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Who should apply?

The Care In Space Challenge (“CIS Challenge”) is open to entrepreneurs developing novel ​​solutions and technologies that support human health in space and/or are manufactured in space to support health on Earth--from new therapeutics to AI-enabled diagnostics to 3D bioprinting to biofuels. Ideal candidates are pre-seed and seed-stage companies with commercial applications in aerospace. We are looking for passionate entrepreneurs who are fully dedicated to building a better future.


What if I miss the application deadline?

The CIS Challenge will be an annual program, so if you are unable to apply this year, know that there will be another. We want everyone to have an equal opportunity to compete, and so we do not usually accept late applications; however, if you believe an exception should be made due to extenuating circumstances, please send your request to


What is the accelerator program schedule?

The details of the program are only shared with accepted applicants, but the 13-week schedule is composed of a mix of lectures, workshops, and one-on-one's with the CIS Challenge team and mentors. We know that you have a company to run, and we want you to take advantage of all the opportunities to meet with the industry leaders and experts who mentor with us, so lectures and workshops are limited to about five hours per week. 


Is the program virtual or in-person?

The accelerator program will be primarily virtual, with an in-person Demo Day during the final week of the program. There will be in-person networking opportunities throughout the program as well, for those able to attend.


How many companies are accepted into the program?

We work individually with each company that joins our program, so we keep cohorts small. From the finalists selected to pitch at the CIS Challenge Pitch Event, we will select 8-10 companies to receive investment and access to our accelerator.


How much will you invest in portfolio companies?

8-10 winning companies will receive a $100,000 investment in the form of a post-money SAFE (Simple Agreement for Future Equity) in exchange for 5% - 7% of the company. 

Does the program cost anything?

The CIS Challenge program is free. 


Does our company have to give up any control or IP if we are accepted?

The CIS Challenge does not ask for a board seat or any controlling interests in your company, and we do not want ownership of your company's IP. If we invite your company to join our program, it is because we believe in, not just what you are building, but in your ability to build it as well.


What makes the CIS Challenge unique?

The CIS Challenge was organized to spur innovation and growth within the nascent space health sector thereby increasing access to space and enabling extended human activity in space. As such, Starburst has brought together a network of leaders, subject matter experts, mentors, and advisors from all domains within both the biomedical and aerospace industries who seek to advance the future of human healthcare in space and on Earth.

Throughout the challenge, Starburst, in coordination with other challenge partners, will focus on creating the relationships and ecosystem necessary to support your company through the accelerator program and beyond. We recognize that the challenges your company will face are unique—as both biomedical and aerospace include a wide range of technologies and applications—and despite our industry focus and expertise, we do not expect the program to be one size fits all. We will actively leverage one-on-one time with our team and mentors to address your company’s specific needs to meet your long-term goals.

I need micro-gravity to support my research, but I don’t know if I want to form a company, should I still apply? 

The CIS Challenge was established to accelerate the development and commercialization of new healthcare related products and services for use in space and on Earth. Therefore, we are looking for entrepreneurs and prospective founders who are driven to bring their solutions to market and are committed to building a successful company. 


What do you look for in mentors?

Startups need accountants and recruiters as well as engineers and scientists. We are looking for biomed leaders with proven success, innovators and builders who have brought new concepts from design to market, investors who understand the intricacies of developing cutting edge technologies, professors and professional service providers who want to give back and support our community. Good mentors are passionate about what they know, curious about what they don’t know, altruistic, optimistic, and willing to share their network with and open doors for the entrepreneurs they support. Apply to be a mentor


Who can I contact for further questions regarding application submissions and/or general questions?
For any additional questions you have that cannot be found here, please email To stay up to date on CIS Challenge announcements and other Starburst aerospace accelerators and events, sign up for our newsletter and follow us on LinkedIn.

Have other questions? Watch our most recent AMA!

For additional information


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