As of 2016, satellite communications accounted for 49% of the operational satellite market with 35% coming from the commercial sector. Additionally, communications satellites accounted for 22% of the overall satellite revenue for the year 2016. From a military perspective, space communications ensures effective transmission of information to and from the warfighter. The Air Force is looking for a suite of options to augment, supplement, backup, complement, and/or improve current space communications capabilities. Solutions may be ground-based or space-borne and involve some combination of hardware devices, software, data products, algorithms, or services. These solutions need to demonstrate commercial viability to ensure an efficient evolution through development to respond to rapidly evolving technologies. It is not required that all of these capabilities come in one product or solution, but it is necessary that any solution that solves part of the space communications problem be able to integrate well with other existing and potential solutions. Rather than creating stove-piped solutions, the Air Force and DoD are interested in having existing and emerging space assets be integrated into a resilient multi-domain network. This problem will have both architectural and technology solutions. Architectural solutions include the incorporation of commercial capabilities to conduct C2 and transport data. Technology solutions are needed to guard against space-specific threats. Current space communications challenges include but are not limited to robust/cybersecure communications networking solutions, interoperability among existing comm solutions, jam-resistant technology, band exploitation, and solutions for low-likelihood of interception/detection.

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  • Headquartered on the Catalyst Campus for Technology and Innovation in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
  • 12-week, semi-residential program – participating companies attend in person workshops and events every other week from Tuesday – Friday at Catalyst Campus
  • Based on Lean Startup Methodology developed by Steve Blank
  • Uses the Economic Gardening-based curriculum provided by SBDC-Boulder
  • Vectored towards second-stage businesses.
  • Mentorship-based. Participating companies are designated an Air Force mentor, a SBDC-Boulder entrepreneurial mentor and a Colorado PTAC government contracting mentor who will take the time to ensure the cohort’s success throughout the program milestones.
  • The Catalyst Accelerator provides:
    o Office space (a collaborative workspace that includes huddle rooms, Skype booths, conference rooms, whiteboard walls, and an open kitchen)
    o A collaborative ecosystem and resources necessary to nurture the next level of innovation
  • In close proximity to the Air Force customer – reduces customer discovery process from an average of two years in the typical government market to less than three months.
  • Direct access to operational experts and stakeholders from the Air Force and other government agencies, as well as the Catalyst Campus, SBDC, PTAC and SCORE national network of mentors, partners and investors.
  • Access to rapid funding mechanisms such as Other Transaction Agreements (OTAs) and SBIR grants.
  • Access to rapid acquisition program managers.
  • Supports Founders with strategic planning and customized market research to overcome market and growth barriers. Over 20 hours of strategic growth consulting with each business.
  • Combination of commercial and DoD exposure and opportunities.
  • Goals of the accelerator:
    o To guide each business in identifying and developing government and commercial market opportunities.
    o To help each business to build strategies and systems to overcome hurdles to business growth.
    o To help each business to develop a Business Model Canvas or Mission Model Canvas which will become their strategic plan for advancement.
  • Intensive pitch practice culminates in Demo Day in front of 100+ investors and government stakeholders.
  • Our program has standardized funding terms. Each participating company receives $15,000 for 5% success fee up to $50,000 for three years after the completion of the program on contracts awarded as a direct result of participating in the Catalyst Accelerator program.