Closes Friday: Apply to the Space Domain Awareness Challenge Pitch-off at TC Disrupt 2023

Viewed today, the vintage sci-fi TV show Lost in Space was a hoot. But TechCrunch and the Aerospace Corporation are more interested in startups that can help protect people, crafts and cargo from the Robinson family’s fate. If your startup’s focused on AI and satellite data streams, listen up!

Space Domain Awareness Challenge Pitch-off at TC Disrupt 2023

You have just five days left to apply to the Space Domain Awareness Challenge Pitch-off taking place September 19 on the Space Stage at TechCrunch Disrupt 2023, which runs September 19–21.

The Aerospace Corporation and TechCrunch are joining forces to host a pitch competition to find the best startups using AI/machine learning to work with satellite data streams. Space Domain Awareness arises from the output of all the sensor data.

Space operators are totally reliant on sensors in space and on the ground to get a complete picture of what’s happening in Earth’s orbit and beyond. Space operators must task sensors correctly with the complex job of collecting data. The challenge is then parsing, packaging and disseminating the output of a significant number of data streams to the correct data consumer across various teams at the correct time.

We call this scenario in Space Domain Awareness the “media streaming problem,” because, just like popular streaming providers, the data has to be collected, analyzed and delivered to the correct audience at the right time.

The central question:

How can AI/ML tool sets be used to parse sensor data, address the media streaming challenge and increase our understanding of satellite sensor generated data?

Applicants should be able to work with the following datasets:

  • Telemetry data.
  • Mission data.
  • Comms links data.

Space Domain Awareness Challenge Pitch-off prizes

Five finalists will get the rare opportunity to pitch in front of our judges on the Space Stage at TechCrunch Disrupt 2023 and exhibit their AI/ML startup at the event. One winner will get the opportunity for a customer roadshow and expert-led concept feedback.

Five finalist startups will receive:

  • A five-minute pitch session on the Space Stage at TechCrunch Disrupt on September 19, 2023, in San Francisco.
  • Four free tickets per team to attend Disrupt 2023.
  • One standing demo table or kiosk in the expo hall for all three days of Disrupt.

One winning startup will also receive:

  • Technical concept assessment and feedback by Aerospace technical/program experts, discussion of potential customer base, and a road show for the next stage of incubation.

Pitch eligibility requirements:

Open to early-stage companies that are in “idea stage,” up to and including “Series A stage” companies that are also either:

  • A wholly owned U.S. company with a U.S.-based workforce.
  • A company based in a NATO member country (including Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Norway) AND authorized to participate in NATO-related business opportunities.

You’ll find more specifics on requirements, plus general terms and conditions when you apply here. Don’t delay — submit your application by August 18 at 11:59 p.m. PDT. We will notify all applicants — whether or not they’ve been selected as a finalist — on a rolling basis.

What are you waiting for? Launch your company into our space-focused pitch competition today, and come join us at TechCrunch Disrupt 2023 in September. Show us what you’ve got!

TechCrunch Disrupt 2023 takes place on September 19–21 in San Francisco. Not quite ready to pitch? No worries, you’ll find plenty of other space-related opportunities — and more — waiting for you. Hurry — tickets are almost sold out! Buy your Disrupt pass today and save up to $400. Prices increase at the door!

Is your company interested in sponsoring or exhibiting at TechCrunch Disrupt 2023? Contact our sponsorship sales team by filling out this form.


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