The United States and the United Kingdom at Defence Space 2020 forum, military space officials shared support for collaborative pitch contests as a way to tap into progress in the commercial space market. 10 firms competing in the first-ever International Space Pitch Day (ISPD) received prizes of £53,000 each ($70,167) at the meeting, including the chance to bid for the United States and United Kingdom follow-on contracts. Army Departments. In a tweet, Will Roper, U.S. Air Force Assistant Secretary for Acquisition, Technology, as well as Logistics, said that Pitch Days open government’s door to work with results-driven businesses.” “Competing outside of our fence lines for technologies has become a huge U.S. Theme for the Space Force and Air Force. Natural evolution is working with our partners to compete internationally.”

After pitching commercial innovations to address military challenges, businesses winning ISPD awards were: 114 AI Engineering of India; Australia’s Clearbox Systems; the U.K.’s Clutch Space Systems and Spire Global U.K.; and United states companies Cognitive Space, precursor SPC, Missile Communications, Slingshot Aerospace, and Swim.ai. The recipient of the final prize was the U.K. Riskaware’s squad and Telespazio Vega UK. Congratulations to the winners and all those who took part in the first International Space Pitch Day, not just around the U.K., it caught the imagination of innovators and armies. “Air Vice Marshal Harvey Smyth, United Kingdom Ministry of Defense space director, said in a statement, “and the United States, but all over the world. We look forward to expanding on the momentum of [ISPD] as we aim to rapidly track creativity and cutting-edge technologies to the front line faster than ever with new ways of operating.”

In the Shark-Tank-style rivalry, people in the United States and the United Kingdom who were working behind the scenes to prepare ISPD and shepherd enterprises faced numerous challenges and finally accomplished several firsts. For, e.g., according to a Nov. 17 ISPD press release, ISPD was the first time that the two nations have given joint defense innovation agreements to overseas-based initiative in this way.” That was also the first time the U.K. awarded same-day contracts to the industry in this manner.” Ministry of Defence’ said the press release. During a Nov. 18 panel discussion, ISPD coordinators outlined some of the obstacles they encountered.

“We had to do some contracting jiu-jitsu to pull it off since we were making contracts in a non-traditional manner,” said the U.S. Air Force Capt. Michael Telcide, manager of the Space and the Missile Systems Center’s space partnership program. The program timeline was also compressed to be in line with the ISPD with the Defence Space 2020, a conference initially intended to be held in London but was forced to move online as a result of the pandemic of COVID-19.

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