Space Invades Colorado Springs: Catalyst Campus & C-TRAC Respond

Campus Open House Hosts Dr. Will Roper,  Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics; Space Symposium Booth Features Campus Virtual Reality Tours; Catalyst Space Accelerator Kicks Off Third Cohort; Catalyst Campus Set to Expand

Colorado Springs, Colo – April 25, 2019 – A busy two weeks of Space-related activities filled Catalyst Campus, including an Open House supported by the Catalyst Campus for Technology and Innovation (CCTI) & the Center for Technology, Research and Commercialization (C-TRAC) and crowned by an exciting and successful visit from Dr. Will Roper, Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics.

Scheduled to coincide with the 35th Space Symposium, where CCTI and C-TRAC hosted a booth, activities on the Campus ranged from a catered Open House, with tours of facilities normally closed to the public, to the capstone, Dr. Roper’s visit, which proved so captivating it lasted an hour longer than originally planned. The nationally acclaimed Catalyst Space Accelerator also kicked off its third cohort in concert with these events, including sending the cohort to do some intense networking at the Space Symposium as part of the Accelerator’s programming. Finally, Catalyst Campus set the stage for its next phase of growth by announcing an impressively large expansion to the Campus facilities.

Catalyst Campus Open House

The second annual Catalyst Campus Open House was held Wednesday, April 10, luring Space Symposium attendees with tours of Campus aerospace activities, exhibits by academia, industry and government partners and tenants, and overflowing complimentary hors d’oeuvres and beverages. Despite a weather forecast that included the words “bomb cyclone,” Catalyst Campus Executive Director Rich Burchfield was pleased by the attendance: “To me, our focus on high quality engagement was really important. In addition to the great visitors, I’m really proud of our new relationship with the Upper Arkansas River Valley Technology Partnership, who had a booth this year, folks down in Canon City who are bringing high tech to the rural areas. They see great value in being teamed up with Catalyst Campus.”

Space Symposium Booth

The 35th Space Symposium, held each year in The Broadmoor Hotel by the Space Foundation, is considered to be the premier gathering of space professionals in the world. The CCTI and C-TRAC booth was notable for its Virtual Reality Catalyst Campus Tours, whereby visitors could watch an information-filled wild ride through the Campus while wearing a VR headset. Startling in its 3D tangibility, the virtual reality tours were both great fun and an excellent way to “showcase this beautiful campus,” according to Rich Burchfield, as well as an introduction to the many teaming possibilities inherent to the collaborative ecosystem Catalyst Campus is continuously growing.

Assistant Secretary for the Air Force Visits

The high point of Space Symposium week was a much-anticipated visit from Dr. Will Roper, Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics. During a revelatory tour of the Campus, Rich Burchfield reports that Dr. Roper turned to Catalyst Campus’ visionary founder, Colorado Springs developer Kevin O’Neil, and said, “I had no idea how mature Catalyst Campus was.” Greatly interested in the innovative work being done by Catalyst Campus’ two non-profits – Catalyst Campus for Innovation and Technology (CCTI) and the Center for Technology, Research and Commercialization (C-TRAC) – for various Air Force programs designed to bring technology to the warfighter faster, Dr. Roper was quoted a few days later in the article “A New Century Series? Will Roper Takes Air Force Back to the Future” praising the innovations represented by the Space CAMP program he toured on Catalyst Campus[1].

When asked about the visit, Campus Executive Director Rich Burchfield waxed eloquent: “It was a wonderful opportunity to get to spend quality time with Dr. Roper to see how invested he is in the acquisition community. It was very rewarding to see his appreciation and understanding of how mature the Campus is, both physically and in the programs we are a part of, and for him to see the value of what we bring to the warfighting community, including our ability to draw in the non-traditional businesses and other commercial entities needed to speed up innovation.”

Catalyst Space Accelerator Kick-Off

Dr. Roper’s visit ended with a Fireside Chat that included the Catalyst Space Accelerator’s current and former participants, as well as some members of the advocacy group SmallSat Alliance ( Featuring an informal talk from Dr. Roper, this Fireside Chat was an unexpected privilege extended to the current, third cohort, which kicked off on Tuesday, April 9.  Focused on Resilient Commercial Space Communications, the third cohort has already learned about a wide array of topics, meeting with various Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) as well as both their Air Force Sherpas and their Commercial Sherpas. Another exciting highlight for the new cohort was the opportunity for a long visit to the Space Symposium.

According to Program Director KiMar Gartman, “The Catalyst Space Accelerator team is excited to welcome these companies, who bring amazing innovative technology to the Accelerator and ultimately to DoD and the warfighter.  Our community is rallying around to help them succeed in every way.”

Catalyst Campus Expansion

Kevin O’Neil, CEO of The O’Neil Group, and Catalyst Campus founder and owner, announced early last week that Catalyst Campus will be adding the neighboring structure, 545 E. Pikes Peak Ave., to its footprint, as well as constructing two new buildings: a mixed use structure that will include offices, restaurants and housing, and an office building, thus almost doubling the Campus to 250,000 square feet. Joining the Campus’ collaborative ecosystem is a high priority for many companies, agencies and organizations, so the current demand for offices has long outstripped supply. Housing and restaurants are envisioned to support and bolster Catalyst Campus’ future plans, as well as current programs, some of which have residential components.[2] This large expansion is a solid expression of Mr. O’Neil’s strong commitment to growing the Campus ecosystem while supporting Colorado/Front Range economic development.



About Catalyst Campus

Catalyst Campus for Technology and Innovation (CCTI) is a collaborative ecosystem where industry, small business, entrepreneurs, startups, Academia and venture capital intersect with aerospace and defense industries to create community, spark innovation and stimulate business growth. Located in downtown Colorado Springs, Catalyst Campus provides a neutral environment where the Department of Defense can engage with organizations and technologies from multiple companies as needs and threats emerge in various sectors: aerospace, defense and homeland security, cybersecurity, information technology and other advanced technologies. CCTI is a 501 (C)(3) non-profit.

About C-TRAC

The Center for Technology, Research, and Commercialization (C-TRAC) is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization that serves our customers by bringing together the latest technologies from government, education, and industry partners. C-TRAC creates relationships that provide the government customer with rapid development, cutting-edge technology and capabilities that ensure our warfighters achieve and maintain superiority.