All eligible submissions will be evaluated by the Judging Panel according to the following metrics:

Technical Merit
Does the proposal describe the design and operation of an orbital system for performing one or more steps of recycling one or more materials from large space debris or end-of-life spacecraft?
Cost Effectiveness
Would the proposed solution be able to recycle more mass than itself, handle multiple recycling steps, handle multiple materials, require minimal support from Earth, handle multiple materials, and/or be adaptable to various recycle targets?
Does the proposal address the safe operation of the technology? Does it address preventing additional space debris?
Technical Maturity
How likely is the technology to be ready for deployment in 2030?
Does the proposal describe what makes this approach unique compared to alternatives?
Proposal Clarity
Is the proposal clear, concise, and well-organized?


The total prize pool for the Orbital Alchemy Challenge is $55,000. We will award prizes as follows:

  • One (1) first place prize: $25,000
  • One (1) second place prize: $10,000
  • Three (3) third place prizes: $5,000 each
  • Five (5) honorable mention prizes: $1,000 each

Additionally, participants and winners may also be considered for:

  • Invitation to a pitch event to be held at Defense TechConnect Innovation Summit and Expo in September 2022
    • We will invite up to fifteen (15) top-rated respondents to pitch their technologies during Defense TechConnect Conference, September 2022 in Washington, D.C.
    • Respondents may have competed for or have waived monetary awards.
  • Connections to technology accelerators or other innovation development programs including SBIR/STTR
  • Connections to existing developers and/or manufacturers
  • Invitations to NASA conferences and/or lectures
  • Opportunities to speak with broader space operations audiences

Participants are eligible to win multiple Awards provided that the Entries are clearly distinguishable as novel and different from one another as determined by the Judging Panel.