WASHINGTON — Embedded Ventures, a venture capital firm investing in space startups, has signed a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Space Force, the company announced Oct. 13.

Under the Cooperative Research and Development Agreement, or CRADA, Embedded Ventures will work with SpaceWERX, a new Space Force organization created to build ties with commercial industry and startups. The terms and the length of the agreement were not disclosed. 

“The parties will collaboratively investigate the potential benefits of leveraging VC investment practices to accelerate the pace of change and innovation,” the firm said in a news release. “They will also examine the U.S. Space Force and industry business relationships to define future methods for investment into the VC ecosystem.”

This is the Space Force’s first cooperative agreement with a VC firm. The CRADA “enables the two entities to collaborate on research and development opportunities promoting U.S. space industry growth to prepare for the future of an expanded space economy and for the defense of U.S. interests,” the company said.

Embedded Ventures, based in Los Angeles, was founded in November 2020 by tech entrepreneur Jenna Bryant and Jordan Noone, who was co-founder of Relativity Space. The firm has not announced what specific space ventures it is investing in, but said they are companies in the space infrastructure sector developing dual-use technologies for commercial and government use, including in-space communications and logistics, life extension vehicles and resource extraction.

“SpaceWERX is excited to formalize this agreement with Embedded Ventures, creating a highly collaborative and efficient workflow between our two groups, while keeping us all accountable,” said Lt. Col. Walter “Rock” McMillan, director of SpaceWERX.

Mandy Vaughn, former president of Virgin Orbit’s VOX Space, is an operating partner at Embedded Ventures and helped develop the agreement. “Space is inherently different in that it leverages commercial industry as an integral part of every space capability,” she said. Vaughn has argued for changes in the government procurement culture so it can take advantage of emerging technologies and services from the commercial space industry.

Sandra Erwin writes about military space programs, policy, technology and the industry that supports this sector. She has covered the military, the Pentagon, Congress and the defense industry for nearly two decades as editor of NDIA’s National Defense...