Space Challenge 2023 - FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions


Who Can Apply for the Challege?

Anybody residing in New Zealand , Australia, or the Pacific Islands. If applying as a team or company, the principal applicant must reside in New Zealand, Australia, or the Pacific Islands*.

*Pacific Islands are defined by these 22 countries and territories (PICs) plus the Philippines: The Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, The Northern Marianna Islands, New Caledonia, Palau, Papua New Guinea, The Pitcairn Islands, French Polynesia, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu, Niue, The Marshall Islands, The Federated States of Micronesia, Wallis, Futuna, Nauru, The Salomon Islands, American Samoa, Vanuatu Samoa.  

What is the definition of a “start-up” for the Challenge?

Any organization or company who has twenty or less employees/staff can apply for the challenge.

What are the start and end dates for the Challenge application?

Applicants for the incubator program will need to submit a proposal by 31 August 2023 to receive support during the Challenge.  Full applications for the Challenge solutions are due 25 February 2024.

What do you need to submit to apply for the Challenge incubator? (deadline 31 August 2023)
See sample blank proposal application form  here.

Can individuals apply for the Challenge or only teams/organisations?

Both individuals or teams/organisations can apply to participate in the Challenge.  There are two categories of teams, university/start-up level, and high school students. Make sure to click on the right category when submitting your proposal.

How are applicants evaluated?

All applications will be judged according to the following five criteria: (10 points each)

  • Use of space technology – leverage space technology to address the problem
  • Technical feasibility, safety and rigor – based on scientific principles and method
  • Innovative solution – novel and new idea
  • Implementation – clear plan for execution. Plan is easy to implement, adopt and scale
  • Environmental impact – maximum positive impact and benefit to society at scale

Phase 2 and Finals

  • Prototype – practical demonstration of solution to the Challenge (20 points)

Additional points for four criteria: (2 points each except for Team composition which is 5 points)

  • Evidence of impact within three years
  • Collaboration with multiple stakeholders
  • Creative integration (from other technologies, etc.)
  • Team composition for execution

What is the judging process?

Judging of the Challenge will be in three phases.

In phase 1, an internal committee of industry experts will evaluate proposals and select up to thirty (30) top candidates that will be supported by the Challenge incubator program.  The Challenge incubator program will support applicants with access to data, analysis, mentorship and more. 

In phase 2, judges comprised of academic, industry, and government representatives will evaluate each final submission to ensure it meets the Challenge criteria. The judges will then select up to six (6) finalists to compete in the final demo and awards ceremony on 15 March in Auckland (TBC). The judges may solicit additional information from the finalists.

In phase 3, the finalists will then be invited to demo their solution and present at a pitch session and awards ceremony. A panel of experts from different regions and Challenge 2023 partners will select one Grand Prize Winner for each category.

What benefits do the participants accepted into the Challenge incubator program get?

Support from Challenge partners including but not limited to compute platform and data access, webinar sessions, and mentorship through space and climate specialists.

Can applicants submit a full application without participating in the Challenge incubator program?

Yes, applicants or teams can submit a full application before 25 February 2023, when full applications close.

Will travel to finals event for the demo and awards ceremony be paid for?

At this time accommodations and flight expenses for Finalists are not covered.  We continue to raise sponsorship funding to cover expenses for the six finalists, and will announce coverage update before the final Event on 15 March 2023.

What benefits do the final winners get?

As University/Startup team Grand Prize winner, you will receive:

  • A cash prize of NZ$25,000
  • Support to implement your idea from industry and Challenge partners
  • Six months mentorship support from SpaceBase to further develop and maximise your ideas for implementation.

As High School team Grand Prize winner, you will receive:

  • A cash prize of NZ$8,000

Finalists teams who are not awarded the Grand Prize for each category at the final event will receive NZ$2,500 for the University/Startup level, and NZ$1000 for the High School level.

When would the finalist be notified?

Finalists will be announced by 6 March 2024.

What are the pre-conditions for final acceptance?

Finalists must sign a statement of terms and conditions (T&C) and confirm that they will attend the final demo and pitch session on 15 March in Auckland (TBC). In case travel restrictions prevent finalists from attending in person, a virtual demo and presentation will be accepted.

Does my application need to be a new idea, or can it be an existing solution used elsewhere?

We encourage new and innovative ideas to address the problem, but also welcome technology already being applied in different industries or problems that may be repurposed to solve the Challenge problem.

Who owns the intellectual property (IP) to the idea or solution to the Challenge?

Applicants have complete ownership of their IP.

 What are the requirements for the initial proposal?

  • Background of the applicant or team members (CVs)
  • General technical approach
  • Specific aspect of problem being addressed
  • Projected plan and schedule
  • Specific request for technical support (satellite data, or other)

The proposal should be 2-10 pages.

  • Abstract and description of proposed solution (maximum 500 words to be used for public info if selected)

What are the requirements for the final application?

  • A pitch deck describing idea or prototype (a file consisting of a maximum of 20 slides)
  • A five-minute video describing their team, solution, and plan of implementation (submitted as a link to video hosting site, such as YouTube – with a password, if desired)
  • A prototype or proof of implementation (could be part of the video or detailed results of tech demonstration)

What are the requirements for the finals?

  • A tech demonstration validating the solution
  • A 5-minute pitch of the technology solution

Who will be evaluating the applications?

Applicants will be evaluated online by judges coming from academia, industry, and government experts in space and tech.  A panel of judges, comprised of climate and space specialists, entrepreneurs, and local and national government representatives will determine the winner during the final demo and pitch session.

Can the proposal or final application be revised once it has been submitted?

The application portal allows applicants to save work on the application and applicants can continue to add, edit and revise at any time.  However, once the application is finally submitted – using the “Submit” button – you will NOT be able to make any changes. Once you hit the “Submit” button, the application will be submitted for judging. This is done to allow more time for judges to evaluate finalised evaluations throughout the Challenge application period. All proposals must be submitted by 31 August 2023.  All final applications must be submitted by the 25 February 2024 deadline.

Can an applicant be a member of more than one team?

An individual may be a member of more than one team, as long as both teams are aware of the individual’s participation and contribution to each team, and there is no unauthorised transfer of proprietary information between the teams. The primary contact individual for each team must be unique.

Can an applicant submit more than one application?

As an individual, an applicant can only submit one application. This means if one individual is in multiple teams, they can only be the principal applicant for one team.

Can applicants (individuals or teams) share information about their proposed solution?

During the competition, applicants can decide whether they share any information, or how much information they chose to share, to other individuals, teams, or the public. If an applicant becomes part of the incubator programme (announced by 20 Sept 2023) or a finalist (announced by 6 March 2024), the short description (500-word abstract) of their proposed solution will be shared publicly for promotion of the Challenge incubator and final demo and awards event.

Can a finalist (selected by 6 March) revise their solution before the final pitch event?

After an applicant is selected as a finalist, and invited to present at the awards event, they may revise and update their presentation for the awards. It is not required to alter or revise their presentation in any way. Any changes should only involve minor updates or enhancements to their proposed solution or presentation, and not any significant change to the proposed solution which allowed them to be selected as a finalist.

Can individuals join teams during the competition?

The composition of a team may change up until the application is submitted. The deadline for submissions is 25 February 2024.

If a team wins the prize, how is the prize divided among team members?

It is up to a team to decide (if they become a finalist) who would make the presentation at the final demo and awards event, and (if they win) how to allocate the final prize award. The team submission identifies a contact person for the team and SpaceBase will interact with that contact person as representative of the team.

How can an individual or team find technical information about the Challenge?

After the start of the Challenge, SpaceBase will be working to provide general technical resources, and links to videos and reports related to the Challenge. For those teams qualified to participate in the Challenge incubator programme, additional resources, tools and mentorship will be accessible to them through the internal Challenge platform.

What tools are available to help teams work on the Challenge?

For those qualifying to participate in the Challenge incubator programme, SpaceBase will endeavor to make available satellite data and analysis tools relevant to the challenge.  Support from Challenge partners for help in technology demonstrations and mentorship will also be provided during the duration of the incubator process (Between Oct 2023 and Feb 2024 minus holiday break). In addition, SpaceBase will be adding general information and tools for the duration of the Challenge and answering questions from applicants.

Got more Questionz?  Join the Challenge Slack work group ( to get your questions answered or start a discussion group. Send us an invite request or just contact us directly for your queries through [email protected].



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