St. Louis Launches Space Startups: NewSpace Business Plan Competition Regional Finalists Converge

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Five startups focused on outer space business go head-to-head before a panel of St. Louis business leaders to compete for prize money, industry exposure, and bragging rights.

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These are companies fighting to create market value, solve existing problems, and enable a space-faring future for humanity.

The Center for Space Commerce and Finance (CSCF) has announced finalists for the 2017 St. Louis Regional NewSpace Business Plan Competition. Held as a part of the National Space Society’s International Space Development Conference (ISDC), the event will take place from 10 AM to 12 PM in the St. Louis Union Station Hotel on Friday, May 26, 2017.

Finalists were selected from a pool of company applicants which possessed a strong potential for ROI as well as an ability to significantly advance the commercial space industry. During this regional event, each team will have 7 minutes to make their pitch, followed by probing questions from the panel of judges. The winner will be awarded a $2,500 cash prize, sponsored by the Heinlein Prize Trust.

When asked to describe the finalists, CSCF Executive Director, Joel Vinas stated, “These finalists represent the wide spectrum of companies which comprise the near-term future of space commerce. On-demand launch services, small satellite solutions, improved interfaces: these are companies fighting to create market value, solve existing problems, and enable a space-faring future for humanity.”

As seating is limited, investors, media and others interested in attending should register today to attend the conference:

The 2017 St. Louis NewSpace Business Plan Competition finalists are:

Froberg Aerospace
Froberg Aerospace is a developer and provider of small satellite propulsion technologies that offer small satellite developers game-changing capabilities in terms of mission flexibility, rapid concept-to-orbit, and the ability to change satellite mission objectives on-the-fly.

Hummingbird Space Exploration
Hummingbird Space Exploration (HSX) was founded with the vision of enriching the small satellite ecosystem through reducing concept-to-launch cost, expanding small-satellite capabilities, and minimizing satellite launch and operational risks. The company is evolving existing technology into a reliable and cost-effective solution capable of performing biological experimentation in space and tackling the growing problem of orbital debris.

SpaceVR is building Human™ - a Virtual Reality (VR) controllable humanoid robot designed to perform labor on Earth and in space. Designed after the skeletal and muscle structure of the human body, the product replicates the best user interface – the human body. Through VR control, the product will empower Human Intelligence (HI) to create petabytes of data, priming Artificial Intelligence (AI) to automate all human activities. Through Human, SpaceVR is launching a new industrial revolution, enabling large scale development on Earth and in space.

Stofiel Aerospace
Stofiel Aerospace is a technology company producing a balloon based on-demand orbital rocket launch system to fill the bottleneck in launch capability for small satellites. The product is scalable to the payload and poised to disrupt the existing launch market, enabling launches within weeks instead of years.

Weintraus is focusing on uplifting the commercial space industry with their Hercules Space Tug. Hercules is a reusable space tug providing precision orbital placement services for up to 4500kg of small spacecraft a year. This includes changing multiple orbits and raising altitudes to deliver small satellite operators to various orbital destinations. Weintraus's vision is focused on scaling their technology into Hercules II, capable of; autonomous satellite servicing, asteroid mining, deep space support, debris mitigation, and in-orbit refueling services.

This event serves as the second in a series of regional business plan competitions, leading to the National NewSpace Business Plan Competition, held on November 10, 2017 in Austin, Texas. In addition to the grand prize, the winning team will advance to this national competition, which has awarded as much as $100,000 in past years.

About NewSpace Business Plan Competition
Since 2006, the NewSpace BPC has awarded over $300,000 in cash prizes to space-enabling startups. Now a program of the Center for Space Commerce and Finance, the NewSpace BPC is expanding its reach, hosting regional competitions and raising investor awareness towards space-related startups. Chosen competitors advance to the National event, attend a private, 2-day, Boot Camp session, and make a final pitch to investors at the annual New Worlds Conference where winners are announced. For more information visit

About the National Space Society
The National Space Society (NSS) is an independent, educational, grassroots, non-profit organization dedicated to the creation of a spacefaring civilization. Founded as the National Space Institute (1974) and L5 Society (1975), which merged to form NSS in 1987, NSS is widely acknowledged as the preeminent citizen's voice on space. NSS has over 50 chapters in the United States and around the world. The society also publishes Ad Astra magazine, an award-winning periodical chronicling the most important developments in space. Learn more:

About the Heinlein Prize Trust
The Heinlein Prize Trust honors the memory of Robert A. Heinlein, a renowned American author. The purpose of the Heinlein Prize is to encourage and reward progress in commercial space activities that advances Robert and his wife Virginia’s dream of humanity’s future in space. Efforts include: The Heinlein Prize for Accomplishments in Commercial Space Activities, The Microgravity Research Competition, The Heinlein Commercial Space Activity Prize, and The “Flight Into the Future” international contests. Find out more:

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Joel Vinas
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