News | Dec 8, 2022

Reef Starter Announces Innovation Challenge Winners

Breakthrough In-Space Solutions Selected for the Benefit of Earth

December 8, 2022 – Reef Starter, an innovation engine powered by Orbital Reef, today announced the winners of its first annual Reef Starter Innovation Challenge. The early-stage companies selected demonstrated innovative in-space solutions leveraging Orbital Reef, a mixed-use space station to be built in low Earth orbit (LEO).

“The winners of the Reef Starter Innovation Challenge provided clear commercialization strategies, technology development paths, and plans to leverage Orbital Reef,” said Shahir Gerges, Director of Orbital Reef Business Strategy, Blue Origin. “We look forward to supporting the development of these breakthrough products and increasing their access to space for the benefit of Earth.”

Reef Starter received hundreds of applications from a variety of markets, including life sciences, material sciences, atmospheric monitoring, entertainment, and computing technologies. The top 20 applicants participated in a pitch day with judges from Orbital Reef partners and teammates, who selected the winners based on commercialization plans, technical maturity and roadmap, and overall presentation quality.

Reef Starter Innovation Challenge Winners:

  • Prometheus Life Technologies (First Place): Large-scale production of high-quality human tissue in microgravity for better drug development and testing as well as regenerative medicine.

  • Lunasonde (1st Runners-Up): The Lunasonde Ionospheric Signal Attenuation Receiver Demonstration (LISARD) payload will generate a comprehensive model of Earth’s ionosphere, fundamentally improving atmospheric and space weather predictions, while accelerating Lunasonde’s subsurface imaging technology development.

  • Ecoatoms (2nd Runners-Up): Automated batch-manufacturing biosensors for cost-effective diagnostic tools to detect molecular analytes in human samples, enabling new life sciences developments terrestrially and in space.

  • FLUIX Inc. (Innovation Award): Nano-suspension cooling technology increasing efficiency and reducing energy costs for data centers on Earth and in space.

"The quality of applications we received from such a broad range of markets provides a glimpse into how diverse a LEO destination economy can be," said Hyder Alabed, Head of Reef Starter and Senior Manager of Technical Projects, Blue Origin. "This startup challenge has been a great opportunity to spark growth in promising early-stage companies tackling some of the most critical problems facing humanity today."

The winners will receive awards of up to $100,000 and customized workshops with the Orbital Reef team to advance their award-winning products.

For additional updates about Reef Starter and future start-up challenges follow @OrbitalReef and

About Reef Starter

Reef Starter was established to reduce barriers of entry for startups to become users of Orbital Reef, the commercially developed, owned, and operated space station to be built in LEO. The Orbital Reef team is increasing awareness of the benefits of in-space operations for commercial business, providing expertise to advance the next generation of solutions and sparking investment in innovative ideas.

About Orbital Reef

Orbital Reef is a commercially developed, owned, and operated space station to be built in low Earth orbit. Led by principal partners Blue Origin and Sierra Space, Orbital Reef will open the next chapter of human space exploration and development by facilitating the growth of a vibrant ecosystem and business model for the future. Designed to open multiple new markets in space, Orbital Reef will provide anyone with the opportunity to establish their own address in orbit. This unique destination will offer research, industrial, international, and commercial customers the cost-competitive end-to-end services they need including space transportation and logistics, space habitation, equipment accommodation, onboard crew support, and ground operations.

Media contacts:

Rosemarie Esposito, +1 (732) 685-9222,