US foodtech start-ups invited to pitch sustainable solutions for feeding astronauts during space travel
NASA is seeking a new food system for feeding its astronauts while in space

NASA is offering up to $1 million to foodtech start-ups that develop a new food system for astronauts during space travel. 

The Deep Space Food Challenge (DPFC) is seeking novel solutions to replace the current freeze-dried food packages that do not provide sufficient nutrients for astronauts.

Applicants are being asked to consider a system that would require minimal resources and produce minimal waste, while also providing real nutritional value. 

The US space administration said that such compact and innovative advanced food solutions could have applications in home and community-based local food production, providing new solutions for humanitarian responses to floods and droughts, and new technologies for rapid deployment following disasters. 

New entrants are required to register for phase two of the competition by 28 February. Submissions will be evaluated between March and May, then shortlisted companies will have to submit a testing summary by December. 

Finalists will be determined by an independent judging panel in January 2023 with winners to be announced in March. 

The Canadian Space Agency is hosting a parallel competition with a separate application and judging process, as well as its own prize purse, for participating Canadian teams.

Although the monetary prize is only available to US teams in the DSFC, qualifying teams from other countries may still compete. 

Phase one of the competition concluded in October 2021 with 18 teams winning a total of $450,000 for their innovative food production solutions. 

In phase two teams will be required to build prototypes of their systems. 

Date published: 21 January 2022

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