The Space Force President Trump help establish as the sixth branch of the U.S. Armed Forces has awarded $32 million in contracts to startups and small businesses. A total of 19 companies were selected for Small Business Innovation Research Phase 2 contracts with each receiving $1.7 million.
Small Business Awarded Money in Space Force Contracts
The 19 companies that were awarded the $1.7 million were previously awarded a Phase I SBIR/STTR contract worth $50K. Phase I contracts look to develop concepts, test feasibility and identify potential Department of the Airforce (DAF) customers. This was a way to show they could continue building on their innovations as well as determining if they are a good fit with the U.S. Space Force (USSF).
The businesses attended a private pitching event in the inaugural Space Force Pitch Day (SFPD) on Aug. 18-19. They showcased their innovations to a team of Air and Space Force experts for a chance to win an SBIR Phase II contract. In Phase II companies with feasible concepts can receive additional funding for prototyping through research, development, test, and evaluation based on user needs.
After the Phase II agreements, they will get help to bridge the capability gap between Phase II efforts and Phase III scaling efforts with the goal of facilitating the delivery of strategic capabilities. After this process, small businesses can access more than $40 million in contracts in one year.
The process of providing contracts to small businesses and startups has been optimized to expedite the acquisition of talent and technology. According to Lt. Col. Walter “Rock” McMillan, director, SpaceWERX, they are doing things differently. McMillan goes on to say, “Space Force is redefining rapid acquisition, development, and fielding of commercial innovations to improve our space capabilities.” Adding, “We need speed and agility as we pivot to deliver swift and responsive capabilities to the warfighter.”
These are the winning companies on Space Force Pitch Day:
- Architecture Technology
- Caliola Engineering
- Cambrian Works
- CAMX Power
- Capella Space
- Cognitive Space
- eBase Analytics
- Lux Semiconductors
- Orbit Fab
- Phase Four
- Rocket Communications
- Starfish Space
- The Provenance Chain Network
- Toyon Research
What is Space Force Pitch Day?
The goal of Space Force Pitch Day is to provide a faster and smarter strategy for investing in technology for the USSF. This includes forming partnerships with small and non-traditional businesses that target Space Force’s most critical space challenges with innovative solutions.
In addition to getting on-the-spot contract awards to small businesses from the USSF, there is also the possibility of getting more funding with direct access to Venture Capital. The Space and Missile Systems Center uses this event to connect the big ideas small businesses have with military space challenges of the U.S.
This year the focus areas were:
- Innovation in early missile detection and warning
- Situational Awareness in space
- Communications in space
- Visualization in space
- Multi-Domain Command and Control,
- Data Mining
- Operations within Electronically contested environments
- Artificial Intelligence
- Responsive Launch Systems
- Space Logistics
- Protection of Critical Space Assets
Small Business and Government Contracts
The U.S. federal government has a goal of awarding 23% prime contracts to small businesses. In the fiscal year 2020, it warded $145.7 billion, which was more than three percentage points of the required 23%. This amounted to 26.01% of the overall federal contracts.
Whether it is the high-tech small businesses bidding for USSF contracts or providing janitorial services, there are many opportunities for businesses across almost all industries. There are laws in place to getting small businesses better shots at federal contracts, so make sure to take advantage of it.
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Image: Space Force
Sounds like a cool event to attend. Too bad they probably didn’t broadcast any of the pitches.