Universities Program


Hyperspace Challenge forges valuable relationships between the government, startup, and university communities to accelerate innovation for the space domain. 


Welcome to the Hyperspace Challenge for Universities

The Hyperspace Challenge is a business accelerator created by the Air Force Research Lab to accelerate innovation in the U.S. Space Force.

How might we accelerate adoption of trusted autonomous solutions for space?

The Hyperspace Challenge accelerator connects applied science research teams to government innovators to strengthen the exchange of innovation between academic institutions and government agencies.  

If a university research team is developing technology that could have an application in space, Hyperspace Challenge will help researchers: 

  • Learn about the government’s current mission needs 
  • Explore your research’s application to government needs
  • Plan future research with government missions in mind
  • Collaborate directly with government innovators
  • Gain insights into the government contracting process
  • Build a government network for you, your academic team, and your institution 
  • Gain insights into the commercial sector

“It would have been exceedingly difficult or entirely happenstance to connect with some of the people [Hyperspace Challenge] put us in touch with.”

How Hyperspace Challenge Works:

Many technologies beyond the traditional space and aerospace domains will be needed as our journey into space advances. Hyperspace Challenge engages those technologies from a wide spectrum of sectors.

To begin each Hyperspace Challenge cycle, we hold a series of webinars called Discovery Sessions. During these virtual gatherings, government innovators from multiple agencies share their mission needs and fulfillment challenges. Before a university team applies for the cohort program, we require participation in these online sessions so that teams can determine if a technology or research idea provides a solution to mission needs and if it might need to be further developed.

After the webinar series, teams develop applications explaining how research responds to specific mission needs.

If a university team is selected as a finalist, the team is then asked to attend a series of onboarding and educational webinars.

As a final stage of the accelerator, selected teams will participate in the annual three-day Hyperspace Accelerator Week. During this in-person portion of the program, teams interact with government sponsors and customers to illustrate how a team’s capabilities fit mission needs.

Government mission needs tackled by teams so far: 

2018 / 2019 / 2020 / 2021 

“I want to see us working more with universities and creating a mutual understanding of what the needs are for the future of technology.”

Have Questions?

the 2023 Hyperspace Challenge is Coming soon!

Want to learn about upcoming Hyperspace Challenge news and programs? Sign up for our mailing list here.


Hyperspace Challenge, launched in 2018, is a business accelerator fueled by the U.S. Space Force and Air Force Research Lab, in partnership with CNM Ingenuity, to support the Space Vehicles directorate and our U.S. government personnel everywhere.

For more information, reach us at [email protected]