Colorado Springs, CO, Nov. 26, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Last Thursday, the Catalyst Space Accelerator (CSA) program successfully concluded its fourth Accelerator with its eight companies pitching their space-based Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) technologies to an audience of government stakeholders, investors, commercial companies and warfighters.
The CSA Demo Day hosted nearly 150 people, including distinguished visitors like Maj Gen William Liquori, Director of Strategic Requirements, Architectures and Analysis at Air Force Space Command; Col Eric Felt, Director of Air Force Research Laboratory, Space Vehicles Directorate (AFRL/RV); and Mr. Michael Dickey, Air Force Space Command Chief Architect at Air Force Space Command.
The companies, who completed the rigorous 3-month-long Accelerator program, developed their product offerings based on hundreds of hours of customer discovery and business training to better meet the needs of operators in the Air Force and the broader Department of Defense (DoD).
“I didn’t think something so productive could be so fun and engaging,” said Dan Brophy of Capella Space – one of the participating ISR companies – about the CSA.
Thursday’s Demo Day was sponsored by Ball Aerospace. Companies like Ball, and all the others who supported the Accelerator through sponsorships and mentorship, are what make up CSA’s community. KiMar Gartman, CSA Director, acknowledged that “we need our community to make the Accelerator successful.”
The Tech Problem
This cohort’s problem statement asked how commercial industry could address and improve Air Force and DoD applications in space-based ISR.
The person who wrote the problem statement for the ISR cohort – Dr. Wellesley Pereira, ISR Mission Lead at AFRL/RV – said the Air Force needed to address this area to make sure U.S. warfighters are well-equipped: “Ultimately, we’re trying to help that pilot in the cockpit.”
“[AFRL] has a lot of red tape,” said Pereira. “So, we wanted to see what would happen with small companies in 11 weeks, see if they can come up with something that we can tie into our mission.”
He said he is optimistic about the technologies matured in the Accelerator making it into the hands of the warfighter, but that is still to be seen: “Can they, because of being in the Accelerator and making connections in the Air Force, take their technology to the next level? If they can, then we have done our job as an Accelerator.”
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