Orbital Space


EXPERIMENT ON THE MOON: Lunar Payload Mission

We invite innovators from all over the world to submit ideas for experiments or tests that could be conducted on the Moon.
Winning payload will go to the moon

Challenge Overview


We are Orbital Space and we are on a mission to make space accessible to everyone! We believe all people should have equal opportunity to reach for, explore and study space.

One way to understand Orbital Space is to look at our track record. In the past we launched EIS - a science experiment by high school students to the International Space Station and an educational CubeSat giving students around the world the unique opportunity to test their code on a live satellite in space!

"Join Our Next Space Mission – This time we go to the Moon!" 

Experiment on the Moon

We want to challenge the next generation of innovators to use their imaginations to propose science and exploration concepts for the Moon. 

Are you an aspiring scientist, engineer, inventor or innovator? Are you interested in learning about different environments and technologies? Do you like space missions? If so, this competition is for you! 

The purpose of this competition is to encourage and empower individuals or teams to develop, design and conduct scientific experiments or technology tests to be carried to the surface of the moon onboard of a commercial Moon lander. 

The uniqueness of the Moon’s environment can enable the development of something new which is not possible to be developed on Earth. This competition allows you to learn how real scientists and engineers conduct their experiments and technology tests. Through this competition, you can also explore a topic that interests you, learn about the environment on the Moon and create your own experiment to be conducted on the surface of the Moon!



Challenge Guidelines

Payload Constraints 

The experiment or test hardware must fit within a small payload container with maximum external dimensions of 100 x 100 x 100 mm and a total mass of 200 g. The payload will be integrated into a Lunar Lander which will land on the surface of the Moon. The payload could be facing up (sky view), side (horizon view), bottom (surface view). Limited power [in the order of 200 mW] and limited data bandwidth link [2 kbps] will be provided by the Lunar Lander. Thermal management is not provided so the payload should have the ability to manage lunar surface temperatures. 

In a specific time window during the Lunar Lander mission, a command will be sent to activate the payload to run the experiment or test and collect data. Then the data will be sent back to earth at sometime before the conclusion of the Lunar lander mission. Total mission duration is 1 Lunar day (about 14 Earth days)    

To avoid biological contamination on the Moon, biological payloads are not allowed 


Time Constraints

Given we are targeting to launch in Q2 2025, there is a limited time to develop and test the payload. Therefore, the payload hardware must be ready-for-launch (hardware already proven to work under relevant conditions)


Who is Eligible

The competition is open to anyone from any country age 18 or older participating as an individual or as a team. Younger individuals can be a part of the team as long as at least two members are 18 or older.  Individual competitors and teams may originate from any country. No specific qualifications or expertise in the field is required. We encourage non-expert individuals and teams to compete and propose new ideas. 

To be eligible to compete, you must comply with all the terms of the challenge as defined in the Challenge-Specific Agreement.



This challenge doesn't have a cash prize. The prize for the lucky winner/winning team is a fully paid payload delivery service to the surface of the Moon

This Moon mission will be identified as Orbital Space mission, carry the UAE flag, and the winner/winning team name(s) will be included as member(s) of the mission's Science Team. The winner/winning team will be acknowledged in public media for their idea and contribution to this Moon mission. 


Competition Phases

There are two phases in this competition.


Phase 1: 

All submissions will be screened for eligibility. Your proposal should have the following points at the minimum:

  • Justification to send your payload to the Moon
  • Your capabilities, technical maturity of the hardware/software, and impact of your proposed payload
  • Project plan including a timeline, a budget, and other technical resources required
  • Total mass and volume of the payload match the payload constraints indicated above


Judging Criteria

Section DescriptionOverall Weight

Complexity of 

the idea and Impact

Level 1: Replicate something known to confirm previous findings (25%)

Level 2: Expand on something known with modest improvements (50%)

Level 3: Devise and carry out something new and original (100%)

Clarity of the idea

Technical soundness of proposed payload idea (50%)

Clear description of technology/instrumentation to be used (25%) 
Likelihood that individual/team will be able to successfully develop proposed payload (25%)

Technical MaturityThe likelihood that proposed payload can be developed and be ready for launch in Q2 202530

Novelty or creativity of proposed idea (50%)

Clever use of existing technologies or work-around of existing limitations/constraints (50%)



The top 10 ideas will be the winners of Phase 1.


Phase 2:

The shortlisted top 10 ideas will be invited to virtually present live in front of a judging panel of experts to select the final winning idea. Judging criteria will be similar to phase 1. 

The winner of the pitch session will have their payload on the manifest for a mission to the moon in Q2 2025.


Intellectual Property

The winner of this competition will maintain IP ownership and must agree to grant Orbital Space a royalty free, non-exclusive, irrevocable, world-wide license in all Intellectual Property demonstrated by the winning idea proposal. See the Challenge-Specific Agreement for complete details.


What to Include in you Idea Proposal 

  • Your name and contact details.  If submitting as a team, please list the name and contact details of each team member. Include the role/expertise for each team member
  • An overview of your idea, why it should go to the Moon, and what would you gain from it
  • The total mass and volume of your payload
  • Discuss in detail the hardware/software to be used, how it would work, and why this is a great idea to be sent to the Moon. What will be the impact of this idea on future missions to the Moon
  • Discuss the readiness (ready-for-launch) of your payload for Q2 2025 launch. 
  • Discuss your project plan. If selected as the winner, how would you develop your payload, what would you need to complete the project successfully on time. Include a timeline, a budget, and other technical resources required
  • All information provided should be in English 

General Terms

  • Participating in this competition is free of any charges or fees
  • Participating in this competition means that each participant agrees to submit only their original idea. Any sign of plagiarism or misinformation will result in disqualifying the participant(s) 
  • No compensation of any kind will be given for the efforts/expenses made for the submitted proposals (successful or unsuccessful submissions)

Challenge Updates

Judging Panel

Dec. 1, 2022, 1:58 a.m. PST by Orbital Space

Abdulla Al Shehhi joined the UAE Space Agency in 2016, and currently heading the Strategic Research Section. He’s part of the Emirates Mars Mission team that worked in the development of the Arab’s first Spacecraft to explore Mars. He’s certified Project Management Professional (PMP) and PMI Agile Certified Practitioner. Abdulla Published book chapters, journal articles and conference papers on various science and technology topics.

Abdulla holds masters degree in Mechanical Engineering from MIT & Masdar Institute, and a bachelor degrees from RMIT Australia. He graduated with a first-class honors, and was awarded as UAE’s top graduates in 2016 by HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid for his outstanding achievements. Abdulla has also worked in various international enterprises i.e. Airbus, Mitsubishi Heavy Industry, Lockheed Martin.

Judging Panel

Nov. 20, 2022, 7:59 p.m. PST by Orbital Space

Nada Alshammari is an educator, filmmaker, and entrepreneur. Nada is the founder of the Kuwait based MAP2 and partner at Orbital Space. Her role at Orbital Space is to lead the company’s efforts in developing and creating opportunities for young people to engage with and take part in space missions and activities. She has worked on projects with the Asian Development Bank, OPEC Fund for International Development, United Nations Women and Development Program and Kuwait’s Supreme Council for Planning and Development. Nada currently leads the Applied Media team at the Sharjah Campuses of the Higher Colleges of Technology in the UAE. Previously she has worked with the Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research in the Science & Technology and Marketing & Commercialization Sectors.

Judging Panel

Nov. 15, 2022, 10:26 a.m. PST by Orbital Space

Dr. Sara AlMaeeni heads the Radio Frequency communication team and also a project scientist of the Emirates Lunar Mission (ELM). She joined the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) in 2016 and worked as an expert in space communications. She worked on improving existing space technologies and developed new satellite equipment and products and collaborated with external research and development institutes to disseminate knowledge in the UAE.

Dr. Sara received her PhD from Khalifa University in Communications Engineering. For her dissertation, she contributed with a novel mathematical framework for the error rate in cooperative communications. She is also a committee member of different international technical conferences. Her research interests are in lunar exploration, space communications, and satellite image processing.

Judging Panel

Nov. 9, 2022, 6:51 a.m. PST by Orbital Space

Jennifer Lopez leads commercial lunar payloads as the Director of Business Development, Commercial and Civil Space at Astrobotic Technology, Inc. – a space robotics and lunar logistics company that provides full service, end-to-end payload delivery to the Moon.

Prior to Astrobotic, Jennifer served as the Technology Lead in Commercial Innovation and Sponsored Programs with the International Space Station U.S. National Laboratory for almost 4 years, where she identified, developed, and fostered space-based R&D and breakthrough technological innovations. Research areas under her leadership included space systems, in- space manufacturing, robotics, AI and other emerging technologies aimed to maximize utilization of the ISS for terrestrial benefit and help pave the way toward commercialization in low Earth orbit and future orbiting platforms.

Jennifer serves on the RESOURCE (Resources for Exploration & Science of OUR Cosmic Environment) team, a project funded by NASA's Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute (SSERVI) to determine types of volatiles for in-situ resource utilization (ISRU) on the Moon. Jennifer also serves on the Advisory Council of the Physics & Astronomy Department at Johns Hopkins University. She is a Founding Member of the NASA Datanaut Corps program at NASA Headquarters and is a National Geographic Explorer.

Most recently Jennifer served as a member of the judging panel for NASA's 2022 Breakthrough, Innovative, and Game-changing (BIG) Idea Challenge.

Judging Panel

Nov. 4, 2022, 6:23 a.m. PDT by Orbital Space

Bassam Alfeeli is life-long space enthusiast trained by NASA astronauts and engineers at the Florida Space Institute. He has diverse technical and scientific backgrounds in advanced technologies including nanotechnology, lasers & photonics, advanced nuclear reactors design, and space technologies. He is founding partner and general manager of Orbital Space and led several private space missions which included a science payload to the International Space Station in 2020 and a CubeSat in low earth orbit launched in 2021. He is passionate about making space accessible to all.