2020 Call for Government Problem Sponsors

The U.S. Space Force’s Hyperspace Challenge is seeking problem sponsors/end-users with needs related to leveraging emerging technologies in autonomy and automation for the space domain. This program is open to all federal agencies.

The Hyperspace Challenge identifies and curates commercial innovations in response to your problem statement, and will execute in the fall of 2020. The overarching challenge statement is: 

“How might we accelerate adoption of trusted autonomous solutions for space”? 

Specifically, we’re looking for any government or industry users who have problems related to employing rapid experimentation in and for space and who have some influence on buying decisions or other incentives for startups. Industry problem sponsors should have an ultimate government end-user that would benefit from the proposed problem solution. Examples of potential problem statements include: 

New solutions to build trust in autonomous technology: 

  • How might we leverage advancements in autonomy from other domains (automobiles, UAVs, etc.) to create smart space services? 
  • How might we convince/incentivize government entities that autonomous solutions can be trusted in high-impact applications, and to adopt automation in an expedited fashion? Autonomy to improve data management in space: 
  • How might we enhance autonomy of onboard data processing and analysis to expedite useful end products to decision makers? Changing culture and aligning incentives – Identifying the best test cases for trying new tech in the space domain: 
  • How might we leverage trustworthy autonomous space-related technology to elevate human actions? 
  • How might we leverage commercial autonomy successes to build trust? 

Find information on the past two years’ programs, focused on geospatial data analytics and small satellite technologies, at www.hyperspacechallenge.com

As a participant you can expect to: 

  • Meet with vetted companies curated to solve your problem, 
  • Expose your team to new ways to innovate rapidly by partnering with commercial industry through the Lean Startup model, 
  • Meet leaders across the government working the latest in autonomy and, 
  • Discover the newest commercial technology available from across a wide variety of industries. 

Want to see how new innovations in the commercial sector might apply to your work?

Contact Radley Serafico (radley@afrlnewmexico.com) by July 3rd, problem statements submitted after July 3rd will be considered based on available resources.  

Call for Problem Sponsors – Government, Industry, and Beyond 

As a Problem Sponsor, we ask that you work with our team to develop and submit a problem statement. You can see problem statements from the past two years at www.hyperspacechallenge.com. If selected, we identify, vet, and bring together companies with new technologies to work through your challenges. Below we have outlined the basic structure for participation in the program.

Submissions: 

  • Discovery call with Hyperspace Challenge program directors (1 hour) 
  • Craft a problem statement (2 – 4 hours)

○ Write a one-page document describing your problem, to include supporting examples and representative datasets where possible. Presentation to Companies: 

  • Webinar presentation (2-3 hours) 

○ Prepare and attend a 1 to 1.5 hour webinar. The format is a facilitated discussion followed by a Q+A with listening companies. 

○ Respond in writing to questions not addressed during the webinar or submitted afterwards. 

  • Vetting companies (10-15 hours

○ Review and judge 4-8 company applications. ‘HyperAccelerator Week’: 

  • Tentatively scheduled for the week of September 28, 2020. In the past this event was in person in Albuquerque, NM, but given the COVID-19 pandemic, we anticipate the event will be virtual this year. (30 hours) 

We still require 2-3 days to be dedicated for your participation and collaboration during this time. Follow on: 

  • Be available for follow-up meetings, for example, hosting meetings with “strong-signal” companies within 3 months of the Hyper Accelerator Week. 10 – 20 hours. 

There is an expectation that a Problem Sponsor will work to provide post-accelerator opportunities for startups that demonstrate the ability to provide a solution or make progress on a problem. Examples of post-accelerator opportunities for startups from past cohorts include: 

  • SBIRs, STTRs and Open BAA contracts (eg. AFRL’s STAR contracting process) 
  • OTAs, CRADAs, Special topic SBIRs 
  • Prototype demos, facility sharing, tech development, launch opportunities. 

Have an automation challenge your team is ready to explore? Contact Radley Serafico (radley@afrlnewmexico.com) by July 3rd, problem statements submitted after July 3rd will be considered based on available resources. 

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