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 the nation's 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 U.S. Air Force (USAF) 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 (AFSPC) 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 (EO) 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.
Chandah Space Technologies (CST) is a U.S. company focused on building and operating a constellation of small satellites, called InsureSats, geared towards commercial on-orbit inspection and space situational awareness (SSA). 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.
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.
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 percent accuracy using satellite imagery.
Kleos delivers geolocated Radio Frequency data from its own LEO satellites, initially in the maritime VHF Band, to disrupt illegal fishing, smuggling, trafficking and defense, security, and border challenges. Kleos 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 air-breathing 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.
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.
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 develops 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 smallsat form factor.
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.
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.
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.