Air Force research lab and Catalyst Space Accelerator announce third cohort

Wednesday March 27, 2019 0 comments Tags: Colorado Springs, Catalyst Space Accelerator, Opterus Research & Development, Spectral Quantum Technologies

COLORADO SPRINGS -- Air Force Research Laboratory Space Vehicles Directorate and Catalyst Space Accelerator announced the selection of the Accelerator’s third space technology cohort, this one with a focus on Resilient Commercial Space Communications.catalyst-accelerator-logo

The semi-residential, 12-week, cohort-based Catalyst Space Accelerator program is hosted by Air Force Research Laboratory Space Vehicles Directorate (AFRL/RV) at Catalyst Campus in downtown Colorado Springs and includes seed investment by Space Capital Colorado, network connections, mentorship, workshops, and opportunities for future investment and growth.

Catalyst Space Accelerator’s mission is to promote technology advancement for the warfighter and guide technology transfer from the commercial market to the government and vice versa.

The Air Force is currently looking for a suite of options to augment, supplement, backup, complement, and or improve current space communications capabilities from the Resilient Commercial Space Communications cohort.

The third cohort’s kick-off, when the selected companies finally meet formally, will take place April 9. Kick-off has been timed to coincide with the 35thSpace Symposium, the yearly “must attend” space industry event.

Participants in Catalyst Space Accelerator also gain access to the extensive network of connections radiating from the Catalyst Campus’ collaborative ecosystem, a mixture of academia, aerospace industry, government entities, entrepreneurs, small businesses, startups, and venture capitalists.

This ecosystem enhances one of the great advantages to the Accelerator’s location on Catalyst Campus in Colorado Springs. Located in immediate proximity to Air Force Space Command (AFSPC), Air Force Research Lab Space Vehicles Directorate (AFRL/RV), Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC), and other government customers, Catalyst Space Accelerator reduces the typical customer discovery time from six months to a few weeks.

The following seven companies – including two based in Colorado -- were selected for the third Catalyst Space Accelerator cohort:

Analytical Space Inc. (ASI) is a satellite communications company based in Cambridge, Mass. Founded in 2016, ASI is launching a satellite data relay network that provides a secure, reliable, high-speed data connection. By uploading to the network, satellite operators will have access to more of their data in a reduced timeframe, all while using their existing hardware. ASI leverages hybrid RF-laser communications technology.

ATLAS Space Operations of Traverse City, Mich. is a global communications provider for spacecraft and launch vehicles dedicated to convenient and affordable TT&C and data access. The ATLAS FREEDOM Software Platform is a proprietary, cloud-based software service providing a scalable, flexible, and resilient communication framework. Freedom’s key features include the Flex Scheduler, customizable cloud apps delivering powerful automation, and access through an intuitive API and user interface. ATLAS operates a network of ground antenna designed to provide low latency connectivity through geospatial diversity without increasing costs to the customer.

Omnispace of McLean, Va. owns/operates a global, non-geostationary orbit (NGSO) satellite system harnessing 60Mhz of globally harmonized S-band spectrum and a network of worldwide groundstations. The company’s ground-breaking next generation constellation and hybrid connectivity model will connect people and things faster and more efficiently, from urban centers to rural fields to oceans at the top of the world. 

Opterus Research & Development, located in Loveland, gives small spacecraft the performance of big spacecraft through rapid innovations in deployable and unfolding structures. The company’s revolutionizing technology, pioneered by Opterus’ founder, is rapidly transitioning the industry from bulky mechanisms to miniaturized high strain composite structures. Opterus technologies were successfully flown on eight units in 2018.

Skyloom of Berkley, Calif. is developing a spaceborne telecommunications network infrastructure with Tb/s data transfer capacity relying on very high speeds and channel availability by using optical communication technology and small relay satellites placed in geostationary orbit. Optical links are the future of spaceborne communications, allowing unprecedented performance at reduced costs (mass, power, and size) at the expense of high accuracy beam pointing. Moreover, RF spectrum regulations do not apply to optical links.

Spectral Quantum Technologies of Denver is the only startup with space-proven quantum communications hardware that is compact enough to fit on a CubeSat. This system utilizes the unique properties of quantum physics to guarantee against eavesdroppers.

Xenesis of Lisle, Ill., in partnership with NASA/JPL/Georgia Tech Research Corporation, is co-developing a commercial grade 10Gbs Laser Optical Transceiver named the "Xen-Hub." This novel technology is the exclusive hardware utilized within a Global Multi-Layered Mesh Network, called the "Empower Space Alliance." Xenesis is launching its On-orbit demonstration in Q2 2020 and will be fully operational in Q4 2020, with commercial grade comms services in Q4 2021.