Space Force Pitch Day Awards $32.3 Million to 19 Small Businesses

LOS ANGELES AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. (AFRL PR) – SpaceWERX officially lifted off Aug. 19 during the virtual Space Force Pitch Day. The event closed with 19 small businesses securing Phase II Small Business Innovation Research contracts to advance their cutting-edge space technologies.

The newly launched SpaceWERX will play a vital role in pursuing innovative technologies for the U.S. Space Force. It will operate as part of AFWERX, the Department of the Air Force’s innovation arm.

“What better way of introducing the new organization than bringing in new partners, locking in new investments and going after great space technology,” said Lt. Col. Walter “Rock” McMillan, SpaceWERX Director. “We’re excited to be partnering with these great companies and the great technology they bring to the table.”

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Amazon Web Services Selects 10 Companies for First Space Accelerator Program

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Amazon Web Services (AWS) Space Accelerator has selected 10 companies for its four-week program that teaches business how they can grow using analytics technology and cloud computing.

“Today, I’m thrilled to announce the 10 startups we selected to take part in the first cohort of the accelerator: Cognitive Space, D-Orbit, Descartes Labs, Edgybees, Hawkeye 360, LeoLabs, Lunar Outpost, Orbital Sidekick, Satellite VU, and Ursa Space,” said Amazon CTO Werner Hans Peter Vogels in a blog post.

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SpaceFund Announces Full Deployment of First Fund

HOUSTON (SpaceFund PR) — SpaceFund Inc., announced it has fully deployed investments from its first “LaunchPad” fund today. The venture capital firm placed investor funds in 14 companies, including both some well-known NewSpace stars, as well as seeding rising stars it believes capable of helping lead humanity into the frontier of space.

“We’re right on track in our plan to seed and support the growth of these amazing companies,” said SpaceFund founder Rick Tumlinson. “Our formula is working. First we find brilliant frontier tech startups in need of early funding, then we bring in funds from visionary investors, and after significant diligence, we place those funds in just the right places to power the space revolution.”

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NASA Awards Prizes to Six Startup Companies in Entrepreneur’s Challenge

GREENBELT, Md. (NASA PR) — NASA’s Science Mission Directorate has awarded prize funding of $100,000 each to six entrepreneurial startup companies under its pilot Entrepreneur’s Challenge  program for concepts ranging from machine learning to enable exploration and other technologies to new ways to build instruments to study the universe.

NASA partnered with Starburst, the global aerospace hub, to jointly launch a pilot program to engage entrepreneurs.

The challenge’s purpose is to invite fresh ideas for development of new instruments and technologies to advance the agency’s science exploration goals and increase participation by entrepreneurial companies in the agency’s technology portfolio.

For the inaugural Entrepreneur’s Challenge, the technical focus areas were:

  • Advanced machine learning and artificial intelligence for autonomous spacecraft and surface rovers, and for Earth observation and disaster management
  • Advanced mass spectrometry for detection of the elements necessary for life and other science applications by using instrumentation beyond what is currently available in terms of low-power and low-mass and using cutting edge materials or components to innovate in sampling technology and processes
  • Quantum sensors that enable high-precision assessments of gravity, magnetic fields, dark energy and other measurements to support NASA scientific discoveries

The competition was conducted in three rounds. In the first round, nearly 80 submissions were sent in from companies nationwide and a judging panel selected 15 ideas to advance. The next round was a virtual event held July 29, 2020, where selectees presented their ideas to a judging panel of NASA program managers. The judges selected 10 companies for awards of $20,000 each.

In the final round, the participants worked to refine their concepts and gave their final presentations Oct. 22 as part of the Innovation and Opportunity Conference held by NASA’s Small Business Innovative Research/Small Business Technology Transfer program. Six of the companies received an additional $80,000 in prize funding as determined by the same panel of judges from the previous round.

“This is a program that provides companies opportunities to showcase innovative technology and inject new and creative solutions of interest to NASA and its mission,” said Paul Mahaffy, one of the challenge judges and the director of the Solar System Exploration Division at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. “As technologies for the mass spectrometers mature for flight, these could be game changing.”

The following companies were selected as winners of the Entrepreneur’s Challenge:

  • Cognitive Space, Houston
  • Evermore Intelligence, Philadelphia
  • MOBILion, Chadds Fords, Pennsylvania
  • Trace Matters Scientific, Somerville, Massachusetts
  • Guardion Technologies, Burlington, Massachusetts
  • Cold Quanta, Boulder, Colorado

To learn more about the Entrepreneur’s Challenge, and to receive notifications regarding future events, go to:

https://nasa-science-challenge.com

For more information about NASA’s science technology activities, visit:

https://science.nasa.gov/

Winners Announced for US/UK Partnered International Space Pitch Day

LOS ANGELES AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. (USSF SMC PR) –  U.S Space Force’s Space And Missile Systems Center,  (SMC) along with its partners have announced the winners of International Space Pitch Day (ISPD). Small tech companies and start-ups from multiple countries had the opportunity to pitch their ideas in front of several U.S., U.K. and N.A.T.O. allied defense leaders on Nov. 16, 2020.

During the event, ten start-ups successfully secured same-day contracts and a slice of the $1M pot, to fast-track the development of their innovations. This marks the first time two nations have come together to award defense contracts based around a pitch-style event and the first time two nations have awarded joint defense innovation contracts to foreign companies.

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Techstars Allied Space Accelerator Announces Class of 2020

BOULDER, Colo. (Techstars PR) — Techstars is delighted to announce the inaugural class for the Techstars Allied Space Accelerator, a virtual accelerator program in partnership with the U.S. Air Force, the Netherlands Ministry of Defence, the Norwegian Ministry of Defence, and the Norwegian Space Agency. 

The virtual program focuses on the next generation of space technologies, with 10 companies in the commercial space industry to include geospatial analytics, satellite servicing, space situational awareness, resilient communications, AI in space, and others. 

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