USSF’s Space And Missile Systems Center  (SMC) along with its partners have announced the winners of International Space Pitch Day (ISPD). Small tech companies and start-ups from multiple countries had the opportunity to pitch their ideas in front of several U.S., U.K. and N.A.T.O. allied defense leaders on Nov. 16, 2020.


During the event, ten start-ups successfully secured same-day contracts and a slice of the $1M pot, to fast-track the development of their innovations. This marks the first time two nations have come together to award defense contracts based around a pitch-style event and the first time two nations have awarded joint defense innovation contracts to foreign companies.


“I am so proud of the work our SMC team has done with our friends in the UK MoD to continue discovering new innovation and technology for the security of space,” said Lt. Gen. John Thompson, SMC commander and program executive office for space. “By jointly acquiring innovative and technologically relevant space capabilities, we harness the strength of partnerships between the Space Force and our allies to rapidly deliver war winning capabilities that outpace threats.” 


SMC’s Chief Partnership Office (CPO) was established to expand SMC’s partnerships with global allies and to strengthen its space enterprise architecture. International Space Pitch Day is one of those efforts and included several months of planning, coordination and execution garnering the participation from over 32 countries. For the U.S. effort, SMC CPO personnel worked tirelessly with other Air Force and DoD agencies such as the AF Research Lab (AFRL) and AFWERX to ensure operations went smoothly. 


ISPD was a collaborative effort led by the U.K. Defense and Security Accelerator (DASA), the U.K. Defense Science and Technology Laboratory Space Program (Dstl), and SMC on behalf of the U.S. Department of Defense and the U.K. Ministry of Defense. The team of innovators at SMC, DASA, and Dstl in collaboration with Starburst Aerospace, pushed the envelope for ISPD, overcoming a number of legal, authoritative, international and global pandemic hurdles to pull off an incredible feat.


“Both our teams had to overcome many challenges to pull this event off especially in a pandemic,” said Deanna Ryals, SMC’s International Partnership Office chief. “But clearly, our collective desire to find innovative solutions to solve joint problems was more important.  An event like International Space Pitch Day demonstrates our intent to add new partnership tools to our kit to get after the hard tasks and deliver unprecedented capabilities.” 


Fifteen companies were able to pitch their innovative ideas during the private pitch day on Monday, Nov. 16, 2020. The winners were announced shortly after the culmination of public pitching by all the companies on Nov. 17, 2020. 


The winning companies are:

·         Clearbox Systems

·         114 AI Innovation

·         Riskaware

·         Clutch Space Systems

·         Spire Global UK

·         Rocket Communications


·         Precursor SPC

·         Slingshot Aerospace

·         Cognitive Space


International Space Pitch Day was held virtually in conjunction with this year’s Defence Space Conference in London. Keynote speakers included Dr. Will Roper, assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisition, technology and logistics, Gary Aitkenhead, chief executive of the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory and Mircea Geoana, deputy secretary general of N.A.T.O.


“Pitch Days open the government’s aperture to work with commercially-focused companies. Competing for technology outside of our fence lines has been a major U.S. Air Force and Space Force theme. Partnering with our allies to compete globally is the natural evolution,” said Dr. Will Roper, assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisition, technology and logistics. “Space is especially exciting with so many ideas brought to the table by these firms, and I’m confident international space cooperation has a bright future.”


For more information and to learn about International Space Pitch Day, please visit or visit UK’s DASA’s website at   


To find out more about the winning companies visit,