Meet NASA’s iTech Top 25 Startup Semifinalists

The NASA iTech competition pits tech innovators from all around the country against each other in order to determine which 25 finalists have the ideas that hold “the most potential impact on future space exploration and support development of the most promising solutions.”

The Innovation Panel for the event was held at the 33rd Space Symposium in Colorado Springs, Colorado on April 5, 2017, and featured a mix of innovators, experts, and industry leaders who came together to determine which of a host of white-paper entries would take home a prize.

On May 4th, they announced the winners. The top ten finalists will be announced on June 10 and present their ideas to NASA’s chief technologists, space industry leaders and potential investors at the 2017 NASA iTech Forum during NASA Langley Research Center’s Centennial celebrations in July.

Meet the top 25 NASA iTech Cycle 2 semifinalists and their submitted challenge area that NASA is keeping its eye on:

Aesop Technologies, (Newport News, VA)
Aesop Nucleus, in the area of X-Factor Innovations

Apex Space Technologies (Tacoma, WA)
Cryogenic Vortex Scrubber for Carbon Dioxide and Water Vapor Removal, X-Factor Innovations

Applied Chaos Lab at NCSU (Raleigh, NC)
Adaptive, Fault Tolerant Hardware Suitable for Autonomous, Mission Sensitive Applications, Autonomy

AT&T Moonshot (Snohomish, WA)
Enabling High Earth Orbit Communications, Autonomy

Audacy  (Mountain View, CA)
Seamless and On-Demand Satellite Communications Architecture, X-Factor Innovations

Bitome (Boston, MA)
In Vivo Metabolism Monitoring by Miniaturized NMR Spectroscopy, Medical Systems and Operations

CALCE (University of Maryland, College Park, MD)
Fusion Prognostics for System Health Management

CALCE (University of Maryland, College Park, MD)
An Efficient Ensemble Learning Method for Classification of Big Data

CALCE (University of Maryland, College Park, MD)
Radiation Reliability of Electronics in Internet of Things Applications, for Radiation Protection and Mitigation

Complexity for Mars (Baltimore, MD)
Algorithms and Sensors for Network Analysis of Contributing Factors to Assess and Promote Mission Resilience in Human Space Flights, in the category of X-Factor Innovations

Context Medical (Santa Clara, CA)
Diagnostic Digital Biomarkers, for Medical Systems and Operations

Dominion Space (Austin, TX)
Self-Assembling, Self-Repairing Geodesic Domes and Spheres, for Autonomy

Eddy (Dallas, TX)
Eddy: The Brain for the First Autonomous Farm on Mars, for Big Data

Fiplate (Las Vegas, NV)
Tissue Regeneration After Radiological and Acute Trauma in Space, for Radiation Protection and Mitigation

NAG-Biosystems (Miami, FL)
Multifactor Supplement Solution for Radiation Protection and Mitigation, for Radiation Protection and Mitigation

Naval Postgraduate School (Monterey, CA)
Autonomous Operations of Large-Scale Satellite Constellations and Ground Station Networks, for Autonomy

Oceania (Honolulu, HI)
In-Situ Resource Utilization: Extraterrestrial Active Transformer for Elemental Recovery, for X-Factor Innovations

Omnivorous (Washington, DC)
Smart Tissue Autonomous Robot (STAR) for Terrestrial and Extraterrestrial Unmet Needs, in Autonomy

PacSci EMC (Chandler, AZ)
Modular Architecture Propulsion System (MAPS™), for X-Factor Innovations

QuantumStack (Suffolk, VA)
Decentralized Global Computer Network, in Big Data

SpaceBooster (Aurora, CO)
Interplanetary Spacecraft, in X-Factor Innovations

TriTex (Houston, TX)
Tradeoffs in Data Analytics, for Big Data

UHD Robotics Team (Houston, TX)
Cognitive Control of Robots with Functional Neuroimaging Data and Transfer Learning, for Autonomy

State University of New York at Buffalo (Amherst, NY)
Relative Navigation for a Formation of Spacecraft With Laser Communication Devices, for Autonomy

University of Houston (Houston, TX)
Biologically Inspired Adaptive Anti-Icing Surfaces, for X-Factor Innovations

Read more about startups helping NASA get to Mars at Tech.Co

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Adam is a writer at and has worked as a tech writer, blogger and copy editor for more than a decade. He was a Forbes Contributor on the publishing industry, for which he was named a Digital Book World 2018 award finalist. His work has appeared in publications including Popular Mechanics and IDG Connect, and his art history book on 1970s sci-fi, 'Worlds Beyond Time,' is out from Abrams Books in July 2023. In the meantime, he's hunting down the latest news on VPNs, POS systems, and the future of tech.
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