US, UK launch military-space competition for startups

The two countries have jointly put up £1 million, or $1.3 million, to tap into potential new ideas in six technology areas from small companies, innovators and others around the world.

US, UK launch military-space competition for startups
US, UK launch military-space competition for startups

US, UK launch military-space competition for startups

The U.S. and the U.K. government are inviting inventors and startups for a competition. The competition will focus on adapting commercial technology solutions to answer pressing challenges in the military space sector.

The two countries have jointly put up £1 million, or $1.3 million, to tap into potential new ideas in six technology areas from small companies, innovators and others around the world.

The finalists will face a beauty parade in front of senior British, American and NATO military officials at a space conference scheduled to take place in London in November.

Up to 15 proposals will be shortlisted to go forward with further work on what is being called International Space Pitch Day.

Harv Smyth, Air Vice-Marshal, stated that the initiative is all about fast-tracking innovation and cutting-edge technology to the front line quicker than ever before, and fresh ways of working with industry to make sure they stay ahead of their shared adversaries and the threats they pose.

Smyth will be one of the judges at the conference, which will be held virtually if the live event is canceled. The format will be the first international collaboration of its kind between two allies, the Ministry of Defence said.

Organizations that make it through to the space conference final will be in contention to secure a $66,000 contract from the judges to speed up the development of what is expected to be mainly commercial innovations and technology.

The effort, run by Britain’s Defence and Security Accelerator organization, is funded by the U.K. Defence Science and Technology Laboratory, the Royal Air Force and the US Air Force.

The aim is to find, fund and fast track innovations by tech startups and other experts in order to accelerate the development of commercial space technology s to solve problems in the defense space sector.

This year’s competition is seeking solutions to six challenges set by the U.K. and U.S. space teams:

  1. Visualization of key events and knowledge for combined space operations with allies and commercial partners.
  2. Understanding current satellite systems relevant to the operations of a specific commander.
  3. Understanding this and potential impact of space weather on users across all domains.
  4. Provision of coaching against realistic threats and opportunities, incorporating live data, and integrating space across multiple domains.
  5. Enabling common and user-defined operational pictures to support multinational space domain awareness and command and control.
  6. A verification and comparison tool for space domain awareness, which may take orbital observation data from a spread of sources and during a sort of formats and produce one, reliable operational picture.