Randy Kendall, vice president of launch program operations at Aerospace Corp., has said the U.S. military has showed renewed interest in partnering with commercial space startups driven by technological advances and space-based national security threats, SpaceNews reported Sunday.
“Today feels like 1998, that was the last time we had the same level of enthusiasm with startups,” Kendall noted.
“Cubesats can now do imagery and communications. And investors are putting up money,” he added.
Kendall cited regulatory reforms and senior leadership efforts as other driving factors behind the change and mentioned the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s effort to attract innovators through a launch challenge.
Aerospace Corp. established a test lab that accommodates approximately 100 technology projects in order to help the U.S. Air Force identify new space technologies.
“We’re looking everywhere for ideas and technologies… We’re certainly bullish on the potential that lies in startups, in the entrepreneurial community,” said Randy Villahermosa, director of innovation at Aerospace Corp.