#CAISRSpace-based Intelligence, Surveillance & Reconnaissance

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Commercial Sherpas


We are entering an exciting era in space where technologies long considered to be things of science fiction are becoming reality. Since the first space-based reconnaissance imagery was captured on photographic film by the Discoverer 13 nearly sixty years ago, US space-based intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) technologies have greatly evolved and transformed the nature of warfare, providing an unprecedented level of “foreknowledge” to the warfighter and to our national security. Indeed, they provide the unique capability of persistent, long-term, remote sensing and encompass many applications.  To deliver these capabilities requires the development and integration of advanced sensors, complex algorithms, data processing, and novel ideas that result in disruptive technology.

Catalyst Accelerator is seeking small businesses and startups with commercially viable solutions to address Air Force (AF) and Department of Defense (DoD) applications in space-based ISR. ISR activities entail (1) full-spectrum (ELF thru RF, MMW, THz, IR, EO, UV, and ionizing radiation) active and passive sensing, characterization, detection, discrimination, warning, and tracking of both earth and space-borne entities, events and activities of military and national interest, (2) autonomous sensing by integrating disaggregated on-orbit data processing/exploitation, (3) rapid analysis and processing of ISR data, and (4) pathways for delivering data/information products to the tactical edge . Preferred solutions are near-term operational; however, all innovative technology solutions will be considered. Technologies of relevance include significantly advantageous sensing devices including detectors, transmitters, antennas, optics; signal processing and multi-source fusion algorithms, computing resources, and services; and technologies and methods for smart distribution of ISR products to DoD consumers (the right information to the attention of the right entity at the right time).  This is not considered an all-encompassing list of potential technologies.

Resource Downloads

Schedule of Activities

September 10, 2019


September 26, 2019

Fireside Chat

Mike Dickey, Chief Architect at US Space Force

October 8, 2019

Fireside Chat

Sue Payton, Former Assistant Secretary of Acquisition, US Air Force

October 23-24, 2019

Innovation Community Days

Innovation Community Days, Sponsored by Lockheed Martin in conjunction with Starburst Aerospace

November 5-6, 2019

Air Force Space Pitch Day

Inaugural Space Pitch Day, San Francisco, CA, where eight Catalyst Accelerator alumni pitched.  

November 21, 2019

Demo Day

The final event where our eight Space-Based ISR companies pitch their technology to a room full of customers, decision makers, and stake holders. 


At Capella Space, we advance earth observation as an essential tool for commerce, conservation, and security. Our vision is a world that shares a richer understanding of life on our planet. Capella Space provides the most frequent and timely Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) data for monitoring change on Earth. Capella Space is 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.

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

ExoTerra Imaging was created to provide a rapid and cost effective capability to provide Global Cloud observations which are critical for nearly all DOD related ISR, logistical and tactical operations.  These observations have served a critical function for over 40 years through the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP) and a follow-on capability is critically needed which continues and improves upon the DMSP legacy.  The ExoTerra Imaging team has been engaged over the last several years in developing commercial alternatives to for these critical need observations.  These discussions have resulted in a recent RFP which explicitly solicits commercial options for these requirements.  ExoTerra Imaging hopes to use the Catalyst Program to identify VC investment to build, launch and operate a commercial system to meet these requirements on a sustainable and cost-effective basis.

HyperVerge, Inc. is a Silicon Valley based deep-learning startup funded by NEA, Milliways Ventures and Naya Ventures. HyperVerge has developed patent-pending technology for real-time analysis of images and videos obtained from sources such as satellites, surveillance cameras and documents. Our models lead the market with top accuracy values on many important data-sets 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, Financial Services and Defense, ranging from processing 35M customers a month using our face recognition-based identity verification stack to extracting the entire energy infrastructure of Texas with a 99% accuracy using satellite imagery.

Kleos delivers geolocated Radio Frequency activity data from its own Low Earth Orbit (LEO) Satellites, initially in the maritime VHF Band, to disrupt illegal fishing, smuggling, trafficking and defence, security & border challenges.  Kleos geolocates VHF transmissions without reference to tracking systems such as AIS to reveal dark, unseen, unlocatable, obscured, obfuscated 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 is provided as-a-Service and it is reliable, repeatable and easy to ingest.  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’.

Rhea Space Activity (RSA) of 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 to support current and future IC and DOD requirements. RSA has successfully secured U.S. government (USG) funding for several of its clients in 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, USG-connected astrophysicists 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.

Space-Eyes provides on-demand tasking to a Synthetic Aperture Radar satellite. The 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 make use of Amazon’s new ground stations, which means latency will be reduced substantially 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.

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

In ThePress