eSpace's mission is to:
- Help aerospace entrepreneurs start new companies by providing them with an environment that maximizes the probability of business success;
- Develop commercial applications from the innovative technologies created within these companies; and
- Collaborate with industry and academia to provide life-changing career opportunities for high school, community college, and university graduates.
Launched in last month, eSpace will provide a venue to test new innovations and meet NASA specifications. Jim Spellman's article says, "In a cavernous testing facility called the 'Incubator,' specialized equipment recreates the unique conditions of a journey into space -- from platforms that mimic the violent shaking at liftoff to chambers that replicate space's bitter cold and complete vacuum."
Mr. Spellman explains that eSpace's executive director, Scott Tibbitts, "believes that in the near future, NASA's programs will be supplemented more often by entrepreneurial space ventures. He thinks eSpace can help these companies work toward making space exploration more affordable and accessible to private citizens."
Diane Dimell, director of eSpace, says "'Our goal is to help small aerospace companies to get off the ground.'" eSpace will provide entrepreneurs the opportunity "'to commercialize their technology and to help develop the work force that will fuel their growth.'"
In addition to the eSpace Incubator, eSpace Venture Design is a collaborative program between eSpace and the University of Colorado Aerospace Engineering Sciences department that is funded in part by the Metro Denver WIRED Initiative. eSpace provides a total of $90,000 in grants to 3-5 graduate level design projects each with a two-part objective:
- To provide an extraordinary hands-on learning experience for students by developing an aerospace technology, in the laboratory, with an eye towards developing products with commercial potential; and
- To use the design project to create a commercially viable technology, with the business elements of the technology (business plan, developing market need, developing capabilities to meet that need) forwarded concurrently with the design project. The ultimate objective being to transition the project to the eSpace incubator.
eSpace Venture Design program is supporting the following programs in 2009: Colorado Student Space Weather Experiment (CCSWE), Mini Jet Engine for UAV's, and SmartSondes for Atmospheric Testing.
Another component of eSpace is their Straight to Space (S2S) program, which aims to develop opportunities for individuals interested and capable of contributing to the aerospace industry, but not currently on a track for a four-year college degree.