On November 18, 2021, eight companies concluded their 3-month Accelerator with an on-site demonstration day at Catalyst Campus for Technology and Innovation. In attendance were Air Force, Space Force, and other Government personnel, subject matter experts from industry leaders, investors assessing the potential of cohort company technologies, and those curious about where the U.S. is heading with space technology. “Fielding an interoperable Modeling and Simulation framework is key to the USSF’s ability to deliver superior space capabilities and to provide robust realistic training environments necessary to prepare our Guardians to decisively win anywhere, anytime. The Government can’t do that alone. It’ll take strong partnerships between government, industry and academia to deliver innovative warfighting capabilities that keep the USSF ahead of any emerging threat,” says Tim LeRoy, Technical Director at STARCOM, when speaking about the importance of partnerships and Modeling and Simulation for the United States Space Force during Demo Day.
The Digital Engineering/Modeling and Simulation Accelerator was the eighth accelerator facilitated by Catalyst. The cohort was chosen for their technology and business readiness, from a pool of 22 companies. The problem statement was framed around how the United States Space Force might leverage modeling and simulation to improve operator training, system design, acquisition, architecture resilience, and operations. Technologies provided by cohort companies included gaming technologies, no-code digital infrastructure, automation, AR, XR, and AI.
Over the course of the Accelerator, the companies were guided by the following subject matter experts: Government Sherpas and end-users, enabling them to better understand Government space needs; business experts, helping them pivot their technology and corporate posture to position themselves well in the Government market; and Commercial Sherpas (Lockheed Martin, LinQuest Corporation, Deloitte, Ball Aerospace, Microsoft, Leidos, Delta Solutions and Strategies, and ManTech), helping them step into the Government arena with advice, consulting, and key contact introductions within the Government and Commercial sectors. Jonathan Torkelson from the cohort company, Embeddetech, explained, “The Catalyst Accelerator provided world-class training on the functioning of the DoD from every perspective, including talking to contracting officers and understanding their role, talking to operators, and understanding their pain points, as well as talking to the primes and understanding where we can fit in. The Accelerator provided clear insight into the diverse contracting opportunities available well beyond SBIRs. The Catalyst Accelerator easily represents hundreds of thousands of dollars of value that most startups with technology useful to the DoD could never afford.”
Demo Day was the culmination of the Digital Engineering/Modeling and Simulation Accelerator, which began on August 23, 2021. It was the final product of the cohort’s diligence, the re-imagining of their technology, the shifting of their business model to fit the new customer – Space for the U.S. Government. Each company then provided a brief pitch on their tech before attendees had the opportunity to follow-up individually with the small businesses. “Demo Day accomplished what we had hoped it would. After a short capabilities presentation, our eight cohort companies spent the next two hours talking to interested, relevant attendees from DoD and industry, along with investors in space technologies. This offered a great opportunity for cohort companies to make the connections they need to accelerate their businesses and advance their capabilities,” says KiMar Gartman, Catalyst Accelerator Program Director.
Cohort companies included:
Awayr AI – https://awayrai.com/ – Awayr AI combines expertise in machine learning, human factors, and cyber security, to solve difficult problems at the frontier of human machine interaction, cyber security and human machine interface design and optimization. For human machine interface design and performance, they provide quantitative analysis of operator efficiency and quality of operator – HMI interaction. For HMI design and optimization, they develop predictive AI that can run simulations for operator – interface interaction, to understand the efficacy of designs and updates prior to fielding. In their cyber division, they are working with NIST to implement a new standard in security awareness testing and training, with implications for the implementation of CMMC.
Embeddetech – https://www.virtuoso-software.com/ – Virtuoso and Montage provide no-code and digital economy infrastructure, respectively, creating a momentous leap forward in composable software development workflows. These platforms provide superior benefits to a wide range of diverse markets and technology categories, including modeling & simulation, digital twin, digital transformation, DevSecOps, RPA, IoT and Enterprise Integration, and much more. Virtuoso and Montage create a completely new paradigm for how software solutions with complex requirements can be effortlessly composed.
GridRaster, Inc. – https://gridraster.com/ – GridRaster Inc. is building the most advanced open, modular, scalable, vendor agnostic cloud based XR infrastructure for ultra-realistic simulations and training on commercially available devices. It combines the best of gaming technologies/concepts with traditional simulator capabilities in XR by leveraging distributed cloud computing, 3D Artificial intelligence and DevSecOps based agile deployment and operation to deliver a ubiquitous, on-demand and immersive training system for agile joint multi-mission aviation operations.
Improbable – https://defense.improbable.io/ – Improbable is a software company born of and powered by commercial gaming technologies. Improbable leverages their synthetic environment platform to deliver composable and scalable virtual environments that transform defense simulations surface deeper insights, with applications ranging from analytic wargames to immersive training.
ISSAC Corp – https://www.issaccorp.com/ – ISSAC Corp is focused on finding the hidden stories in complex datasets and creating automation to allow analyst to optimize the use of streaming and historic data. ISSAC provides advanced system of systems engineering solutions and are developing a life cycle Digital Engineering tool to enable data sharing and engineering design refinement for the entirety of a platforms life cycle. In addition, their modular approach to Artificial Intelligence solutions enables rapid workflow tailoring, customer flexibility as needs evolves, and a smart process for advancing the art of knowledge discovery as technology advances.
Kayhan Space – https://www.kayhan.space/ – Kayhan Space is a software analytics platform focused on satellite conjunction assessment, collision avoidance, and space object tracking and navigation. Kayhan brings together an incredible team of astrodynamics and software engineers with many years of experience supporting NASA and JPL missions, as well as building enterprise software. They also bring automation to an otherwise manual and time-consuming process. By doing so, they save time and money for satellite operators, and most importantly ensure mission safety.
Synaptech – https://www.synaptech-usa.com/ – Synaptech has quickly become a leading small business provider of modeling, simulation, and analysis (MS&A) expertise and a developer of innovative software and analytical solutions for the Space Defense Industry. Synaptech operates with speed and agility to quickly integrate people, processes, and technologies to solve their customer’s most challenging problems on an operationally relevant timeline. Synaptech’s multi-disciplinary team of engineers, scientists, analysts, mathematicians, and designers are committed to protecting the freedom that our nation enjoys and creating a better tomorrow for future generations.
Vermeer – https://www.getvermeer.com/ – Vermeer specializes in a leading-edge suite of AR mission planning tools and autonomous sUAS mission execution for both DoD and commercial customers. From their expertise from years of piloting drones on the sets of blockbuster Hollywood films, they built Vermeer as an internal tool for pre-mission planning and visualization. Today, Vermeer is capable of integrating into any autonomous platform, from sUAS to satellites.
The Digital Engineering/Modeling and Simulation Accelerator was made possible with the support of AFRL/RV, the U.S. Space Force, and the generous support from Corporate Sponsor, Lockheed Martin, and Demo Day Sponsor, LinQuest Corporation.
About Catalyst Accelerator
The Air Force Research Laboratory Space Vehicles Directorate and United States Space Force’s Catalyst Accelerator is a NewSpace-focused defense and national security industry accelerator, headquartered on the Catalyst Campus for Technology and Innovation (CCTI) in Colorado Springs, Colorado. CCTI is a collaborative ecosystem where industry, small business, entrepreneurs, startups, government, academia, and investors intersect with Colorado’s aerospace and defense industry to create community, spark innovation, and stimulate business growth. The Catalyst Accelerator is a collaborative program hosted by Catalyst Campus for Technology and Innovation (CCTI, a Colorado 501(c)3) in partnership with the United States Space Force, and the Air Force Research Laboratory to provide a robust, mentor-driven curriculum for accelerator teams.
Author: Kate Menendez, Marketing Specialist