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SpaceWERX launches Tactically Responsive Space Challenge Definition Workshop

  • Published
  • By Kristen Dennis

LAS VEGAS – In an effort to generate new ideas and cutting-edge orbital defense technologies, SpaceWERX hosted a Tactically Responsive Space, or TacRS, Challenge Definition Workshop at the AFWERX Innovation Hub in Las Vegas, Nevada.

These workshops provide military end-users with an opportunity to interface with industry experts.

“To become aware of the things that need to be accomplished by 2026 and determine who is responsible for the different parts is the end goal,” said 2nd Lt. Brady Pudwill, 2nd Space Launch Squadron. “It enables us to attack it intentionally in collaboration with industry.”

This workshop marks the beginning of a multi-year challenge to gain new technologies that will enable the U.S. Space Force to more rapidly and flexibly respond to emerging on-orbit threats by 2026. SpaceWERX and the Space Force hope that successful solutions could reduce response times from months or weeks to days or hours, significantly improving orbital defense capabilities. The CDW brought together industry, academia and government subject matter experts for a two-day event in which on-orbit defense problems could be discussed and workshopped into solicitations that the companies could potentially fulfill. By pairing the AFWERX Challenge’s proven industry engagement processes with the Space Force’s Small Business Innovation Research program, AFWERX intends to drive investment into emerging TacRS capabilities. SpaceWERX has $34 million set to invest into these projects as they develop over the next year.

Among the attendees of the event were 116 industry representatives as well as 32 government or military representatives. While some of these companies had previously worked with AFWERX, others were new to government contracts. Subject matter experts also attended, in areas as diverse as logistics, space payload sensors, launch vehicles, processing strategies and more.

"The TacRS Challenge Workshop was the first to allow industry, the solution providers, to participate in framing the topics to be released,” said Gary Li, from Impulse Space, Inc. “I have no doubt there will be more high-quality solutions due to this novel approach."

Attendees had the benefit of the subject matters expertise while they workshopped ideas for potential new orbital technologies. They also were able to network with other space industry stakeholders and make valuable connections that could be beneficial in the future. “There were a lot of great connections with other companies who could be potential customers, meeting face-to-face with current Department of Defense stakeholders and venture capital interactions,” said Robert Keane, from Velontra. “One of the better events I've been to!”

With the completion of the CDW, these companies are now well positioned to enter the next stage of the solicitation process. The insights gained in the workshop will inform the TacRS Challenge solicitation, which is scheduled to be released later this year.

The TacRS Challenge will continue through workshops, crowdsourced campaigns and live events through 2026.