“Camaraderie doesn’t happen by accident; developing a strong sense of trust, accountability, and togetherness around team goals requires intentional effort.” – Don Yaeger
Last week, the Catalyst Accelerator’s International Space Domain Awareness (SDA) cohort wrapped up the final week of the program with much excitement. Even in the final week, the Accelerator team continued to be blown away by the unwavering camaraderie and teamwork of the cohort companies.
The week began with a tour of the United States Air Force Academy (USAFA). The cohort companies had the opportunity to engage with various directors at the Academy to include Lt Col Catherine Brewer from the Multi-Domain Laboratory, Maj Ben Steffens from the Applied Mechanics Laboratory, and Lt Col Daniel Showalter from the Space Systems Research Center/FalconSAT. KiMar Gartman, Program Director of the Catalyst Accelerator, asserts, “It is always exciting to take cohort companies to the Air Force Academy to see all the cadets are doing in space. It is certainly a highlight of their Accelerator experience. Thanks to Rick and Amy for their efforts in planning the tour and escorting us on each step of it.” After the tour, the cohort met for lunch before heading back down to Catalyst Campus for an afternoon Warfighter Panel. The panel allowed the cohort to hear from US Warfighters about their experiences with Space Domain Awareness and day-to-day operations.
Multiple subject matter experts donated their time to speak with the cohort companies during their last week. Isaac James and Dr. Steve Beaty from Devil Dog Cybersecurity kicked off the sessions on Tuesday morning by teaching the cohort about Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) and NIST compliance. Later, the cohort had a question-and-answer session with Joven (Joel) Mercado, the Acquisition Program Manager for the United States Space Force. During this session, the cohort companies asked Mercado questions about how the Space Systems Command, International Affairs Division (SSC/IA) plans to partner with international communities regarding Space Domain Awareness. The morning ended with Albert Robredo providing an overview of Leidos for the cohort.
With Demo Day quickly approaching, Wednesday was spent finishing up the last few programming sessions and making sure each company’s pitches and slides were prepped and ready to go for the big event. The cohort companies had the privilege of hearing from Scott Norr, Kimberly Lingle, and Madeline Suplita from Lockheed Martin. Norr provided an overview of Lockheed Martin and spoke about their cutting-edge iSpace (Intelligent Space Awareness) software and the ways in which it facilitates Space Domain Awareness.
An air of anticipation and excitement could be felt all day on Thursday as the companies made their final preparations for Demo Day later that evening. Around lunch time, everyone took a break from the busyness of the day to reflect on the #CASDA cohort and celebrate the hard work and long hours the companies dedicated to the program. The day concluded with a very successful Demo Day! Each company had the opportunity to pitch their tech and connect with industry and commercial leaders, investors, and other significant attendees. The Accelerator team felt an overwhelming sense of gratitude and pride knowing the culmination of hard work and committed collaboration from the past three months was finally realized!
The Accelerator’s first international cohort was an incredible feat. It truly showed the immense and urgent need for international partnership and attention dedicated to Space Domain Awareness. Mo Kanwischer echoed this sentiment when she stated, “The Catalyst Accelerator’s first international cohort proved that small businesses with expertise in Space Domain Awareness must, and will, work collaboratively to provide complete and robust solutions for the global space regime. These companies are already working with each other and will no doubt engage with American companies to serve the US Space Force and US Airforce as well as other government agencies with world-class solutions to protect and defend critical interests terrestrially and in space.”
The Accelerator team cannot wait to see what these amazing companies do in the years to come! We are so thankful to have gotten the opportunity to work alongside and grow with each of them.