To the moon! Amazon Web Services lists first startups for AWS Space Accelerator

Lunar Outpost is developing a robotic resource prospector called MAPP, or Mobile Autonomous Prospecting Platform, and has already been given NASA’s go-ahead to collect material on the moon. (Lunar Outpost via YouTube)

The first 10 companies to participate in Amazon Web Services’ accelerator program for space-centric startups are targeting territory ranging from low Earth orbit to the surface of the moon and Mars.

Today’s announcement follows up on the unveiling of the AWS Space Accelerator in March. Amazon chief technology officer Werner Vogels said the 10 ventures were selected out of more than 190 proposals from 44 countries.

“These companies from the United States and Europe cover a wide range of space capabilities with impact here on Earth today, as well as on humanity’s approach to working and living in space in the future,” he wrote in a blog posting.

Over a four-week span, the companies will be provided with hands-on technical training in machine learning, high-performance computing and other tools of the cloud computing trade. They’ll hear from mentors about business development and investment, and they’ll receive $100,000 in AWS Activate credit for cloud services.

“As we like to say at Amazon, ‘speed matters,’ and our goal is to have these startups come out on the other side of their brief four weeks prepared to make an even bigger mark on the space industry,” Vogels said.

Some of the startups have fewer than 20 employees, while other have more than 100. They also come from a range of places on the funding-round timeline, from seed to Series C. Here’s the full rundown:

Cognitive Space, based in Texas, offers scalable constellation management for satellite operators by leveraging cloud and AI technology.
D-Orbit, which was founded in Italy and has a subsidiary in Britain, focuses on space logistics and transportation services, including in-orbit data storage and processing.
Descartes Labs is a New Mexico-based geospatial intelligence company that analyzes remote-sensing data and imagery for applications ranging from military intelligence to mineral exploration.
Edgybees. headquartered in Maryland, provides instant situational awareness to aerial video and imagery, using an augmented-reality platform that’s well-suited for first responders at a disaster scene.
HawkEye 360 is a Virginia-based data analytics company that uses satellites to monitor radio-frequency activity for government and commercial applications.
LeoLabs, based in California, specializes in precision tracking of space debris in low Earth orbit, using machine learning analytics and its network of ground-based, phased-array radars.
Lunar Outpost is a Colorado startup that is developing fully autonomous robots and other technologies that will enable extended human presence on the surface of the moon and Mars.
Orbital Sidekick, headquartered in California, combines high-resolution hyperspectral satellite imagery and machine learning algorithms to detect changes in data sets and provide actionable insights for industries including energy, environmental monitoring and defense.
Satellite Vu is a British venture that’s on a mission to solve climate change by tracking thermal emissions from human-made structures around the globe.
Ursa Space, based in New York, provides on-demand data analysis to customers using geospatial intelligence and Earth observation data.

AWS Space Accelerator is a collaboration between Amazon Web Services’ Aerospace and Satellite Solutions business segment and British-based Seraphim Capital.

Space-based cloud applications have attracted more interest from AWS over the past few years, as demonstrated by the establishment of the aerospace unit as well as AWS Ground Station, a cloud-based platform for satellite control. Amazon also is working on a broadband satellite constellation known as Project Kuiper — an effort that complements AWS’ focus on the high frontier.

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