Starburst and NASA Launch Minority Serving Institutions Space Accelerator

The collaboration between Starburst and NASA will engage minority serving institutions in advancing Earth science missions and the fight against climate change.


EL SEGUNDO, Calif., Feb. 23, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Starburst, the world’s first and only global aerospace and defense accelerator, today announced it is engaging Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) to bring ideas for developing new information technologies that could advance goals for addressing climate change. The newly launched MSI Space Accelerator will be an ongoing partnership between NASA’s Science Mission Directorate (SMD), its Minority University Research Education Project within the Office of STEM Engagement, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California, and Starburst Accelerator in Los Angeles.


“We are thrilled to collaborate with NASA on this extremely important initiative,” said Van Espahbodi, Co-founder and COO of Starburst Aerospace. “The MSI Space Accelerator is a unique way to bring forth new and innovative ideas while ensuring the representation and participation of underrepresented communities. It is absolutely imperative that we continue to amplify marginalized voices, and this collaboration with NASA is a crucial step in the right direction.”


The MSI Space Accelerator is a program that is designed to engage under-represented academic institutions in helping NASA make significant advancements in the areas of machine learning, artificial intelligence, and the development of autonomous systems. The best ideas will be awarded up to $50,000 in prize funding to each institution. This program follows similar competitions recently sponsored by NASA’s science directorate that align with its goals to foster innovation and develop new technologies at lower costs. The current challenge will also include mentoring from autonomous systems experts at JPL, and will feature business accelerator services from Starburst to help align the ideas with NASA needs, to provide the competing teams with business acumen, and to expose them to venture opportunities and potential customers outside of NASA.


In leveraging Starburst’s global influence as an innovation pioneer in the aerospace and defense industry, this program will drive the next generation of cutting-edge solutions to combat climate change and deepen the talent pool of aerospace technology professionals, while accelerating the overall startup ecosystem development.


To learn more about the MSI Space Accelerator and to apply, please visit:


For more information on Starburst, visit:


About Starburst
Starburst is an innovation catalyst in the aerospace industry. They are the first and only global aerospace accelerator, connecting startups with corporates, investors and government, while providing strategic growth and investment consulting services for all. With offices in Los Angeles, Paris, Munich, Singapore, Seoul, Tel Aviv, Mumbai, and Madrid, the team has built an ecosystem of key players with 9000+ of startups in its network. Starburst’s accelerator program helps startups scale their business in aviation, space, and defense with access to the largest group of corporate stakeholders to help startups win their first $1M+ contract.


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