By Clint Crosier, Director of Aerospace and satellite solutions, Amazon Web Services (AWS).
Now in its third year, the AWS Space Accelerator is a hybrid technical, business, and mentorship opportunity open to space startups from around the globe who are looking to power their space missions using Amazon Web Services (AWS). In 2023, the AWS Space Accelerator will call on teams and resources across Amazon to help emerging startups focus on cloud-powered solutions that support the use of space as a sustainable and usable environment for years to come, as well as solutions that positively impact life on Earth.
In the first 60 years of humankind’s entry into space, the United Nations documented that fewer than 8,000 objects were launched into space. In the last five years, that number has increased to over 14,000—and the trend isn’t slowing. The ability to manage this rapid increase in global space activity well into the future is just one part of the conversation related to space sustainability.
Space is available to more organisations than ever before, thanks to a number of factors including decreased launch and hardware costs, exciting technological advances like reusable launch vehicles, and efficient and agile cloud tools, services, and software. Combined, these advances translate to boundless opportunities across the aerospace industry. To support continued innovation, the industry needs solutions that enable the long-term sustainability of operations in space and will help humans continue to benefit from the insights that we obtain from space-based data and scientific discovery. In 2023, the AWS Space Accelerator is seeking innovative startups with ideas for applying cloud-based solutions that will help deliver this long-term vision.
What’s new for 2023
While previous iterations of the AWS Space Accelerator were entirely virtual, 2023 will include an in-person “Week Zero” to kick off the program in April 2023, as well as an in-person Demo Day in July 2023. The AWS Space Accelerator will include up to 15 startups, rather than 10 as in previous years.
AWS will deliver the 2023 AWS Space Accelerator in collaboration with TechConnect, a global research and innovation leader with more than 20 years of experience connecting emerging technologies with unique funding and partnership opportunities. TechConnect will lend expertise in venture capital, global market expertise, and startup acceleration to help the selected startups through an intensive, advanced curriculum specially designed to accelerate their growth using AWS.
The four-week program, scheduled for May 2023, will be held virtually to encourage global participation. When applying for this opportunity, we invite startups to propose innovative missions for a variety of applications across the industry that focus on sustainability for space and sustainability from space. These may include solutions that support the long-term sustainability of space operations, as well as those that positively impact sustainability and climate goals here on Earth. We look for startups with the highest potential to make a global impact, those who are most able to capture value from the program, and those with the best fit for AWS.
Why the AWS Space Accelerator
Space provides us with many benefits that are important to how humans live, work, and thrive. AWS provides secure, flexible, scalable, and cost-efficient cloud solutions that will help today’s brightest startups solve some of our most complex challenges across the interconnected domains of space and sustainability. The AWS Space Accelerator is designed to help startups unlock important cloud and business resources as they bring fresh innovation to address these challenges. AWS is committed to supporting startups in their pursuit of groundbreaking new space missions.
Our goal is to empower startups across the global space industry to leverage cloud-based resources to accelerate innovation. The AWS Startup programs have a unique working backward focus where we introduce our cohort of participating startups to large Fortune 500 customers, public sector customers, public-private organisations, venture capitalists, investors, and more. This helps startups develop a unique perspective into the needs and workings of the public sector so they can go to market faster, innovate for the right challenge, and scale their solutions.