ISR Problem Statement

“Thus, what enables the wise sovereign and the good general to strike and conquer, and achieve things beyond ordinary men, is foreknowledge.”
– Sun Tzu, The Art of War

We are entering an exciting era in space where technologies long considered to be things of science fiction are becoming reality. Since the first space-based reconnaissance imagery was captured on photographic film by the Discoverer 13 nearly sixty years ago, US space-based intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) technologies have greatly evolved and transformed the nature of warfare, providing an unprecedented level of “foreknowledge” to the warfighter and to our national security. Indeed, they provide the unique capability of persistent, long-term, remote sensing and encompass many applications including, but not limited to imagery, signal collection, and missile warning.  To deliver these capabilities requires the development and integration of advanced sensors, complex algorithms, data processing, and novel ideas that result in disruptive technology.

Catalyst Accelerator is seeking small businesses and startups with commercially viable solutions to address Air Force (AF) and Department of Defense (DoD) applications in space-based ISR. ISR activities entail full-spectrum (ELF thru RF, MMW, THz, IR, EO, UV, and ionizing radiation) active and passive sensing, characterization, detection, discrimination, warning, and tracking of both earth and space-borne entities, events, and activities of military and national interest.  Preferred solutions are near-term operational; however, all innovative technology solutions will be considered. Ideal solutions will operate well within a contested space environment, e.g. are/readily made resilient to jamming, blinding, spoofing, and disablement, and be able to integrate well with solutions and architectures sourced by multiple vendors. Technologies of relevance include significantly advantageous sensing devices including detectors, transmitters, antennas, optics; signal processing and multi-source fusion algorithms, computing resources, and services; and technologies and methods for smart distribution of ISR products to DoD consumers (the right information to the attention of the right entity at the right time).  This is not considered an all-encompassing list of potential technologies.  Specifically, technologies able to advance ISR with disruptive solutions and novel applications of existing technology are of particular interest.

Dates of Accelerator:  Sept 9 – Nov 22, 2019