$pace is Business Competition 2019

The Entrepreneurship and Investment Committee (EIC) of the International Astronautical Federation (IAF) in cooperation with the Space Generation Advisory Council (SGAC) introduces the $pace is Business Competition. This competition is an opportunity for students and young professionals to share their views and analysis on past, present and future of entrepreneurship and investment within the space sector. The winner of this paper competition will be invited to give a presentation about its paper at the IAF Business Innovation Symposium, it is designed to offer papers that observe, study, analyse, describe, and/or propose any topic related to space activities that have commercial objectives, whether from an academic and/or practitioner perspective.

Application first Round Deadline for Abstract: 15th March,  2019, 23:59 GMT

Application first Round Deadline for Paper: 15th May,  2019, 23:59 GMT


The content of papers may address any topic related to one of the following topics:

Topic 1: Entrepreneurship and Innovation: The Practitioners’ Perspectives

Write a paper focusing on topics such as new business plans, new projects, recent experiences of startup companies, etc. from the perspective of the practitioner.

Topic 2: Finance and Investment: The Practitioners’ Perspectives

Write a paper focusing on topics related to finance and investment. Sample topics include ways to fund new firms, financial analysis of markets, descriptions of financing and/or banking enterprises, etc.

Topic 3: Innovation: The Academics’ Perspectives

This topic focuses on innovation from the academic perspective. It should follow the academic chapters of Introduction, Literature Review, Methods, Data, Results, Conclusions, etc. but can show research and analysis at any level on any aspect of business, entrepreneurship, innovation, organization theory, investment, etc.

Topic 4: The Orbital Launch Services Business

Write a paper focusing on analyzing and modelling the business plans of current big players in the launch services market. The paper shall address one or more of the following questions:

  • What is the current business model for SpaceX? How are they profitable?
  • What is the market of Blue Origin’s New Glenn? Who will be their customers? How will Blue Origin promote New Glenn?
  • Looking at the big launch service providers such as e.g. Arianespace or ULA how do they operate and market their launchers?
  • How do micro launcher developers (e.g. Rocketlab, Virgin Orbit, PLD, Orbex) influence the launch services market? How is the micro-launcher market performing? How will the availability of rideshares in bigger launchers affect it?
  • Model China’s/India’s role in the international launch services commercial markets.


The main author of the winning paper will receive an award in order to attend the following events and give a presentation at the IAF Business Innovation Symposium (session 6):

The award will include provisions for travel, accommodation, and registration for SGC and IAC. The total amount of the scholarship will be determined at a later date and communicated to those selected for round two.

How to Apply

To apply, please submit your complete application using the Scholarship Submission Form.

Please submit your documents as unlocked PDF files. Your name should be included at the top of all pages. Your submission should follow the competition guidelines below.

Your applications will need to include a link to your 400 word abstract written in English.

Apply here!



  1. The competition is open to all students and young professionals from any country.
  2. All individuals or team members shall be SGAC members between the ages of 18 to 35 inclusive (up to the day of their 36th birthday) on 1 October 2019.
  3. The competition is open to individuals or teams. In case of a team submission, a contribution breakdown of the co-authors to the content shall be included. One member shall be identified as the main author and main point of contact, and only one member of the team will be eligible to receive the scholarship.
  4. Competition organisers and judges are not eligible for this award.
  5. Winners should not receive support from any other source to attend SGC and IAC. Should winners receive such support midway through the program, SGAC should be informed and solutions will be sought.


  1. The abstract/paper is due as an unlocked PDF document under 5 MB. It shall be submitted via the Scholarship Submission Form. You will need to be logged in as an SGAC member to access the submission page.
  2. The language of all submissions shall be English.
  3. The submission shall include original content and research. Work that has already been presented at a past conference or previously submitted to this competition is not eligible.
  4. The competition is divided into two rounds:
    1. First Round – Abstract
      For the first round, you will need to submit an abstract conforming to the formatting requirements of the International Astronautical Congress (IAC) 2019, and not exceeding 400 words in length (see here for more information about IAC 2019 abstract rules). A select number of abstracts will be selected for round two.
    2. Second Round – Paper
      For round two you will be asked to submit a full paper conforming to the formatting requirements for submissions to the IAC 2019 (see here for more information about IAC 2019 paper rules).
  5. The best submissions to the First Round will be selected and only those will be eligible for the Second Round.
  6. The abstract/paper is due as an unlocked PDF document under 5 MB. All submissions shall be made by 15 March 2019, 23:59 GMT for the First Round, and 15 May 2019, 23:59 GMT for the Second Round. Any submissions after the deadlines will not be considered.
  7. In case of lack of quality of submissions, SGAC has the right to extend and or cancel the competition.

Responsibilities of the Winners

  1. The winning author shall:
    • Attend the entire SGC 2019
    • Attend the entire IAC 2019
    • Support the running of SGC 2018 and the SGAC booth. These tasks offer great opportunities such as being the rapporteur of a SGC working group and helping with writing a group report, being the front face of SGAC at the SGAC booth and meeting interesting people.
    • Submit a short report (2 pages excluding pictures) and a short video (1 minute) describing his or her experience at SGC 2019 and IAC 2019 for inclusion on the SGAC website, newsletter or social media and that of our partners
    • Present the winning paper at SGC 2019 and/or IAC 2019
    • Meet with the competition supporters during IAC 2019, the meeting will be organized by SGAC.

All responsibilities shall be fulfilled and reports etc. submitted not later than 1st of December 2019. In case the scholarship awardee(s) do(es) not complete the scholarship requirements on time, the scholarship funds will be transferred to SGAC general budget to continue supporting the mission and work of SGAC.


  1. The award will be paid out after the SGC / IAC 2019, no later than 30 days after fulfilment of all responsibilities listed above.
  2. The scholarship award reimbursement is conditioned on the awardee fulfilling the scholarship requirements not later than 1st of December 2019.
  3. In case applicants or the winning author receive funding for SGC 2019 and/or IAC 2019 by any other organisation, the Scholarships Coordinators shall be informed. If the applicants don’t inform the Scholarships Coordinators, SGAC holds the right to not reimburse the winning author. SGAC aims to reduce the number of double scholarships and will work with the winners to develop a solution in these cases.
  4. Applicants are advised to not engage any expenses until they have formal confirmation that the competition has been awarded. The SGAC is not liable for any expenses incurred by applicants in any case where a competition is not awarded, or in excess of the value of the awarded grant.

Copyright and Intellectual Property

  1. By submitting an entry, applicants agree to permit SGAC and all affiliated organisers to mention their names, affiliations and headshot picture in connection with the competition.
  2. Copyright of the submitted entry shall remain with the contestants. However, by submitting an entry all contestants agree that SGAC and all affiliated organisers are granted non-exclusive reproduction rights regarding all submitted papers. SGAC and all affiliated organisers may also present ideas and findings generated by this competition at relevant conferences.


  1. Organisers shall not be responsible in the event that SGC 2019 and/or IAC 2019 is cancelled. SGAC will not reimburse the winning author, even if he/she has already incurred expenses.
  2. Organisers shall not be responsible in the event that the award winner fails to attend SGC 2019 and/or IAC 2019 or is unable to under extenuating circumstances; in that case the award offer shall become void.
  3. Organisers shall not be responsible in the event that the award winner cannot obtain any necessary travel documents; if they are required but not obtained, the award offer shall become void.


Evaluators will include members of the SGAC scholarship team and representatives of the scholarship supporter.

The evaluation will be made based on a point system taking following criteria and their weights into consideration:

  • Scientific Content and Detail (40%)
  • Originality (40%)
  • Description of Concept (20%)


Entries accepted:1st of February 2019
First Round Deadline:15 March 2019, 23:59 GMT
First Round Winners Announced:30 March 2019
Second Round Deadline:15 May 2019, 23:59 GMT
Second Round Winner announced: 1 June 2019
Space Generation Congress: 17–19  October 2019
International Astronautical Congress:21 – 25 October 2019


For any questions, please refer to SGAC Scholarships Coordinators (scholarships@spacegeneration.org).


SGAC would like to thank Julio Aprea and Ken Davidian for their support to run this competition.

If you or your organisation is interested in providing talented students and young professionals with the opportunity to share their work and ideas with the global space community, please contact SGAC Scholarships Coordinators (contact above).

Past Winners

2018: Georgios Profitiliotis, Paper

2017: Graham Johnson, “Crowdfunding for Space Missions”, Paper

2016: Carlos Manuel Entrena Utrilla, “Asteroid-COTS: developing the cislunar economy with private-public partnerships”, Paper

2015: Paola Belingeri and Maria Isabella Leone, “Licensing as a tool to encourage technology transfer from space”, Paper

2014: Jack Yeh and David Revay, “Price per pound: a poor predictor for future growth in the satellite and launch industries. Understanding Moore’s law and future industry drivers”, Paper, Presentation

2013: Lluc Palerm Serra, Jordi Barrera Ars and Jorge Salas Solanilla, “Microsatellites and Microlaunchers: The Tandem That Will Disrupt the Satellite Industry”, Paper

2012: Asra Najam, “Game theory analysis for the suborbital reusable launch vehicle research market”, Paper