NASA is sponsoring a $100,000 grand prize for the NewSpace Business Plan Competition taking place July 26-28 at the Space Frontier Foundation’s NewSpace 2012 Conference, being held this year at the U.S. space agency’s Ames Research Center in Mountain View, Calif.

As many as 10 finalists will be invited to present their business plans to a panel of judges featuring venture capitalists, angel investors and business development leaders, the Space Frontier Foundation said in a press release.

The $100,000 grand prize, as well as a $10,000 second prize, is funded by a grant from NASA Ames. The 2011 competition awarded $25,000 to Altius Space Machines, $5,000 to Celestial Circuits and $2,500 to Final Frontier Design. Last year’s smaller purse was co-funded by NASA and the Heinlein Prize Trust.

The 2012 competition seeks entries from seed, startup or early growth companies in space or space-related fields.

A letter of intent to compete is due April 20. Finalists will be announced June 8. Competition details and rules can be found at