Congratulations to the Selected Teams Advancing in the Space Challenges

Congratulations to the Selected Teams Advancing in the Space Challenges

Challenge Overview

Dating back to discussions with the Space and Missile Systems Center in Las Vegas in August 2019, four challenges launched related to space earlier this year:

  • DoD Commercial Space Partnerships: Magnifying the capabilities of the Department of Defense (DoD) by expanding and strengthening its commercial portfolio
  • Global Space Transport and Delivery: Reimagining delivery systems and discovering what is possible with space transport
  • Persistent ISR: Fortifying Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance efforts in advance of the future’s approaching threats
  • Space Asset Resiliency:  Ensuring our space assets can​ survive and thrive in their unique environment and against enemy danger for years to come

The four unique Space Challenges attracted 809 solutions, including submissions from the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, India, Finland, Belgium, and Brazil. Over 50 space subject matter experts from the U.S. government reviewed the submissions. They selected 171 teams to advance to the showcase, originally slated to take place in Seattle at the New Space Conference, the Space Foundation’s annual event held in June.

However, due to the global health crisis, AFWERX pivoted to holding its first-ever EngageSpace event this September. This new type of interactive event was designed to bring government, industry, academia, and entrepreneurs together to dismantle the walls between sectors and revolutionize how the space ecosystem works. EngageSpace also included a public tradeshow featuring each team’s virtual booth complete with video links, a link to their challenge submission, digital brochures, and opportunities for attendees to request a meeting with exhibitors. The invited teams were allotted 10 minutes to make a private pitch, followed by 15 minutes of questions from the evaluation team. 

Contracting Pathways

All of the selected teams for the showcase are eligible to use the Commercial Solutions Opening (CSO) created by AFWERX to gain a contract with the United States Air Force (USAF) and the United States Space Force (USSF) if there is a need that their solution could meet. Also, any US-owned small businesses can obtain Letters of Interest from USAF and USSF, which can be utilized in a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) application. Please note, the SBIR 20.3 application period is open until October 22, 2020, and applications should reference the space focus areas in the Open Topic. Stay tuned for additional details for the SBIR 21.1 application period launching later this year. For more information, visit https://www.afwerx.af.mil/sbir.html. 

Congratulations to the Selected Teams!

Thirty-one solutions from 25 U.S. teams and one international team from Canada were selected to move forward in the Space Challenges. With 13 selected solutions, California topped the charts with the highest representation of the states. The next step will be further investigations and discussions to explore multiple potential pathways forward—best of luck to all teams advancing to the next phase.


The selected teams (in no particular order) are: