Tech Startups, Small Businesses Present Technologies to the Air Force at the Catalyst Space Accelerator Demo Day

Tech Startups, Small Businesses Present Technologies to the Air Force at the Catalyst Space Accelerator Demo Day
The Accelerator’s Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance cohort graduates 8 companies

 

Colorado Springs, CO, Nov 26, 2019  — Last Thursday, the Catalyst Space Accelerator (CSA) program successfully concluded its fourth Accelerator with its eight companies pitching their space-based Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) technologies to an audience of government stakeholders, investors, commercial companies and warfighters.

The CSA Demo Day hosted nearly 150 people, including distinguished visitors like Maj Gen William Liquori, Director of Strategic Requirements, Architectures and Analysis at Air Force Space Command; Col Eric Felt, Director of Air Force Research Laboratory, Space Vehicles Directorate (AFRL/RV); and Mr. Michael Dickey, Air Force Space Command Chief Architect at Air Force Space Command.

The companies, who completed the rigorous 3-month-long Accelerator program, developed their product offerings based on hundreds of hours of customer discovery and business training to better meet the needs of operators in the Air Force and the broader Department of Defense (DoD).

“I didn’t think something so productive could be so fun and engaging,” said Dan Brophy of Capella Space – one of the participating ISR companies – about the CSA.

Thursday’s Demo Day was sponsored by Ball Aerospace. Companies like Ball, and all the others who supported the Accelerator through sponsorships and mentorship, are what make up CSA’s community. KiMar Gartman, CSA Director, acknowledged that “we need our community to make the Accelerator successful.”

The Tech Problem

This cohort’s problem statement asked how commercial industry could address and improve Air Force and DoD applications in space-based ISR.

The person who wrote the problem statement for the ISR cohort – Dr. Wellesley Pereira, ISR Mission Lead at AFRL/RV – said the Air Force needed to address this area to make sure U.S. warfighters are well-equipped: “Ultimately, we’re trying to help that pilot in the cockpit.”

“[AFRL] has a lot of red tape,” said Pereira. “So, we wanted to see what would happen with small companies in 11 weeks, see if they can come up with something that we can tie into our mission.”

He said he is optimistic about the technologies matured in the Accelerator making it into the hands of the warfighter, but that is still to be seen: “Can they, because of being in the Accelerator and making connections in the Air Force, take their technology to the next level? If they can, then we have done our job as an Accelerator.”

The Small Business Pitches

Each company’s pitch demonstrated how their product could help the warfighter, offering better data delivery, saved man-power hours, and even cost-savings for the Air Force.

For instance, Space-Eyes tracks illegal and suspicious activity in the maritime environment. Space-Eyes Captain Jatin Bains said, “The Battlespace is going to be obfuscated, and it is up to us to have better ISR and better awareness to combat these threats.”

MemComputing offered to take optimization problems that take supercomputers hours, days, and even weeks to compute and solve them in seconds. Their ask? “Bring us your problems.”

ExoTerra Imaging, who is creating smaller satellites so that more can be put in space to create comprehensive surveillance, asked for Air Force units who would sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) so they could show investors that that the Air Force is truly interested in using this product. Raising more commercial investment would then disperse the cost of developing their dual-use technology.

HyperVerge, Inc, a deep-learning startup, asked for opportunities to demo their change-tracking product: “Help us lead this technology to the warfighter.”

The companies who pitched include:

The Demo Day audience also received the first formal announcement of the next CSA cohort focus: Data Fusion for Space Applications, which will kick off in January 2020. Interested companies can attend the 2020 Launch Luncheon at Catalyst Campus on December 11th to learn how to participate in the next cohort. Contact KiMar Gartman at kimar.gartman@catalystcampus.org for an invitation to the lunch.

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About Catalyst Space Accelerator

The AFRL Space Vehicles Directorate Catalyst Space Accelerator is a NewSpace-focused defense and national security industry accelerator, headquartered on the Catalyst Campus in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Catalyst Campus is a collaborative ecosystem where industry, small business, entrepreneurs, startups, government, academia, and venture capital intersect with Colorado’s aerospace and defense industry to create community, spark innovation and stimulate business growth. The Catalyst Space Accelerator is a collaborative program hosted by Catalyst Campus for Technology and Innovation (CCTI, a Colorado 501(c)3) in partnership with the Air Force Research Laboratory and Space Capital Colorado to provide a robust, mentor-driven curriculum for accelerator teams.

Bigs and Smalls Collide at Innovation Community Days

Bigs and Smalls Collide at Innovation Community Days
Themes of Innovation and Synergy Emerge as Primes and Small Business Work Together to Meet Warfighter Needs

 

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo – October 30, 2019 –  Despite snow delays, the Catalyst Space Accelerator (CSA) hosted its largest Innovation Community Days yet, bringing in nearly 200 people from small businesses, large primes, and military units and program offices all for one goal: find opportunities to work together to advance technology for the warfighter.

Attendees and participants packed into Catalyst Campus’s historic Harvey House for one and a half days to hear pitches from 16 small businesses and startups, interact with four panels of innovators from both industry and government, and spend time networking with individuals from every pocket of the space community.

“When you have industry, government and military leaders sharing ideas and insights on collaborative innovation, you know there will be great things happening,” said KiMar Gartman, CSA’s Program Director. “This event brought together great minds and we all walked away excited with the possibilities of what lies ahead.”

This year’s Innovation Community Days were sponsored by Lockheed Martin and hosted by the Catalyst Space Accelerator and Starburst. Tim Ford, Lockheed Martin Military Space Business Development, explained that Lockheed Martin became involved with the Accelerator because of the Prime’s “responsibility to advance technology” and, ultimately, “the capabilities of our nation.” One of the ways they fulfill that responsibility, he said, was through “ensuring a vibrant industrial base” by supporting small business through investments, partnering, and mentoring.

Keynote Speaker Colonel Russell Teehan, Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center Portfolio Architect, spoke on the necessity of having many companies to support the Air Force’s Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) Enterprise Architecture in today’s contested Space environment.

“There are many layers in the ISR architecture that need to be seamlessly stitched together in the data architecture,” Teehan said. “[As a small business,] Don’t assume the US Air Force is doing that perfectly yet.”

This task is why the Air Force invests in accelerators and other small business programs, said Teehan: “You have to create opportunities for people to collide and discuss ideas. It’s about creating that ecosystem where we all talk about where we think we’re going.”

Panel members came from every sector of the innovation community – including members from primes such as Lockheed Martin and Ball Aerospace, Air Force and Army units, and entrepreneurs now working with the government through their startups and small businesses. Presenters also included innovators from the Air Force Academy and CU Boulder.

The varying viewpoints allowed attendees to hear and discuss successes, failures, pain points, and why innovating despite barriers matters.

“We need to find the right balance between speed and finding the right people to make the best solution,” said panelist Greg Bennett of Air Force CyberWorx.

Among the presenters was also 16 different startups and small businesses – eight selected by Starburst and eight from the current CSA cohort. The event gave them the opportunity to connect with potential investors or partners to further the development of their technologies.

Despite snow on the second day, causing a delayed start and Brigadier General Thomas James, of U.S. Space Command, to be unable to attend, participants came away from the event inspired.

“The ecosystem that’s happening at places like Catalyst [Campus] will move us forward – innovation like this will allow us to bring technology to the warfighter quickly and efficiently, and ultimately to save lives” said Brandon Florian, Starburst Business Development and Corporate Relations Director.

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About Catalyst Space Accelerator

The AFRL Space Vehicles Directorate Catalyst Space Accelerator is a NewSpace-focused defense and national security industry accelerator, headquartered on the Catalyst Campus in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Catalyst Campus is a collaborative ecosystem where industry, small business, entrepreneurs, startups, government, academia, and venture capital intersect with Colorado’s aerospace and defense industry to create community, spark innovation and stimulate business growth. Catalyst Space Accelerator is a collaborative program hosted by Catalyst Campus for Technology and Innovation (CCTI, a Colorado 501(c)3), Space Capital Colorado, and the Colorado Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC), in partnership with the Air Force Research Laboratory to provide a robust, mentor-driven curriculum for accelerator teams.

Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance: Eight ISR Small Businesses Join Catalyst Space Accelerator

Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance: Eight ISR Small Businesses Join Catalyst Space Accelerator

Air Force Research Laboratory’s Space Accelerator at Catalyst Campus will Host Its Fourth Accelerator

 

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo – Sep 5, 2019 – This fall, eight companies from around the country will convene in Colorado Springs for the Catalyst Space Accelerator’s fourth cohort, centered around space-based Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR).

 

The Catalyst Space Accelerator (CSA), sponsored by Air Force Research Laboratory Space Vehicles Directorate, was created to advance technology for our warfighters. By boosting companies’ technology development and guiding them through working with the government, the Accelerator benefits both the economy and the warfighter. For this cohort, the Air Force is seeking to encourage commercially-viable solutions for its space-based ISR needs.

 

The strength of the CSA lies in its extensive but accelerated customer discovery. Because of its co-location in Colorado Springs with Air Force Space Command and several military bases, the CSA provides the ideal intersection of government entities and commercial expertise. What normally can take up to two years is reduced to a few weeks, allowing companies to speak with potential customers and refine their technology for specific use cases.

 

Starting on September 10, the cohort of companies will meet at Catalyst Campus every other week for 11 weeks. They will participate in workshops, work with government and commercial Sherpas, have access to the campus’ extensive collaborative ecosystem, and receive seed investment by Space Capital Colorado.

 

Out of 27 applicants, Space Capital Colorado selected the following eight small businesses to participate in the space-based ISR cohort:

 

Capella Space advances earth observation as an essential tool for commerce, conservation and security. Their vision is a world that shares a richer understanding of life on our planet. They provide the most frequent and timely Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) data for monitoring change on Earth and are building a constellation of 36 small satellites that provide hourly earth monitoring at resolutions of less than 1 meter. With flexible imaging modes and low latency ordering from tasking to downlink to delivery, Capella Space offers a new experience for high resolution earth observation across many different markets.

https://www.capellaspace.com/

 

Chandah Space Technologies (CST) is a U.S. company focused on building and operating a constellation of small satellites, called InsureSats, geared towards commercial in-orbit inspection and space situational awareness. The company is licensed for Non-Earth Imaging by the U.S. Department of Commerce. CST’s management and Board have a strong record of commercial value creation and service in the U.S. Government.

http://www.chandah.com/

 

ExoTerra Imaging was created to provide a rapid and cost-effective capability for Global Cloud observations, which are critical for nearly all Department of Defense-related ISR, logistical, and tactical operations. Although these observations have served a critical function for over 40 years through the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP), an improved follow-on capability is critically needed. The ExoTerra Imaging team has been engaged over the last several years in developing commercial alternatives for these critical need observations. Now they hope to use the Catalyst Accelerator to identify VC investment to build, launch, and operate a commercial system to meet new DoD requirements on a sustainable and cost-effective basis.

https://exoterracorp.com/

 

HyperVerge Inc, a Silicon Valley-based deep-learning startup funded by NEA, Milliways Ventures, and Nava Ventures, has developed patent-pending technology for real-time analysis of images and videos obtained from sources such as satellites, surveillance cameras, and documents. Their models lead the market with top accuracy values on many important datasets and are optimized for deployments in real-world low bandwidth environments and in cases with limited availability of training data. Deep-learning networks built by HyperVerge are powering applications for large enterprise clients in Defense, Energy, and Financial Services, ranging from processing 35M customers a month using their face recognition-based identity verification stack to extracting the entire energy infrastructure of Texas with 99% accuracy using satellite imagery.

https://hyperverge.co/

 

Kleos delivers geolocated Radio Frequency data from its own Low Earth Orbit Satellites, initially in the maritime VHF Band, to disrupt illegal fishing, smuggling, trafficking and defense, security, and border challenges. Kloes geolocates VHF transmissions without reference to tracking systems such as Automatic Identification System (AIS) to reveal dark, unseen, and covert maritime activity. The data is complimentary to AIS and can tip and cue Synthetic Aperture Radar, Electro-Optical, and airbreathing assets. The data, provided as-a-Service, is reliable, repeatable, and easy to ingest. Kleos’ collection capability will grow to near real-time by launching further satellites with enhanced payloads driven by customer needs. The data will be offered at a variety of levels from raw to processed to be analytic ready.

https://kleos.space/

 

MemComputing is disrupting the High-Performance Computing market with their MemCPU™ XPC Cloud SaaS, which reduces the compute time from hours to seconds for today’s most complex optimization problems like those related to routing, scheduling, and machine learning. This product drives hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars in efficiencies directly to the bottom line.

https://memcpu.com/

 

Rhea Space Activity (RSA), based in Washington, D.C., is an astro-consultancy founded to assist NewSpace companies in creating high-risk/high-reward R&D concepts in support of the U.S. Intelligence Community (IC) and Department of Defense (DoD). RSA ideates, guides, and advises NewSpace clients, allowing them to maintain and grow their own R&D portfolio. RSA has successfully secured funding for several of its clients in the areas of in-space propulsion, on-orbit robotics, in-space manufacturing, space-based LIDAR, asteroid mining, and directed energy. The RSA foundational team is comprised of energetic, U.S. Government-connected astrophysicist and aerospace engineers who are deeply committed to the creation of technologies that enhance U.S. national security capabilities. RSA’s latest technology innovation, RUBY SKY, is an effort to develop a large aperture reconnaissance asset on-orbit within a small-satellite form factor.

https://www.rheaspaceactivity.com/#

 

Space-Eyes provides on-demand tasking to a Synthetic Aperture Radar satellite. Its collections across all weather and lighting conditions are integrated with contextual data and analyzed automatically for threats in the maritime domain. The online Space-Eyes platform will also use Amazon’s new ground stations, which will substantially reduce latency to enhance the ISRPED life-cycle. Space-Eyes currently offers capacity with one radar satellite operational and plans to have a constellation of 5 Radar satellites.

http://channellogistics.com/

 

For those interested in supporting the Accelerator, sponsorships are still available. There are several levels of sponsorship available, each providing various levels of exposure for the sponsor to audiences of high-level public and private decision makers.

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About Catalyst Space Accelerator

The AFRL Space Vehicles Directorate Catalyst Accelerator is a NewSpace-focused defense and national security industry accelerator, headquartered on the Catalyst Campus in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Catalyst Campus is a collaborative ecosystem where industry, small business, entrepreneurs, startups, government, academia, and venture capital intersect with Colorado’s aerospace and defense industry to create community, spark innovation and stimulate business growth. Catalyst Space Accelerator is a collaborative program hosted by Catalyst Campus for Technology and Innovation (CCTI, a Colorado 501(c)3), Space Capital Colorado, and the Colorado Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC), in partnership with the Air Force Research Laboratory to provide a robust, mentor-driven curriculum for accelerator teams.

Pentagon Seeks Commercial Solutions To Space-Based Intel

Aviation Week

The U.S. Air Force Research Lab (AFRL) and Colorado Springs-based Catalyst Space Accelerator are planning a three-month workshop this fall to explore space-based intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) technology. Participants from small businesses and commercial startups with skills to address a range of technology challenges in the national security arena are encouraged to apply for the 12-week gathering, scheduled for Sept. 9–Nov. 22. The workshop will be hosted by …

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