Meet the Eight Startups Selected for Cohort 5 of Starburst & UCLA’s SCALE Accelerator

From carbon nanotubes and alternative fuel technology to electro thermal anti-icing and geospatial data solutions, Aligned Carbon, Aphelion Aerospace, Apsidal, Four Resolutions, Minim Zero, Stellar Amenities, Quantum-South, & Vael Defense are the eight startups selected for Cohort 5 of SCALE.


SCALE, Starburst Aerospace and UCLA Samueli School of Engineering‘s aerospace-focused accelerator for pre-seed and seed stage companies who are based in CA or interested in expanding business operations in the US, has returned this summer with its fifth cohort.


Los Angeles has a deep-rooted aerospace heritage, local world-class universities graduating more engineers per year than anywhere else in the nation, and a leading venture capital presence; with SCALE, it reinforces the region as a global capital for aerospace startup development.


The free 13-week program is designed to provide innovators with the necessary resources to successfully create emerging technology companies that will drive innovation for future commercial space and national security use cases across the entire aerospace value chain. The focus areas include Space, Aviation, Defense, and Enabling Technologies (e.g. Cybersecurity, Connectivity/Sensors, Antennas/IoT, Big Data, AI, Robotics, Industry 4.0, Quantum Computing).


SCALE helps entrepreneurs advance their technology, define product-market fit, secure customers, hire talent, raise venture funding, and much more. Selected startup teams have access to Starburst’s extensive global network and become a part of an ecosystem that includes Starburst and UCLA alumni, established aerospace entrepreneurs, investors, corporate partners, customers, academic researchers, subject matter mentors, and more.


The companies selected for SCALE Cohort 5 are Aligned Carbon, Aphelion Aerospace, Apsidal, Four Resolutions, Minim Zero, Stellar Amenities, Quantum-South, & Vael Defense.

Aligned Carbon manufactures Carbon Nanotubes for Integrated Circuits. Led by J Provine (CEO & Co-Founder), Yonas Yemane (Chief Science Officer), and Matti Thurston (Director, Product & Ops), the Aligned Carbon team develops perfectly aligned, highly semiconducting CNTs for 3D semiconductor chip fabrication, unlocking a 1000x gain in energy efficiency and compute speed. Learn more about Aligned Carbon at

Aphelion Aerospace builds High-Performance, Eco-friendly Satellite Propulsion. Led by Miguel Ayala (CEO & Co-Founder) and Matthew Travis (CTO & Co-Founder), the Aphelion team develops low-cost, non-toxic, high-performance satellite propulsion modules that are a drop-in replacement for Hydrazine fueled propulsion modules and existing alternative fuel technologies. Learn more about Aphelion at

Apsidal focuses on AI-assisted Photonics Manufacturing in Space. Led by Amrit De (CEO & CTO), Apsidal leverages robotics, optical interferometric sensing, and AI-powered adaptive controls to develop novel photonics and optimize production in a low-earth orbit environment. Learn more about Apsidal at

Four Resolutions designs elevated 3D Maps with Real-time Monitoring of the Earth. Led by Jenny Liang (Co-Founder & CEO), Lorna Kabachnik (Co-Founder & Madam Chair), and Kevin DeVito (Co-Founder & President), Four Resolutions gathers and displays satellite and other Earth monitoring data on 3D maps and other data products to not only help customers make sense of the data but also exponentially increase its accuracy and application. Learn more about Four Resolutions at

Minim Zero manufactures Electro Thermal Anti-Icing Technology. Led by Peter Chee (CEO & Co-Founder), Kalen Pilkington (Co-Founder), and Chris Lundberg (Chief Material Scientist), Minim Zero’s patented electro-thermal anti-icing application design and nano-coating weigh 300 pounds less than traditional 80-year-old anti-icing systems and melts ice at polar vortex temperatures in under 3 minutes. Learn more about Minim Zero at

Stellar Amenities is constructing a Data Intelligence Tool for Astronaut Productivity. Led by Anastasia Prosina (CEO & Founder), the space architecture company optimizes space habitat environments to enable long-duration, deep-space human missions that increase crew productivity and safety while reducing mass, power, and volume needs. Learn more about Stellar Amenities at

Quantum-South leverages Quantum Computing for Cargo Optimization. Led by Rafael Sotelo (Co-Founder & President) and Martin Machin (Co-Founder & Vice President), the team utilizes hybrid quantum technologies to optimize air, land, and maritime cargo, improving revenues, reducing costs, and promoting maximum efficiency. Learn more about Quantum-South at

Vael Defense is building Modular Autonomous Aircraft for Military & Commercial Cargo. Led by Nitin Susendran (CEO & Co-Founder) and Susendran Kothandan (CTO & Co-Founder), Vael Defense is developing a reconfigurable autonomous aircraft that enables flexible, same-day shipping for regional aircraft operators, and rugged, continuous cargo transportation for the warfighter. Learn more about Vael Defense at


To learn more about any of these companies and/or to contact their CEO, please reach out to Brija Johnson (SCALE Director) at


SCALE Cohort 5 launched on May 1, 2023 and culminated with a Demo Day on July 25, 2023 at UCLA Anderson School of Management, during which the startup founders showcased their progress by pitching live to investors, advisors, mentors, partners, and other stakeholders from Starburst Aerospace’s dynamic SoCal A&D community.


Since SCALE’s inception in 2021, the program has graduated close to 40 phenomenal companies and helped facilitate pilot opportunities, partnerships, and both non-dilutive and venture capital funding:


Cohort 1Atomus, Axion Ray, Black Arrow, Craitor, Exosonic, Metaspectral, Rebel Space Technologies, & Rhoman Aerospace


Cohort 2AtomBeam, AviAI, iMetalx Space Systems, LongShot Space, Rogue Space Systems, Sedaro Technologies, Sortie Cargo (formerly Detonation Space), & 114ai


Cohort 3Airrow, Blue Eye Soft Corporation, Celestial Citizen, In Orbit Aerospace, Little Place Labs, Mako Aerospace, METAseismic, Prewitt Ridge, & XOTO


Cohort 4Advanced Telesensors, Deep Space Biology, Myelin-H, Nano PharmaSolutions, ViBo Health, & Xtory



SCALE is an aerospace accelerator for pre-seed and seed stage companies, a free 13-week program that serves as a platform for entrepreneurs to launch and scale their businesses, powered by Starburst Aerospace in collaboration with UCLA Samueli School of Engineering. Composed of lectures, workshops, pitch practice sessions, networking opportunities, and special events, culminating with a Demo Day, the program brings together entrepreneurs of early-stage companies to accelerate the development of novel technologies with aerospace applications and build businesses in the hub of SoCal. SCALE is backed by federal funding from the the U.S. Department of Commerce and made possible with support from Congress, The State of California, The Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation (LAEDC), Cities of Los Angeles and El Segundo, Jet Propulsion Lab, NASA, MITRE, RAND, and more. More information about SCALE can be found at


About Starburst Aerospace

Founded in 2012, Starburst Aerospace is an innovation catalyst in the global Aerospace and Defense (A&D) industry. Combining three complementary activities–accelerators, consulting, and ventures–they help stakeholders innovate, navigate and invest in the dynamic ecosystem. With offices in Los Angeles, Paris, Munich, Singapore, Seoul, Tel Aviv, Madrid, and Washington DC, the team has built a robust community with 60+ partners and a portfolio of 140+ startups. Starburst’s leading Flagship Accelerator program helps startups scale their business in aviation, space, and defense with access to the largest group of corporate representatives, government stakeholders, and private venture investors in the world to help startups win their first contracts. More information about Starburst can be found at