With Tech The Moon, eight new start-ups aim for the Moon

Half a century after the end of the Apollo program, in 1972, the United States is preparing to return to the Earth’s natural satellite and Artemis-1 is the first stage of this return. It will not yet be time for the big show since this mission, which has been postponed twice, will not land on the Moon and will be carried out without a crew. The only humanoid passenger, a dummy equipped with sensors that will measure the acceleration on takeoff and the violent deceleration during re-entry into the atmosphere.

It is the next mission, Artemis-2, which will carry astronauts to the Moon in 2024, without landing there. This honor will be reserved for the crew of Artemis-3, in 2025 at the earliest. This American project, carried by NASA, includes France and the National Center for Space Studies (Cnes), which already in 2021 had anticipated the conquest of the Moon. Indeed, the Toulouse structure and incubator Nubbo had created the Tech The Moon program exclusively dedicated to the lunar economy in order to select five start-ups capable of embarking on this mission.

After a first year of existence, the incubator has made a second selection of projects that develop innovative and concrete technological solutions to support a sustainable human presence on the Moon, which closed on August 26.

October 4, selection committee meeting

This choice was made according to “demanding” criteria, reports Anne-Laure Charbonnier, the general manager of Nubbo. Among the non-negotiable conditions: a viable business model hypothesis at twelve months, the full-time availability of the main project leader and the installation of the start-up in Occitanie. As for the technologies developed, they are broad: they include, for example, food or health on board lunar bases, infrastructures or technologies useful for the exploitation of light and water. “Fifteen cases have been filed. Which is a good surprise,” reports Anne-Laure Charbonnier. “Eight of them will be presented to the selection committee which will meet on October 4th. »

Among the candidates already selected, a “small” half is from Toulouse, blows the general manager of Nubbo, without saying more. Within the first harvest of incubated projects, The Exploration Company, which imagined a reusable lunar orbital vehicle, has already raised 5 million euros.

Audrey Sommazi

Pictured: The gibbous Moon above Earth as seen from the International Space Station. Credit: NASA.

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