The event will include a virtual Space Force Pitch Day, which will see awards – up to $34 million – being made to innovative startups competing for Small Business Innovation Research Phase II contracts. You can read more about SpaceWERX on its dedicated website.
A part of the wider AFWERX programme – another U.S. Air Force technology accelerator from the Air Force Research Laboratory – its intended to play a role developing innovative technologies for the United States Space Force. It has three main sections: AFVentures, Spark, and Prime.
AFVentures is described as tapping both U.S. and global technology ecosystems, “using military problems to accelerate commercial technologies”.
“We are transforming the Air and Space Force into an early-stage “investor” that leverages private capital, accelerates commercialization using military missions, and grows the number of companies partnering with us.”
The second branch, Spark, promises to connect Airmen and Space Professionals to commercial innovators using virtual collaboration, immersive training, and networking opportunities.
“By connecting operators closer to acquisition, Spark provides both a voice and conduit to turn powerful ideas into powerful operational realities.”
Finally, the third branch is Prime, all about “priming—and then accelerating—emerging commercial markets using military missions and equities”. As well as funding, Prime programmes will seek to employ other Air Force Department’s resources such as test infrastructure, certification authorities, and interagency relationships. It seeks to become an “early adopter to de-risk emerging markets”.
“We’re particularly excited about Space Prime,” said Lt. Col. Walter McMillan, SpaceWERX Director. “Space Prime is our strong signal to academia, industry, investment, interagency, and international partners on a specific mission area where we aim to energize the space industrial base and develop on-orbit capability in an accelerated timeline. We are targeting operational capability in two to four years.”
“Like our inaugural Prime program, Agility Prime, Space Prime will use the full suite of our AFWERX tools to hone in on specific mission and technology areas to truly move the needle on delivering on-orbit capability,” said Lt. Col. Tom Meagher, AFWERX Prime lead.”
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