JUST IN: Future of Space Force Tech Hub Comes into Focus
Photo-illustration iStock imagesThe Space Force’s new innovation hub will soon announce the technologies it wants to work with industry to develop, AFWERX director Col. Nathan Diller said Feb. 24.
SpaceWERX, the new technology accelerator office that will work with commercial companies to focus on building technologies for the Space Force, was announced in December.
The new office lives under the Air Force Research Laboratory’s AFWERX innovation hub which is the uniting entity between AFVentures, an effort that aims to foster relationships with innovators and private capital investment to help the service solve problems, and Agility Prime, the Air Force’s flying car program.
“We are expecting very soon in the coming months to actually narrow down that space topic into what would be our space prime,” Diller said during a call with reporters on Feb. 24.
The new Prime program — Space Prime — which is associated with SpaceWERX, was also announced in December by the Air Force Research Laboratory.
Agility Prime was the first prime program in the AFWERX Prime Division, Diller said. Moving forward, future Prime programs will build off the successes of the flying car program, former Air Force Secretary Barbara Barrett said in December according to an Air Force press release. Other Prime programs the office is planning for will focus on autonomy, energy, gaming, supersonics and microelectronics.
SPACEWERX is also expecting to see several space companies begin to take advantage of its new STRATFI program, Diller said.
The Strategic Financing program, or STRATFI, is a recent initiative that aims to increase the caps on small business innovation research awards.
The purpose of the program is to catalyze the relationships between Air Force and Space Force and acquisition professionals, private-sector innovators and the investment community, according to AFWERX.
Although the SpaceWERX hub is currently based out of the Los Angeles Air Force Base, the service will soon stand up its own office, Diller said.
“We have a lieutenant colonel that is identified out there, he has a team that he's building up already with SpaceWERX,” he said.
AFWERX is aiming to do another “launch” of SpaceWERX this summer to more deliberately talk through the details surrounding the technology accelerator and the contracting activities associated with the new Space Prime, Diller noted.
Although the new hub was recently announced, AFWERX has been investing in space-based technologies since its inception. Approximately $400 million dollars to date has been invested from the original innovation hub into space technologies, Jason Rathje, AFVentures managing partner said during the call.