By Gabe Mounce, Director, Space Force Accelerators


We are excited to announce that we’ve selected 11 startups and two universities to participate in our 2020 cohort as we head into our third year of the Hyperspace Challenge. The companies comprising this cohort, which include some of the industry’s best and brightest, represent nine states and the District of Columbia — as well as one company from Darmstadt, Germany.  


This year’s cohort has been tasked with developing technology that can provide government space agencies with secure, trustworthy, autonomous and automated solutions for both manned and unmanned space missions. 


The need is great. Space enterprise lags behind terrestrial and aerial robot development, in both hardware and software. Space-qualified hardware is expensive, so that explains part of the issue. But software development is another story: it’s constrained by the lack of high-speed space processors and a lack of general community trust in autonomous operations.


The national space community recognizes the need for highly autonomous, on-orbit operational spacecraft capable of an increasing number of complex tasks, but needs to be certain that the platforms and algorithms utilized for space operations are reliable. 


So, the bar for this cohort is high. It will have to demonstrate that autonomous technology can live up to the rigors of operating effectively in one of nature’s harshest environments. If it can do this, it will have helped the U.S. Space Force make significant strides towards ensuring we can better protect both our space force, and the equipment it employs.


We know startups don’t have time to waste looking for the right government customers, and government customers are beginning to rely on the growing ability of the Hyperspace Challenge program to source the most relevant technology. This year’s cohort is no exception. 


They include the following: (West Menlo Park, CA) is pioneering a breakthrough in unsupervised learning for Artificial Intelligence and Autonomous Technologies.


IDEAS Engineering and Technology, LLC (Albuquerque, NM)

IDEAS Engineering and Technology, LLC provides innovative and cost-effective electronic and embedded solutions for mission-critical systems focusing on the rapidly-growing space market.


InfraLytiks (Des Moines, IA)

InfraLytiks is an engineering-based, complex data analytics and automation firm specializing in machine learning and artificial intelligence custom software development for image-based data including HD, 3D, IR, LiDAR and telemetry from telescopes, satellites, aircraft, drones and vehicles.


Kayhan Space (Lafayette, CO)

Kayhan’s Satellite Collision Avoidance software analyzes incoming potential satellite collision events data, and delivers timely notifications through various messaging channels, such as Slack. Its direct messaging integrations reduce operator response efforts by 95%.


Perspective Components Inc. (Albuquerque, NM)

Perspective Components is an artificial intelligence company developing advanced enterprise applications. Perspective Components’ goal is to redefine the standard of computer vision systems while providing unique solutions with stand-alone edge computing.


Pierce Aerospace (Indianapolis, IN)

Pierce Aerospace is a Remote ID service provider focused on practical and robust integration of Remote ID services into the Unoccupied Aircraft Systems (UAS) ecosystem. As an industry leader, Pierce Aerospace serves on the Unmanned Aircraft Safety Team, ASTM F38 UAS Remote ID Committee, and the Federal Aviation Administration’s Remote ID Cohort.


Resilient Solutions 21 (RS21) (Albuquerque, NM)

RS21 is a data science, artificial intelligence, and visualization company tackling humanity’s biggest challenges. Blending domain knowledge, advanced computational capabilities, and visualization expertise, it develops intuitive and interactive analytics products that provide actionable insights.


Space Domain Awareness Inc. (Orlando, FL)

Space Domain Awareness Inc. (SDA) is a mission-driven, pre-seed startup working to develop a Space Object Tracking Unit (SOTU), as the integral component of an affordable automated identification and tracking service for CubeSats and intentional debris in Low Earth Orbit (LEO).


Space Products and Innovation (SPiN) (Darmstadt, Germany)

SPiN is a space company specialized in spinning technology from other industries into the space sector. Its core solution is a plug and play adapter to integrate satellites like Lego and reduce cost and time of satellite manufacturing.


Starfish Space Inc. (Kent, WA)

Starfish Space is building an on-orbit transportation service to enable the evolving space mission.


Willowview Consulting, LLC (Eagle, ID)

Willowview Consulting‘s experience with hardware and software-based systems enable it to design and build systems with cognitive abilities that mimic the biological brain, making a faster, more effective, scalable, lower-power solution, capable of learning from its own experience.


Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore, MD)

The Institute for Assured Autonomy at Johns Hopkins University’s Whiting School of Engineering focuses on ensuring that autonomous systems are safe, secure, and reliable, and do what they are designed to do. The institute takes a holistic approach to this objective. In addition to focusing on the technology itself, it takes into consideration the ecosystem in which the technology operates, and the policies needed to ensure its effective implementation.


New Mexico State University (Las Cruces, NM)

The Robotics, Unmanned Vehicles, Intelligent Systems and Control Laboratory (or RUVICON Lab) is part of the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at New Mexico State University. It develops rapid optimization methods, real-time guidance and control algorithms, and power management control systems for advanced autonomous vehicles and robots.


We are excited to see what the future holds for these cohort members, and what they are able to develop as they work closely in the coming weeks with government customers across a range of Department of Defense agencies. 


Our advancement of autonomous solutions in space will undoubtedly drive the U.S. Space Force’s ability to innovate. This is exactly what the Hyperspace Challenge accelerator was designed to do.


Here’s to a productive 2020 accelerator!