NASA’s first aerospace accelerator program, co-sponsored by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, will select 10 startup companies to take part in a three-month pilot program to develop new technologies for space.

Applications will be accepted through April 7. Organized by Techstars with support from Starburst Aerospace, the pilot program will enable the selected companies to collaborate with engineers and subject matter experts from JPL and from co-sponsors Lockheed Martin, the U.S. Air Force, Maxar Technologies, SAIC and Israel Aerospace Industries North America.

The accelerator will focus on technologies that can be applied to space – including geospatial analytics, digital design coupled to advanced manufacturing, autonomous systems, applied AI and machine learning. A main goal of the pilot program is to help both applicants and JPL swiftly develop technology that could be used for future space missions while also promoting collaboration between industry and NASA.

“We want to assist these companies in developing their own technologies and becoming commercial successes. NASA will also benefit by collaborating with these companies,” said Tom Cwik, manager of the Space Technology Office at JPL.

Based in Los Angeles, the accelerator program begins on July 15. After developing their concepts and business plans over a three-month period, the teams will then pitch their results to the NASA community, co-sponsors and private investors at a Demo Day in October.

“Industry is developing new technologies rapidly, using new tools and methods in software development and other areas,” said Cwik. “It’s incumbent upon us to learn from developments in industry and contribute our vast expertise in technology as we prepare to use them in our future missions.”

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