Two Teams Competing for a Half-million Prize

Two Teams Competing for a Half-million Prize [Jan/2020]

Two European teams are competing for the first Metalysis–ESA Grand Challenge worth €500 000 rewarding innovation that will support space exploration.

The ESA Grand Challenge is part of the Agency’s Space 4.0 commitment to competitions that create new European entrepreneurs, innovation-led start-ups and new ventures.

Metalysis in South Yorkshire, has spent more than a decade developing and scaling up its electrochemical technology; a process that converts refined oxides and ores directly into valuable metal alloy powders used in 3D printing for aerospace, automotive and high-value manufacturing.

The competitors shall devise process-monitoring systems that will work with the Metalysis electrochemical cells in space. Entries should be based on the electrochemical technology of Metalysis and support sustainable operations and outer planetary exploration from long-term space settlements.

The requirements of the Metalysis–ESA Grand Challenge are available here.

The two teams are SMEs registered in one of the ESA Member States, Associate Member States or Cooperating States of ESA.

The first team is called MALT. The MALT team is an interdisciplinary group including scientist and engineers with a background in spectroscopic solutions for applications such as heritage, biomedicine or space applications. The team members have participated as part of Spanish public research institutes and universities in the development of Raman and LIBS spectrometers for space applications such as RLS for ESA ExoMars or SuperCam for NASA Mars 2020 missions. Now, the aim is to incorporate this state-of-the-art technology for space to the civil society by spinning off to industrial applications. The participation of the team in the ESA Grand Challenge is a unique opportunity to demonstrate how laser-based spectroscopic techniques can be reliably used for specific applications, while also serving as a catalyser for the consolidation of this relatively young group of professionals into a long-term and auto-sufficient European-based company.


The second team, San Jorge Tecnológicas is led by Maria Pilar Del Alamo. Its active team includes engineers, scientists and technicians enjoying research and development of mechanisms, sensors, prototypes and new challenging technology and attracts cooperation from the best research institutions along Europe. In the last years they have successfully developed R&D projects for ESA, the European Commission 7th Framework Programme and Horizon 2020, Airbus, , OHB DARPA among others. Particularly, among the several inventions developed by this team, there are non-contact sensors, magnetomechanisms, devices for extreme environments and test benches. More information is available at and


The Challenge is divided into two phases:


·       Phase 1, which will potentially reward a team after the submission of a deliverable at the end of 2020. The Deliverable of Phase 1 is a Project Report detailing the process to be implemented by the Participants in order to develop the final Breadboard and its potential functioning.

·       Phase 2, which will be over at the end of 2022 and will reward the winner after the submission of the final breadboard.


During the next Global Space Economic Forum, ESA and Metalysis will announce the winner of the first phase. 

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