Four of six companies that spent four months this year in the Catalyst Accelerator at Catalyst Campus for Technology and Innovation have won Small Business Innovation Research Grants.
The four companies — Adaptive Systems, Advanced Radar Co., Guidestar Optical Systems and SaraniaSat — all were part of the first session of the accelerator’s program that was completed in April. They received grants to continue developing better weather data and related, commercially viable products. The accelerator partnered on the first session with the Air Force Research Lab Space Vehicles Directorate, which is the service’s space technology research and development arm.
The grants are designed to help the Air Force rapidly acquire new technologies, giving the companies three months to develop a basic blueprint for their technology. The awards came within days of the accelerator accepting eight companies for the second session, which will work on positioning, navigation and timing technologies as alternatives to the Global Positioning System network of satellites. All eight companies received similar Small Business Innovation Research grants.
Longmont-based Guidestar was the biggest winner of the grants, landing four totaling $500,000 to continue developing advanced optical measurement and control systems for light propagation through the atmosphere. Colorado Springs-based Adaptive received a $50,000 grant for weather intelligence and data integration products. Boulder-based Adaptive Radar also got $50,000 to commercialize a new generation of advanced weather radars and Los Angeles-based SarniaSat got $50,000 to bring “aircraft and satellite remote-sensing, data and information products” to agriculture and other industries.
Troy Rhoadarmer, Guidestar’s founder and principal scientist said three of the award topics “are related to the technology we brought with us to the Catalyst Accelerator. We shifted a little bit as we went through the Catalyst program and modified what we ended up pitching” for the grant. While at the accelerator, “we talked to potential customers who gave us a better understanding of what they were looking for and how and where our technology can be applied to what they are doing.”
Rob Lancaster, Adaptive’s CEO and chief scientist, said the company was “stuck” in neutral because it didn’t want to accept investment and lose the rights to the technology it was developing, but since they had to keep their full-time jobs they “couldn’t afford to put in our own funds to do it full time to really ‘accelerate’ the technology ourselves.”
The eight companies accepted to the second session are:
• Colorado Springs-based Braxton Technologies , which is working on inserting “software-defined radio” positioning, navigation and timing transmitters to ground control elements of satellite and flight missions when GPS signals are poor or blocked.
• Boulder-based ColdQuanta is developing a laser cooling chip-scale atomic clock for use on land or in the air when GPS is blocked.
• Echo Ridge of Sterling, Va., is developing a GPS-complementary receiver that takes in signals from other radio frequency sources when GPS isn’t available.
• esc Aerospace of Orlando, Fla., is developing a positing, navigation and timing receiver that takes in signals from many sources to provide such data when GPS signals are poor or blocked.
• Nokomis Inc., of Charleroi, Pa., is developing a way to provide positioning, navigation and timing signals when GPS signals are blocked by using radio transmissions of commercial satellites in low-Earth orbits.
• Chicago-based NOVAA is developing sensing and navigation solutions for use in the most challenging environments.
• PreTalen of Dayton, Ohio, is developing a transmitter that transmit multiple user-defined, software-controlled navigation signals by radio frequency.
• Third Insight of Austin, Texas, is developing a way to provide three-dimensional tracking and mapping where GPS signals are poor or blocked by using an “intelligent body camera.”
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