Satellite in space

The Air Force Research Lab and Catalyst Space Accelerator are seeking companies with disruptive technologies to apply for the accelerator’s new Space-based Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) Cohort.

The deadline for applications is August 7, and the cohort will run Sept. 9-Nov. 22.

ISR activities entail full-spectrum active and passive sensing, detection, discrimination, warning, and tracking of both earth and space-borne entities, events, and activities of military and national interest, according to a news release issued by Catalyst Space Accelerator. For complete details, read the entire problem set here.

“ISR is the cornerstone of any successful military endeavor. ISR capability development will help ensure U.S. ability to address current and emerging global threats,” Lt. Kwesi Toney, government lead for the ISR accelerator, said in the release.

This is the fourth cohort recruited by Catalyst Space Accelerator. The 12-week, semi-residential program of workshops, customer discovery and networking events is hosted by the AFRL Space Vehicles Directorate at Catalyst Campus in downtown Colorado Springs. 

According to the release, the accelerator’s mission is to “promote technology advancement for the warfighter and guide technology transfer from the commercial market to the government — and vice versa.”

- Advertisement -

Participants will receive immediate capital of $15,000. 

The accelerator’s customer discovery process allows participants to gain a better understanding of the commercial market and customers, warfighter needs and the Department of Defense market, as well as the DoD and commercial acquisition processes. 

Companies are assigned “Air Force sherpas” to help them make military connections, while commercial sherpas help with commercial contacts, according to the release. The accelerator is also seeking sherpas for this new cohort.

“The role of the sherpa is to guide cohort companies through the accelerator process, helping them make connections with potential DoD and commercial customers, and offering their years of experience as guidance during the formative years of these companies,” said KiMar Gartman, Catalyst Accelerator program director.

Attendees are typically on campus alternate weeks, giving them time to manage their companies while working through the program.

The problem set for this cohort, by the AFRL Space Vehicles Directorate, was born during the August 1960 Discoverer 14 delivery of the first space-based reconnaissance imagery on photographic film,” the release stated. “Since that day, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) satellites employed by the US government have evolved to provide a myriad of critical capabilities, particularly persistent, long-term, remote sensing. They also encompass numerous applications such as imagery, signal collection, and missile warning. To deliver these capabilities requires the development and integration of advanced sensors, complex algorithms, and data processing.”

For more information or to apply for the Space-Based ISR Cohort, visit