ENTREPRENEURS could have their products launched into space thanks to a competition from the UK Space Agency.

The Swindon organisation is looking for people with business ideas that could end up at the International Space Station.

It will provide funding and the first flight to the space station for the winning concepts.

Entries could be anything from medicines and innovative materials developed in microgravity, to space-flown consumer products.

The business applications space solutions fund from the European Space Agency will allow the UK agency to offer match funding of up to £1m.

“The global space sector is changing rapidly, and we want the UK to be at the forefront of the commercialisation of microgravity, as part of out vision to lead the new space age,” said head of applications strategy Emily Gravestock.

“This funding could help open up whole new markets, create jobs and growth here on earth and attract investment to support future research and exploration activities.”

Products will range in size from a small matchbox to a large shoebox, and will be able to make use of the facilities at the station, including power, data, temperature control and simulated gravity.

The competition is part of the European Space Agency’s Business in Space growth network, which brings together service providers, customers, and extra funding with the aim of boosting commercial research and applications in space.

Human exploration programme manager, Libby Jackson, said: “Even with technological improvements and the falling cost of launch, space travel is expensive.

“To support future exploration plans, including sending people to the moon and Mars, we are encouraging entrepreneurs from across the UK to develop new business ideas. The best ones could profit from a flight on the International Space Station.”

Science Minister Chris Skidmore said:“Developments in space inspired technology have resulted in truly remarkable breakthroughs - from the hi-tech materials we use in engineering to examining cancer molecules within the human body.

“It is amazing to see our most innovative businesses and entrepreneurs seizing one of the UK’s greatest opportunities. For them, the sky is not the limit. The opportunity to test their pioneering projects in space will help ensure the UK remains a global science superpower.”

For more information and to submit a proposal click here. The deadline is November 20, which is also the space station’s 21st birthday.