Lander Challenge for Startups SMEs

Pitch to Land! Seeking brightest startups to design and build the Lander of the Emirates Mission to the Asteroids Belt (EMA)

Museum of the future - Dubai


This challenge provides the opportunity for startups and SMEs to be part of the Emirates Mission to the Asteroids Belt (EMA) by developing the lander. The winner will have the opportunity to work on the design, build, and test of the lander to perform landing on its targeted asteroid.

This opportunity is part of UAE's efforts to foster the development of the private space sector capabilities, harnessing knowledge sharing and commercial partnerships between Emirati space sector companies, educational institutions, and scientists.


Design and develop a lander that will be released from the MBR Explorer and perform landing on the mission’s seventh asteroid. The lander should be capable of collecting data from the asteroid’s surface by safely delivering a scientific instrument to conduct in situ measurements.

The lander should showcase innovative technologies for landing, navigation, communication, and sample collection. The design should prioritize safety, efficiency, and the ability to withstand the deep space environment.

Award – The Grand Prize

Contract opportunity to design and develop the lander of the Emirates Mission to the Asteroids Belt (EMA).


  • The challenge is open to registered startups and small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) based in the UAE or willing to open offices and operate in the UAE.
  • Compliance with the overall guidelines and Ts&Cs as laid out in the Request for Proposal document.

Evaluation Criteria

  • Technical Feasibility: The viability and practicality of implementing the proposed design.
  • Innovation and Creativity: Uniqueness and creativity in the design of the concept.
  • Adaptability and Versatility: Adapted for various mission scenarios or repurposed for different mission objectives.
  • Safety and Reliability: Does the lander design prioritize safety for the mission equipment? Considering redundancies, or contingency plans in place to mitigate risks.
  • Payload Capacity and Integration: Does the design accommodate the required payload, instruments, and equipment?
  • Cost-Effectiveness: Does the lander design optimize costs without compromising on performance, safety, and quality?
  • Environmental Impact: How well does the design address environmental concerns, such as waste management and minimizing the impact on the celestial body's surface?
  • Documentation and Communication: Is the submitted documentation clear, comprehensive, and well-organized? Does the team effectively communicate the rationale behind design decisions and technical specifications?
  • Simulations and Testing: How well were the design's simulations and tests conducted to validate its performance and functionality?
  • Presentation and Communication: Can the participants convey complex technical concepts clearly and persuasively?
  • Potential for Industry Impact: potential impact of the design on the aerospace industry and space exploration as a whole?


  • Registration open: 10th September 2023.
  • Registration deadline: 29th September 2023.
  • Proposals submission deadline: 23rd October 2023.
  • Notification to finalists: 6th November 2023.
  • Final Pitch: between 13-17 November 2023.


Submit your application through this link: Click Here to Register.

Follow the steps that will be shared with you via email and submit your proposal by no later than 23rd October 2023.

The selected start-ups will be invited to pitch their proposals at Planet X Challenge during the Dubai Air Show 2023 to a team of experts.

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