The 4th SGAC Italian Space Start-Up Competition- Meet the winners

 

On November 12th and 13th , Eurisy attended the 4th Italian Space Start-Up Competition (ISSC) organised by the Space Generation Advisory Council (SGAC). The scope of the competition is not limited to specific disciplines, it is as wide as the full space value chain. Throughout the week-end students and young professionals had the opportunity to explore break-through ideas, interact with experts, work in teams, structure it into feasible business cases. Competition is an extremely powerful innovation tool, it favours a thinking out of the boxes approach, it stimulates cooperation and creativity ensuring the strengthening of analytical and critical thinking, prioritization of tasks and the development of new skills serving the achievement of the best possible outputs. This tool offers to the participants a realistic test ground to assess viability of the idea and to form next generation of astropreneurs. After three previous editions, the ISSC moves to Naples where about 20 participants with diverse backgrounds gathered to transform their ideas into potential commercial products.

Partners and sponsors – from Eurisy, Telespazio to AIDAA, DAC, IngeniArs, CNS and GroundSpace – have been asked to present ow they respond to the challenges selected by the organisers with their portfolio of solutions, products, and services. Among the topics identified special attention was paid to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the contribution of space technology to the fulfilment of the objectives of the goals, and climate change and its effects less than a week away from the COP27 Global Conference. In particular, special reference was made to greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions, to the monitoring of major pollutants deriving from road freight transport. Other challenges proposed to the competing teams fall into monitoring of natural hazards; agriculture to observe biochemical and physical variables of the land, such temperature, nutrients, soil moisture, to mention few.

Eurisy contributed with our own peculiar approach challenging the participants to shift their mindset from a technology-development to a user-centred method, focussed on a market-oriented perspective aiming at addressing actual users’ needs. Through the presentation of three success stories on the topics of agriculture, disasters, and climate change impact in urban areas we urged the participants to engage in a co-design process starting from the translation of the needs in technical requirements and eventually in actionable information. Such a perspective was greatly appreciated: it allowed to understand how crucial it is to develop a dialogue with end-users to help them understand how space can help them meet their needs, providing them with additional elements to further develop their solutions.

Eurisy served also as Jury member, asked to gauge the 6 finalist teams against a set of evaluation criteria such as the team composition and the background diversification; the value proposition in terms of services and/or products to potential customers; the commercial approach/business plan; the clarity and quality of the presentation; the medium/long-term feasibility of the business idea; the topic awareness and existing state-of-the-art of the identified market; and the idea originality.

Each of the Jury Members assigned a special award to the team they evaluated with the highest score. Eurisy selected as its own winner the “Space Sleep Walkers” team.

 

 

The team, composed by 3 aerospace engineering students and a medical doctor, develop their business idea starting from previous medical studies that highlighted how astronauts on extended space missions lose on average more than 1% of bone mass per month developing osteoporosis and osteopenia. A similar condition can be developed on Earth by those patients with serious illnesses, bone traumas or elders. In order to help astronauts to reduce the effects of osteoporosis, the team came up with a solution that could be used in microgravity and, at same time, on Earth: the Space Sleep Walker. It entails two sensors applicable in the lower part of the body that applies a gradual compression between the tibia and fibula, and on the femur in an alternating manner…while sleeping! The devices activate during the body’s resting phase to ensure a smooth and gradual adaptation to the stimulations produces with no body stress increased. Such a solution aims at innovating through a space technology spin-off the existing tools to cure similar illnesses, testing them earlier in microgravity.

The final prize assigned entailed a mentoring scheme offered with Eurisy team and the opportunity to present the Space Sleep Walker at a future Eurisy conference to boost the case, explore synergies with partners and why not find investors.

This fourth edition of the Italian Space Start-up competition was the occasion for many students to develop solutions that- in the future- could have an impact on the space sector. These competitions represent a great exercise to strengthen the start-up ecosystem and create new start-ups and to support astropreneurship.