communications, ensuring high engagement with both the space community and a wider audience.  
  • Engagement: By becoming a Partner, you can showcase your dedication to fostering innovation, education, and collaboration in Space Resources technologies. This holistic engagement would not only propel your entity’s growth but promises to also drive collective progress toward a sustainable and innovative future in space exploration.  

By partnering with ESA, entities can position themselves at the forefront of space innovation, benefiting from unparalleled networking and promotional opportunities while contributing to the advancement of the global space community. 

Join Us!  

Interested in becoming a Partner? Do not hesitate to show your interest in our OSIP call. 

We will be hosting an informational 1h-webinar with insights from LSA & ESRIC as well as a Q&A on 20 JUNE 2024, at 10:00 (CEST). If you would like to participate in the webinar, please fill out the form bellow: Webinar Call for Partners 

For more information about the Space Resources Challenge, please reach out directly to