Tests in Orbit - The ISS Student Experiment Competition


The UAE Space Agency and the Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT) are hosting an International Space Station student experiment competition, known as "Tests in Orbit". This competition invites university and college students in the UAE, working in teams, to develop, design and conduct a “nano-experiment”.

The winning experiments, may eventually be launched to the International Space Station (ISS), as part of the UAE Astronaut Program.

The launch opportunity is possible due to partnership with DreamUp, & its collaboration with NanoRacks, via its Space Act Agreement with NASA. 

The competition aims to aid research in the effects of microgravity on: 

A.     Life in Space: This will explore life in microgravity. Experiments can cover any of the following five suggested areas of research, in order to ensure the optimal health and safety of Astronauts during prolonged exposure to zero gravity environments:

1.     Bone Cells, Muscle Cells and Immune Responses

2.     Haemopoietic System

3.     Microbiome

4.      Stability and  Kinetic Behaviour of Medicines in Space

5.     Gene Expression

Click Life in Space Experiment to find out more.

B.     Energy in Space: This calls on students to test new power sources that could work well in a microgravity environment. The subject of the experiment from the energy perspective can be a study in one of the following fields:

1.     Solar Power-Based Space Energy

2.     Solar Satellite

3.     Space-Based Smart Grids      

Click Energy in Space Experiment to find out more.



1.     Competition launch – November 15, 2018

2.     Webinar –  December 9, 2018

3.     Short entries close – February 21st, 2019

4.     Close of entries using long application  - March 3rd, 2019

5.    Selection of finalists - March 17 - 18, 2019

6.     Selection of winners - March 20th, 2019



In addition to launching your experiments to the ISS, Tests in Orbit will provide you with:  

1.     Technical and engineering support, by NanoRacks engineers and subject matter experts throughout the competition. 

2.     Technical support with the development of the winning payloads that will be integrated into two NanoLabs enclosures, and sent to the ISS.

3.     Participation in a myLaunch experience, with reasonable travel and logistics costs for trip to launch site in the USA provided by the competition.  Please note, restrictions may apply based on government guidelines.



By registering for the competition all applicants agree to the following terms and conditions relating to Intellectual Property:

1.     For the purposes of this competition, the term Intellectual Property shall mean patented and unpatented inventions, designs, drawing, notes, written works, mask works, copyrighted works, trade secrets, know-how and Proprietary Information. 

2.     The UAE Space Agency and the winning parties shall jointly retain full ownership in all Intellectual Properties that are generated during, as part of, or produced or acquired by such party prior to or independently of, this competition.

3.     Should any Intellectual Property be generated by the winning team or teams in undertaking this competition, then the ownership, use, publication, production and exploitation of the Intellectual Property generated will owned by the winning team or teams and the UAE Space Agency.


If you require any further information regarding the competition, please contact testsinorbit@hct.ac.ae 




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21 November 2018
27 January 2020