AFRL and Catalyst Space Accelerator Announce Applications are Open for New Space-Based ISR Cohort

Air Force Research Lab’s Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) Problem Set to Challenge Companies

Catalyst Campus, Colorado Springs, Colorado, June 25, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) --

Catalyst Space Accelerator is excited to announce the opening of applications for the next cohort, the Space-Based ISR Cohort #CAISR, to be held from September 9 – November 22, 2019. The deadline for applications for entry is August 7, 2019. Applications may be found here.

The problem set for this cohort, by the Air Force Research Lab (AFRL) Space Vehicles Directorate, was born during the August 1960 Discoverer 14 delivery of the first space-based reconnaissance imagery on photographic film.  Since that day, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) satellites employed by the US government have evolved to provide a myriad of critical capabilities, particularly persistent, long-term, remote sensing. They also encompass numerous applications such as imagery, signal collection, and missile warning.  To deliver these capabilities requires the development and integration of advanced sensors, complex algorithms, and data processing.

According to Lt Kwesi Toney, Government Lead for the ISR accelerator, “ISR is the cornerstone of any successful military endeavor. ISR capability development will help ensure U.S. ability to address current and emerging global threats.”

Catalyst Space Accelerator is thus seeking commercial solutions to address Air Force (AF) and Department of Defense (DoD) applications in space-based ISR. ISR activities entail full-spectrum (ELF through RF, MMW, THz, IR, EO, UV, and ionizing radiation) active and passive sensing, detection, discrimination, warning, and tracking of both earth and space-borne entities, events, and activities of military and national interest. For complete details, read the entire problem set here.

This is the fourth cohort recruited by the Catalyst Space Accelerator. The semi-residential, 12-week program is hosted by Air Force Research Laboratory Space Vehicles Directorate at Catalyst Campus, an innovative, collaborative ecosystem in downtown Colorado Springs. The 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.

Participants will receive immediate capital of $15,000. Catalyst Space Accelerator offers a robust program of workshops, customer discovery, and networking events. The Customer Discovery process allows participants to gain a better understanding of the commercial market and customers, the warfighter needs and the DoD market, and the DoD and Commercial acquisition processes. Companies are assigned Air Force Sherpas to help them make military connections, while Commercial Sherpas help with commercial contacts.  Attendees are typically on campus alternate weeks, giving them time to manage their companies while benefitting fully from the programming. During the off-site weeks, companies also participate in a one-hour, touch-base meeting via telephone with the Catalyst Space Accelerator team.

The importance of this work cannot be overstated. As Lt Toney says, “The enhancement and integration of ISR will mean seamless deployment for joint services across multi-domains. ISR capability expansion will combat future complex security environments as well as the rise of near-peer competitors in all domains. This amalgamation of traditional and non-traditional ISR capability development will ensure the U.S remains dominant globally.”

For more information or to apply for the Space-Based ISR Cohort, visit


About Catalyst Campus

Catalyst Campus for Technology and Innovation (CCTI) is a collaborative ecosystem where industry, small business, entrepreneurs, startups, Academia and venture capital intersect with aerospace and defense industries to create community, spark innovation and stimulate business growth. Located in downtown Colorado Springs, Catalyst Campus provides a neutral environment where the Department of Defense can engage with organizations and technologies from multiple companies as needs and threats emerge in various sectors: aerospace, defense and homeland security, cybersecurity, information technology and other advanced technologies. CCTI is a 501 (C)(3) non-profit.


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