INTRODUCTION

What is International
Space Pitch Day?

Building on the successful Accelerator and Pitch Day model, first developed by the US Air Force, the UK Defence Science and Technology Laboratory and the UK Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) has brought together a coalition of UK and US partners to pilot the first Allied Defence Accelerator and International Space Pitch Day. The Accelerator and Pitch Day model represents an innovative way of working, ensuring that UK and US Defence are able to keep up with the rapid pace of commercial technology development. We aim to connect world-class space innovation to military end-users at pace, supported by business and commercialisation training referred to as the Allied Defence Accelerator, provided by the internationally-recognised accelerator Starburst Aerospace.

On behalf of the UK Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl), the UK MOD and US DoD, DASA is looking for potential defence solutions that are able to keep pace with the rapid technological change seen in the commercial sector. This competition is therefore focussed on technologies that have proven commercial value, with potential to be applied to military space capability problems. Your solution may therefore be an adaptation of an existing non-defence solution.

International Space Pitch Day is being organised on behalf of the UK’s Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl), the UK MoD and US DoD. The competition will be managed by the Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) in the UK and Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) in the US with support from Starburst Accelerator (Starburst).

This inaugural competition, powered by the Allied Defence Accelerator, will focus on ‘space’ with six (6) unique challenge areas. Details for the space competition challenges are below.

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Challenge 1

Visualisation of key events and information, including system status of health monitoring, in near real-time, for combined space operations with allies and commercial partners

USER NARRATIVE

I am a military officer, conducting multi-national combined space operations. I need to visualise and understand what is happening in relation to a significant space event (such as a conjunction) involving one or more space objects. This will support the sharing of information with allies and commercial partners who are not in the same physical location, and will enable me to make informed recommendations to senior decision-makers about potential national responses and their implications. In order to achieve this understanding, I need to know how the current situation has developed, what is happening now, and what might happen soon.

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Challenge 2

Visualisation to help a commander in the field to understand satellite systems relevant to their operations

USER NARRATIVE

As the commander of a military unit conducting an operation against a technologically-sophisticated adversary, I want to visualise and understand the space-based systems (friendly, adversary, and third party/commercial) that are operating over the area, as well as the services and support they are providing my operation. This will allow me to articulate which services I need as a priority, such that the allocation of satellite services can be prioritised within a multi-national architecture. This will improve my ability to make informed decisions regarding when and how my force should move and communicate.

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Challenge 3

Understanding the present and potential impact of space weather on users across all domains

USER NARRATIVE

I am an officer working in a joint headquarters helping to plan the next phase of a military operation involving maritime, land, and air forces. I want to be able to understand what impact space weather (by effect type, for example - types of charging, atmospheric scintillation, and increased drag) has or may have on my operations. I am responsible for understanding the current state of health of different assets under my command or that influence the effective operations of the architecture. These assets are often owned/managed by a wide variety of groups and stakeholders (i.e. UK MOD, US DOD, commercial industry, ESA, or NASA). I therefore tend not to have an ‘at-a-glance’ understanding of what their current availabilities are, or if they have any projected maintenance/down-times that could negatively affect mission during a critical time if not mitigated. A tool or service that helps me manage this by providing a synopsis of current and expected outages during a shift would help me plan and respond as needed.

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Challenge 4

Provision of training against realistic threats and opportunities, incorporating live data, synthetic hazardous situations, and integrating space across multiple domains

USER NARRATIVE

I am the commander of a small military force (such as the captain of a warship, the commander of a tank squadron or the leader of an aircraft formation). The force is undertaking a synthetic rehearsal of its next mission, against a technologically-sophisticated adversary. I want to be able to experience potential space events and effects so that I can understand how they may affect the operation. This will help me address threats and capitalize on opportunities as they present themselves.

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Challenge 5

Enabling multi-level security for a Common and User-Defined Operational Pictures to support multi-nation Space Domain Awareness and Command and Control

USER NARRATIVE

As the Commander of the Combined Force Space Component, I am responsible for a coalition force with sophisticated space capabilities. In order to support combined operations with my space capabilities, my Operations Centre must be able to create the space operations plan and issue it to subordinate units for execution. To ensure shared awareness across the coalition force, other coalition members need visibility of the space planning and execution process, including intelligence and information across multiple security levels. This awareness will be enabled by a Common Operational Picture, which includes bilateral and multilateral information sharing across multiple security levels, into a commonly accessible pool.

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Challenge 6

Verification and comparison for Space Domain Awareness data, from a variety of sources and in a variety of formats to produce a single, reliable operational picture

USER NARRATIVE

As the Commander of the Combined Force Space Component, I am responsible for ensuring the highest quality data is being integrated into our system, so it produces an accurate common operational picture and provides the best support to combined operations. In order to maximize available data, the system must make use of all available sources, both military and commercial, and conduct sufficient processing and checks to ensure consistency of calibration and presentation of satellite data. This tool must also be capable of comparing multiple satellite catalogues in a variety of formats, in addition to enabling one vs one comparisons in a variety of formats. This is so that I can understand the difference between the various catalogue perceptions, and verify that the correct satellites are being assessed. If a new satellite is discovered and an orbit submitted, I would like to know the probability of this being a new satellite, or a satellite already tracked by another system. Since most catalogues have more than 20 objects, I need a dashboard that can provide me with an ‘at a glance’ view of satellites of interest. This will help me to single out the satellites that require deeper analysis.

Proposals for funding to meet one of the challenges must be submitted by Wednesday 2 September 2020 at midday BST via the DASA submission service, for which you will be required to register. Innovators who wish to submit a proposal must first complete the compulsory registration questions. This allows DASA and its partners to rapidly assess the suitability of the innovator and their technology for inclusion at Pitch Day. 

The total available funding at Pitch Day is expected to be £800k (approximately $1M) to be distributed amongst up to 15 startups. Each proposal has a financial limit of £53k (approximately $67k), ex VAT. Proposals must be costed in British pound sterling (GBP). If successful, contracts will be awarded for a maximum duration of 3 months. Further guidance on submitting a proposal is available on the DASA website.

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