SAN FRANCISCO — Hyperspace Challenge, a U.S. Space Force accelerator, is joining forces for the first time with the Space Force Rapid Capabilities Office to help make space assets more resilient.

Through the upcoming Hyperspace Challenge the Space Force is exploring ways to help spacecraft fend off threats.

“We need to be able to protect these assets from growing threats, and we need to do it quickly,” Matthew Fetrow, Space RCO communications manager, said in a statement.

Traditional aerospace and defense companies as well as firms from the automotive, manufacturing, cybersecurity and other sectors are invited to apply.

Enhancing Resiliency

U.S. Space Force leaders and the latest U.S. military budget underscore the need to make space systems more resilient. Military, civil and commercial satellites face kinetic, cyber and laser threats.  

“In addition to companies already targeting the space market, we need to be partnering now with nonspace companies and researchers who can think creatively about the technologies they already use in their own fields that could have wider-reaching applications in space,” Fetrow said. “This is not necessarily your typical space cohort. We are interested in companies with advanced technologies that may or may not be operating in the space industry at all now.”

Specifically, the Space RCO is interested in products to:

  • Increase Space Visibility and Awareness using threat and hazard awareness capabilities that can quickly and accurately detect and prioritize threats either from the ground or space.
  • Advance Space Analysis and Vehicle Autonomy using artificial intelligence, machine learning and/or autonomous technologies that reduce ground-based vehicle operator workload, inform intelligent vehicle response decisions and decrease vehicle response time.
  • Increase Space Vehicle Lifespan and Maneuverability using advanced propulsion, refueling capabilities and/or other fuel conservation innovations that allow space assets to maneuver freely without future negative consequences.

Timeline and Goals

Companies interested in participating in the accelerator are invited to submit initial interest forms by Aug. 15.

The Space RCO and Hyperspace Challenge will share information on the application process during Aug. 16 and 18 webinars. Formal accelerator applications will be accepted from Aug. 28 to Sept. 8.

Companies invited to participate in the Hyperspace Challenge will attend a two-day event in Albuquerque with Space RCO and Hyperspace Challenge partners. 

The Hyperspace Challenge is designed to help companies gain insight into the types of products and services sought by government space agencies. The Space RCO also “is looking to strengthen relationships with each participating company in order to understand how the Space Force can support their success in commercial markets and bring their innovations into government space missions,” Fetrow said.

Debra Werner is a correspondent for SpaceNews based in San Francisco. Debra earned a bachelor’s degree in communications from the University of California, Berkeley, and a master’s degree in Journalism from Northwestern University. She...