From the participation in a local hackathon to international prominence and inclusion among the world's five most promising projects for technological innovation in the space field. This is the story of the Italian team named LoveInSpace, which after forming at I3P last November to compete in ActInSpace Turin 2022, won the first prize of the local edition and three months later flew to Cannes, France, to represent Italy in the competition's international finals.
The project of the Italian team
Composed of Beatrice Cascone, Filippo Giustini, Lorenzo Moretti and Kristers Nagainis, the team had won the last Turin edition of the ActInSpace hackathon - hosted by I3P as part of the activities of the ESA BIC Turin incubation program - with its proposal for a new type of air sanitisation filter, composed of already available and durable technologies with minimal maintenance requirements.
According to the project, titled 'Breathe Safely in Space', the filter could be commercialised both for applications on Earth (public transport, healthcare facilities, viral emergencies) and in space scenarios (space stations, moon bases, missions to Mars). The innovative value of the proposal and its market potential had earned it the First Place Prize, which included a pre-incubation course at I3P to try to turn the project into a real start-up, and the trip to France towards the international final of ActInSpace 2022.
On February 13th and 14th, on the stage of the Palais des festivals in Cannes, the LoveInSpace team was thus able to present its pitch, together with the other finalists from around the world, and be selected in the shortlist of the Top 5 in contention for the absolute prizes. The group of young innovators from Turin then competed against teams Nexus from Azerbaijan (later elected winner of the International Grand Prize), The Crispy from Latvia, Space Wardens from Slovakia and K-Polo Art from Ecuador.
"We are in the world top 5! I cannot believe it. Thank you to ActInSpace and all the sponsors," commented Beatrice Cascone shortly after the selection, not hiding her excitement at the international jury's recognition of the project and at how far the team had come on this first adventure, started out of passion, in the world of space business.
Looking at the future
Launched by the French space agency CNES in 2014, co-organised by the ESA since 2016 and now managed by Aerospace Valley, the ActInSpace global hackathon aims to stimulate entrepreneurship in the space field, especially among young people, by fostering the creation of start-ups offering services that benefit citizens, jobs and our planet. Now in its fifth edition, the competition brought together this year 1,700 participants in 65 cities in 34 countries and on 5 continents - including 50 participants in the local event in Turin, Italy's only host city - presenting a total of over 400 start-up projects.
The 2022 edition of the hackathon was supported by several international sponsors: Airbus, AirZeroG, Air Liquide, EBAN Space (European Business Angels Network), ESSP (European Satellite Services Provider), EUSPA (EU Agency for the Space Programme), OVHcloud and Sopra Steria. In addition, Thales Alenia Space was an official partner for the international final.
Looking forward to the next edition of ActInSpace, scheduled for 2024, what is on the horizon for the LoveInSpace team? "It was a wonderful and inspiring experience, and we look forward to returning to Italy to continue developing our project with the help of I3P," commented Lorenzo Moretti immediately after the final. "Looking at the profiles of the other groups, mostly engineers, we keep wondering how two astrophysicists, a marketing strategist and an expert in space diplomacy could have made it this far," commented Filippo Giustini ironically. "Actually, the real question is: how far will we get?".