TechConnect’s Challenge Rules and Participant Agreement (“Agreement”) apply specifically to the Orbital Alchemy Challenge (“Challenge”). In order to participate in this Challenge, you (“You” or “Participant”) are required to read and understand the terms of this Agreement and the Supplementary Guidance (“Guidance”) published on TechConnect’s Challenge website.

ORGANIZER AND SPONSOR. TechConnect Ventures (“TechConnect” or “Organizer”) is the administrator for this Challenge. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) (“NASA” or “Sponsor”) is the Sponsor for this Challenge.


(a) This Challenge is governed solely by this Agreement and Guidance.

(b) By submitting an Entry (“Entry”, “Response”, “Submission”) to this Challenge, YOU AGREE TO BE BOUND BY THE AGREEMENT AND GUIDANCE, WHICH TOGETHER CONSTITUTE A BINDING AGREEMENT between the Participant and the Organizer. NASA is a third-party beneficiary of this Challenge. By your entry and participation in the challenge you agree to be bound by these rules.

(c) It is the Participant’s responsibility to remain informed as to any changes to the Agreement and Guidance. In the event of any question or matter arising out of any point not expressly provided for in any of the Agreement and Guidance documents, the decision of the Organizer shall be final. In the event of any dispute regarding the Agreement, Guidance, or any matter relating to the Challenge, the Organizer’s decision shall be final and unchallengeable, and no correspondence or discussion shall be entered into, comment issued, or reason given in respect of any decision made by the Organizer.  Should there be any conflict between this Agreement and Guidance documents, this Agreement takes precedence.

(d) Participants are responsible for compliance with applicable laws and regulations relating to your participation in this Challenge. Participants are responsible for abiding by their employer’s policies regarding participation in this Challenge. Participants are responsible for all taxes and reporting related to any award received as part of the Challenge.

Furthermore, all winning entries are subject to verification of eligibility to win prizes under federal guidelines. Participants are responsible for ensuring that they and their submission are in full compliance with all relevant local, regional or national regulations in their country. Check with your local authorities concerning questions about your eligibility. Any winning submissions found to be in violation of prize regulations in their locale will be offered the option to be acknowledged as a winner without receiving a cash prize or will be disqualified from the Challenge without exception.

(e) Organizers disclaim any and all liability or responsibility for disputes arising between you, your employer and any other party related to this Challenge on its behalf and that of the Sponsor.

2. PARTICIPANT: Participant is the Submitter of each Entry and is solely responsible to receive all communications from Organizer related to this Challenge and to ensure compliance with this Agreement and Guidance.

3. CHALLENGE DATES: Pre-registration for the Challenge starts on Wednesday, 03/23/2022 7:00 am Eastern Standard Time (EST). To pre-register for this Challenge, all Participants must register on TechConnect’s Orbital Alchemy Challenge website ( Pre-registration is not required for participation in the Challenge but allows Participants to indicate their anticipated prize preference, register for the informational webinar as well as provide Organizer with notice of Participant’s interest.

To be considered a participant in the Challenge, individuals or teams must submit their non-confidential response via the Challenge website. No other means of entry will be considered. 

The Challenge website will open to submission on Tuesday, 03/29/2022 7:00 am Eastern Standard Time (EST). All Entries must be received electronically as indicated on TechConnect’s Challenge website by Friday, 05/27/2022 8:00 pm EST. Late Entries will not be considered. Dates are subject to change.

4.  ELIGIBILITY: Participation in the Challenge is free and open to all individuals and teams, provided that no participating individual is a citizen of a country on the NASA Export Control Program List Category II: Countries determined by Department of State to support terrorism. (The current list of designated countries can be found at This includes individuals with dual citizenship, unless they are a U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent U.S. resident (green card holder). Further, pursuant to Public Law 112-55, NASA is prohibited from participating, collaborating, or coordinating bilaterally in any way with China or any Chinese-owned company. 

All Participants must be at least eighteen (18) years of age or, if the legal age of majority in his or her jurisdiction of residence at the time of entry is greater than eighteen (18) years of age, then such greater legal age of majority, or must have a written authorization from a parent or legal guardian. 

Participation by individuals under the age of 18 is permitted when any such individuals provide a signed and dated Minor Participation Agreement. The Minor Participation Agreement must be included as part of the proof of citizenship during the submission process. Furthermore, for any individual under the age of 18 or a team with one or more members under the age of 18, the official response submission must be made by an individual over the age of 18 with an acceptable form of proof of citizenship for the submitter. Any response which does not include either proof of citizenship for all participants or the Minor Participation Agreement from legal guardians in the event of underage participation or which is not made by an individual over the age of 18 will be deemed ineligible for consideration and participation in this Challenge.

Participants are required to provide proof of citizenship as part of the submission process by including a scanned image of an approved form of proof. Acceptable forms of proof include: RealID driver’s license, passport, national ID card, Certificate of: Birth, Naturalization or Citizenship. Additionally, proof of citizenship must be provided for all team members. Failure to provide acceptable documentation providing citizenship will result in disqualification from consideration. The following information must be viewable and legible for all documentation provided as proof of citizenship, regardless of document type or source:

  • First and last name of the participant
  • Date of Birth
  • Issuing government agency or department
  • Expiration date, if applicable

Any submission which includes proof of citizenship that does not provide the above information will be deemed ineligible for consideration and participation in this Challenge. All  other information on a citizenship document, including but not limited to: address, state or national identification number may be redacted or obscured from view. All submitted citizenship documents will be destroyed upon acceptance of awards.

Participants, including but not limited to, companies (small to large), academic researchers, other research institutes, accelerators, incubators, technology transfer firms, consultants, venture capitalists, entrepreneurs, or inventors are welcome. Entries from teams and collaborative groups of Participants (“Teams”) are welcome. Entries from students or student teams are welcome, provided that the individual submitting the response complies with the minimum age requirement set forth above. For all Teams, a primary contact must be designated for the Entries and any follow-up communications. Organizer is not responsible for any engagement of or communication with Team members not designated as the primary contact. Organizer shall not be held responsible for or party to any teaming agreements, verbal, written or implied, between members of a Team in generation or Entry. All working relationships, including any distribution or sharing of any awards, including prize money, related to your Team are your own.

NASA employees are eligible to submit an Entry for this Challenge. Participating NASA employees must provide notice of employment to the Organizer in submission materials. Failure to provide clear and sufficient notice will result in immediate disqualification from participation. NASA employees will not be eligible to receive any financial compensation, of any kind, as a result of participation in this Challenge. NASA employees may not utilize resources inaccessible to other Challenge participants, including but not limited to: knowledge of current or future NASA operations or plans, government schematics, or government computers. Any submission materials from NASA employees must be created outside of their professional duties and time. Members of the Challenge’s Judging Panel are not eligible to submit an entry for this Challenge. Please contact the Office of General Counsel for any other limitations or restrictions which may impact your ability to participate in this Challenge. 

If you are an Employee of another Federal Agency, contact your Agency’s Office of General Counsel regarding your ability to participate in this Challenge. If you are a Government contractor or are employed by one, your participation in this Challenge may also be restricted. If you or your employer receives government funding for similar projects, you or your employer are not eligible for an award under this Challenge. In addition, the U.S. government may have intellectual property rights in your solution if your solution was made under a government contract, grant or cooperative agreement. Under such conditions, you may not be eligible for a prize award. If you work for a government contractor and this solution was made either under government contract, grant or cooperative agreement or while performing work for the employer, you should seek legal advice from your employer’s General Counsel on your conditions of employment which may affect your ability to submit a solution to this Challenge and/or to accept prize award

Employees and family members of TechConnect or Advanced Technologies International (ATI) and any of their respective affiliates and subsidiaries are not eligible to enter this Challenge.

6.   HOW TO ENTER: To enter, you must submit an Entry through the designated Challenge Submission Page on TechConnect’s Challenge website and complete the Participation Agreement and Release (each member of a team Entry must complete the Participation Agreement and Release). TechConnect’s Challenge website will provide further instructions, requirements, criteria, fillable fields, uploads and other details regarding the required submission format. All Entries must be in English, without exception. Where applicable, Entry attachments may be submitted in .pdf, .xls, .xlsx, .doc, docx, .ppt, .pptx, or .mp4 formats. All Entries must be submitted through the TechConnect’s Challenge website submission page by:

  • Completing all fields of the submission (or registration) form;
  • Uploading required files via the provided upload field at the time the Entry is submitted;
  • Completing submission by clicking the “Submit” button.

To be eligible to participate, a complete and compliant submission must be received electronically as indicated on TechConnect’s Challenge website by 8:00 pm EST on Friday, 05/27/2022. Late Entries will not be considered. Dates are subject to change.

Entries submitted in any other manner than that described above shall be considered ineligible. Organizers will not accept any Entries or attachments submitted via email, physical mail, courier, fax or otherwise, or that are submitted beyond the deadline.

Multiple entries are permitted. Entries will be reviewed independently and shall have no bearing on the review of additional Entries submitted by the Participant, except in the case of a breach of this Agreement resulting in a disqualification of the Participant.

By submitting an Entry, you agree that (a) all required fields are complete and all information in your Entry is correct and accurate; and (b) your registration may be rejected or terminated, and all Entries submitted by you may be disqualified if any of the information provided is (or the Organizer has reasonable grounds to believe it is) incomplete, incorrect or inaccurate. All Participants are solely responsible for their Entry. All registration information is deemed collected in the U.S.

The Organizer is not responsible for: (a) late, lost, stolen, damaged, garbled, incomplete, incorrect or misdirected Entries or other communications; (b) errors, omissions, interruptions, deletions, defects, or delays in operations or transmission of information, in each case whether arising by way of technical or other failures or malfunctions of computer hardware, software, communications devices, or transmission lines; or (c) data corruption, theft, destruction, unauthorized access to or alteration of Entry materials, loss or otherwise.

The Organizer is not responsible for electronic communications or emails which are undeliverable as a result of any form of active or passive filtering of any kind, or insufficient space in any email account to receive email messages. The Organizer disclaims any liability for damage to any computer system resulting from participation in or accessing or downloading of information in connection with the Challenge.

Participants are solely responsible for all equipment, expenses, resources, insurance and/or costs incurred by or on behalf of any Participant while participating in the Challenge.


7.  ENTRY CRITERIA GUIDELINES: Entry guidelines and descriptions of all items and information required to complete an Entry for the Challenge are available on the Challenge webpage. See the Challenge webpage for additional details.

8.   CHALLENGE JUDGING: Entries submitted to the Challenge will be evaluated by a panel comprised of individuals who are competent in the subject matter of the Challenge (the “Judging Panel” or “Judges”). Organizer reserves the right to assign or remove Judges at any time.

Organizer is under no obligation to notify Participants of any changes to the Judging Panel. Organizer is under no obligation to disclose any information about any Judges.

Entries will be evaluated based on compliance with the Challenge requirements, Entry criteria and with the information provided on the Challenge webpage. Judging of Entries will occur after the Challenge Entry deadline and will be completed in advance of the announcement of any winners. All decisions of the Judging Panel, including any decisions to name no winners, will be final and binding on all matters relating to this Challenge.

All Eligible Entries will be evaluated 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?

Judging: Starting May 28, 2022, the panel of Judges will judge eligible Entries based on the criteria above and select the winners of the Challenge (the “Winners”).  All evaluations and judging will take place inside the United States of America, without exception.

The Winners will be the entries with the highest total points.  In the event of a tie, the Judges will re-judge the tied entries using the Criteria until such time as a winner is determined. The Judges’ decision will be final and binding.  The Winners will be announced by July 25, 2022 at 7 pm ET. 

9.   AWARDS: The Organizer will announce the Challenge Winners and their respective Challenge award (“Award”) via the TechConnect’s Challenge website by July 25, 2022 at 7 pm ET, and each Winner will be notified by email.

Funds will be awarded according to the following:

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

There is no offer of a royalty, or other financial compensation implied beyond the award described above. No costs or expenses of a Participant for any aspect of this Challenge will be paid by the Organizer. Each Award Winner is responsible for any and all tax reporting obligations and any and all tax payments as applicable.

10. VERIFICATION OF WINNERS: 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.

Winning an Award is contingent upon fulfilling all requirements set forth in this Agreement. Each Winner will be required to sign and return any Affidavit of Eligibility/Compliance and  Publicity/Liability Release in order to receive an Award. Failure to sign and return all such requested documentation by the return date specified by the Organizer after notification of winning an Award will result in forfeiture of the Award and the subsequent selection of an alternate potential Winner. If the Winner has elected a monetary prize, the Winner will be issued an appropriate tax form (e.g., Form 1099) in the amount of the approximate retail value (ARV) of its Award. Each potential Winner must comply with all of the terms and conditions contained in this Agreement and the issuance of its Award is contingent upon fulfilling all of the requirements herein.  Winners will be contacted on or about July 30, 2022 to provide any proof of eligibility/required documents.  All Winners will be notified by the e-mail address provided in the Entry. Return of any Award notification as “undeliverable” will result in disqualification. The Organizer reserves the right to examine Entries for compliance with this Agreement and Guidance. Failure of a Participant to demonstrate eligibility will result in disqualification.

Upon acceptance of any Award, Participants accepting monetary awards must execute the license to Sponsor prior to receipt of Award. No substitution or transfer of Award is permitted.

11. INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY (IP) RIGHTS: By submitting an Entry you represent that:

  • The Entry is the original work of the Participant named in the Entry (e.g., individual, team, entity) on whose behalf it is being submitted;
  • You have authority, warrant, and have sufficient rights to submit the Entry on behalf of the identified Participant whether an individual, team, or entity, e.g., a corporation;
  • Use of the Entry for this Challenge does not trigger any financial liability for Organizer or Sponsor;
  • In the event of being designated a winner and accepting any offered prize money, you have the authority and sufficient right to execute a License on behalf of the Participant identified in the Entry. You agree to promptly execute, prior to receiving any Award, any documents required by Organizer and Sponsor to effectuate the License and transfer any Challenge award. Execution of the License is required before transfer of any Challenge award. This License shall grant NASA, on behalf of the U.S. Government, a paid-up, nonexclusive, irrevocable, worldwide license in such copyrighted data to reproduce, prepare derivative works, distribute copies (including but not limited to distribute copies to the public), and perform publicly and display publicly by or on behalf of the Government the subject matter of the Entry; and
  • You warrant that use or manufacture of the subject matter of the Entry, to the best of your knowledge, does not violate the rights, including the intellectual property rights, of any third party as recognized by controlling law.

Participant shall indemnify and hold harmless Organizer for any claim arising out its duties as required by the Sponsor and occasioned by a breach of any of the representations in this Section. 

By accepting any Challenge award, each Participant thereby agrees to use of his/her name, city/state, likeness and/or Challenge award information, a synopsis of the Entry by Sponsor, or Organizer solely on behalf of the Sponsor, for promotional purposes in conjunction with this Challenge in any medium without additional compensation.

Use of Marks: Except as expressly set forth herein Participants shall not use the names, trademarks, service marks, seals, logos, insignias, trade dress, or any other designation of source or origin subject to legal protection, copyrighted material or similar IP (“Marks”) of Organizer or Sponsors in any way without such party’s prior written permission in each instance, which such party may grant or withhold in its sole and absolute discretion. 


Participants must indicate, during pre-registration and/or prior to the response submission, their decision to permanently waive consideration for any and all monetary awards as a result of participation in this Challenge. Participants who waive consideration for monetary awards will retain all intellectual property (IP) rights associated with their submission and technology and will not be asked to transfer any license to Challenge Organizer or Sponsor(s).

All decisions regarding acceptance or waiving of consideration for monetary prizes are irrevocable and permanent once an eligible submission has been made via the Challenge website. Organizers will not consider any requests to alter or nullify a decision once an eligible submission has been made. Multiple submissions are permitted. Each submission must include a determination of acceptance or waiving of consideration for monetary prizes. Entries which do not include such a determination will not be considered as a complete and eligible entry to this Challenge. For any Entry submitted by a team, each team member will be required to complete a Participation Agreement and Release, and all team members must agree as to whether they are opting-in or opting-out of monetary prizes.  If all team members’ Participation Agreements and Releases do not match with the same election, that team’s Entry will be categorized as having waived monetary awards.

Additionally, Winners may also be considered for the following (each subject to its own rules, terms and conditions):

  • Invitation to the pitch event to be held at Defense TechConnect Innovation Summit and Expo in September 2022;
    • Up to fifteen (15) top-rated respondents will be invited to pitch their technologies
    • Respondent 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; and
  • Opportunities to speak with broader space operations audiences.

13. CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION: You acknowledge that your Entry may be the subject of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. You acknowledge that any and all information included in your submission materials is non-confidential and non-proprietary in nature. You acknowledge that inclusion of any materials identified as “confidential” or “proprietary” or deemed to be such by the Organizer will result in immediate disqualification of that submission from consideration in the Challenge. You acknowledge that the Organizer may share the details of your Entry with designated third parties (e.g., Sponsor, Judges) for purposes as described in this Agreement and Challenge announcement.

14. PARTICIPANT’S PERSONAL INFORMATION AND PRIVACY: By entering the Challenge, each Participant is required to provide, and consents to the collection, retention, and use of, his or her personal information in accordance with the Organizer’s Privacy Policy (the “Privacy Policy”), available at The Organizer will use the information provided for purposes described in the Privacy Policy, as well as in administering the Challenge, notifying the Participant if selected to win a prize, and publicizing the name and/or likeness of the Winner, to the extent permitted by applicable law. The Organizer may update or change the Privacy Policy from time to time. Any change to the Privacy Policy will become effective when the Organizer posts the revised Privacy Policy on the link above. Each Participant is encouraged to periodically review the Privacy Policy to stay informed about how the Organizer collects, uses, and shares personal information.

By participating and submitting an entry, participant expressly consents and agrees that Organizer and any other participating parties are authorized to contact participant via email or any other form of media to make participant aware of information pertinent to the Challenge, and to distribute information regarding the Organizer featured products, special events or offers, or purchase incentives, provided participant has opted-in to receive such information. Participants may opt-out of any further email communication at any time by simply following the provided opt-out instructions in email.  

15.  WARRANTIES: By submitting an Entry, you represent and warrant that, the Entry: does not contain malicious code, viruses, malware, timebombs, cancelbots, worms, Trojan horses or other potentially harmful programs or other material or information; and Submission of the Entry does not violate applicable law or regulation.

A breach of any warranty or representation may result in the corresponding Entry being invalidated and/or Participant being disqualified under this Challenge.


(a)   Release:  By participating in the Challenge, Participant agrees to release and hold harmless the Sponsor, Organizer, and their respective parent companies, subsidiaries, affiliates, suppliers, distributors, advertising agencies, prize providers, and each of their respective officers, directors, employees, and agents (collectively, the “Released Parties”) from and against any claim or cause of action, including, but not limited to, personal injury, death, or damage to or loss of property, arising out of participation in the Challenge or receipt or use or misuse of an Award or any other prize associated with the Challenge. Except where prohibited, participation in the Challenge constitutes the consent of a Winner to the Organizer’s and Sponsor’s and their representatives’ or agents’ use of the Winner’s name, likeness, photograph, voice, opinions, biographical data, and/or contact information for promotional and other internal or external marketing purposes in any media, worldwide, without further compensation.  

(b)   Limitation of Liability: The Released Parties are not responsible for: (i) lost, late, stolen, misdirected, damaged, illegible, incomplete, garbled, or undelivered entries; (ii) fraud, technical problems, failures, malfunctions, or for any other technical problems or malfunctions associated with any telephone lines, computer systems, servers, provider hardware/software, lost or unavailable network connections or failed, incomplete, garbled or delayed computer transmissions or any combination thereof; (iii) any damage to any Participant’s computer system/software related to or resulting from any participation or activity in connection with the Challenge; or (iv) any incorrect or inaccurate information provided, published, or printed or any other factor beyond the Organizer’s control that impairs the integrity or proper functioning of the Challenge as determined by Organizer in its sole discretion. THE RELEASED PARTIES (X) MAKE NO WARRANTY, GUARANTY, OR REPRESENTATION OF ANY KIND CONCERNING THE AWARD (OR ANY PORTION THEREOF), AND (Y) DISCLAIM ANY IMPLIED WARRANTY. 

17. NO OBLIGATION: You acknowledge that multiple Participants may submit Entries that contain concepts, approaches, or technologies similar to your Entry and that the Organizer, Sponsor, and/or their respective subsidiaries and partners may already be investigating or developing solutions or have business activities that are related to or similar to those disclosed in your Entry. You acknowledge that Organizer’s actions with respect to another Entry or one of its own solutions, investigations, or business activities, even if similar to your Entry, shall not create any liability of any kind by Organizer to you or others. Further, the Organizer is not or shall not be restricted in any way from pursuing, developing, or commercializing, in any way that they see fit, independent of you and at its sole discretion, any activity or technology that is created independent of your Entry. For the avoidance of doubt, you acknowledge that the Organizer is not obligated to take any action whatsoever with regard to your Entry.

18. SEVERABILITY: The invalidity or unenforceability of any provision of this Agreement and Guidance shall not affect the validity or enforceability of any other provision. In the event that any provision is determined to be invalid or otherwise unenforceable or illegal, this Agreement and Guidance shall otherwise remain in effect and be construed in accordance with their terms as if the invalid or illegal provision was not contained herein.


20. ENTIRE AGREEMENT: This is the parties’ entire Agreement on this matter, superseding all previous negotiations or agreements and can only be modified by written agreement.

21. APPLICABLE LAW: You agree that this Agreement and Guidance and the relationship between you and Organizers shall be governed and construed under the laws of the State of South Carolina, U.S. Any action against the Sponsor is subject to Federal law. You acknowledge and agree that all aspects and content of your Entry, including all information, developments, inventions, and works of authorship, shall be treated as if made in the U.S. and U.S. laws relating to patents, inventions, assignments, and innovation compensation shall supersede the relevant laws of any country in which the Entry may have been conceived, developed, or reduced to practice.

Each Participant agrees that: (i) any and all disputes, claims, or causes of action arising out of or connected with the Challenge or any Award shall be resolved individually, without resort to any form of class action, and exclusively by the United States District Court for the District of South Carolina.

22. CONTEST RESULTS:  For an official winners list, after August 1, 2022, please send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to: ATTN: Ashley Heffernan, Re: TechConnect Challenge, Advanced Technology International, 315 Sigma Drive, Summerville, SC 29486.

23. SPONSOR ADDRESS: Advanced Technology International, 315 Sigma Drive, Summerville, SC 29486