LOS ANGELES AIR FORCE BASE, Calif.---Start-up tech companies and inventors will get the chance to pitch directly to U.S. and U.K. military leaders, for a slice of a $1 million investment, to fast-track ideas for cutting-edge space innovations.
This joint U.S. and U.K. initiative will find, fund, and advance innovation and technology that gives advantages to allied military personnel and operations in the space domain.
“For more than two years, we have broken down barriers for innovative companies with great ideas to work with the government” said Dr. Will Roper, Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics. “Now, with International Space Pitch Day, we are once again expanding our opportunities for partnership with international companies bringing pioneering capabilities to our Space Force professionals.”
The competition is led by the U.K. Defense and Security Accelerator and the U.K. Defense Science and Technology Laboratory Space Program, on behalf of the UK Ministry of Defense and the U.S. Department of Defense and is open to companies and innovators from all over the world.
It is specifically designed to bolster tech start-ups and small and medium-sized enterprises and harness the power of their ingenuity and innovation.
“Through this pitch-day event, we will tap into the genius of the commercial space industry, who will provide new technologies and services for the U.S. and our allies,” said Lt. Gen. John Thompson, United States Space Force’s Space and Missile System’s Center commander. “Creating new economic opportunities with our industry partners, ensures a robust space economy, which is vital to retaining our advantage in this important warfighting domain.”
Selections for participating companies will be announced on Oct. 15, 2020, followed by a five-week course of specialized business mentoring and training, in the hopes of securing a coveted place at the first International Space Pitch Day in front of senior U.S., U.K., and NATO military leaders at the Defense Space Conference in London on Nov. 17, 2020.
Companies and organizations who make it through to the International Space Pitch Day, will be in contention to secure a $66,000 same-day contract award from the judging panel to speed up their innovations and technology – similar to hit TV shows like “Shark Tank” and “Dragon’s Den.”
“International Space Pitch Day is a world-leading joint initiative by the closest of allies and we are excited by the huge opportunities this could bring to our respective nations, our alliances, and our space and tech industries,” said Harv Smyth, U.K. Space Air Vice-Marshal director. “This is all about finding, funding and fast-tracking innovation and cutting-edge technology to the front line quicker than ever before – while being bold to try out new ways of working by ingenious minds in industry to make sure we stay ahead of our shared adversaries and the threats they pose.”
This is a grand coalition of the Royal Air Force, U.K.’s Defense Science and Technology Laboratory, U.K. Strategic Command, U.S. Air Force, U.S. Space Force and NATO has been brought together to find, fund, and fast-track the best ideas from start-up innovators to the front line.
USSF’s Space and Missile Systems Center solicited help from Starburst Aerospace Company who will act as an industry partner to the International Space Pitch Day and carry out training and mentoring through an Allied Defense Accelerator.
This year’s competition is seeking solutions to six challenges set by the U.K. and U.S. space teams:
Visualization of key events and information for combined space operations with allies and commercial partners
Understanding current satellite systems relevant to the operations of a particular commander
Understanding the present and potential impact of space weather on users across all domains
Provision of training against realistic threats and opportunities, incorporating live data, and integrating space across multiple domains
Enabling common and user-defined operational pictures to support multi-national space domain awareness and command and control
A verification and comparison tool for space domain awareness, which can take orbital observation data from a variety of sources and in a variety of formats and produce a single, reliable operational picture.