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NewSpace Ignitor: What You Need to Know

What You Need to Know to Maximize Your Returns from the NewSpace Ignitor Program 

The NewSpace Ignitor is a purpose-built, incubator-like program designed to reduce barriers space companies face in moving their concepts beyond R&D. Companies in the program move from concept to product to sales faster with services that focus on accelerating product development, investor funding and customer contracts. The program is brought to you in partnership with the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL). 

NewSpace Ignitor features a first-of-its-kind tiered program structure that enables more companies to participate while providing them with programming, opportunities and resources based on what they each need most to accelerate growth.  

Below summarizes information about the program, what resources and programming are available and what we expect from you. Please refer to this document throughout the program and reach out to us if you have questions. 

How Long is the Program? 

You will be a member of your Ignitor team (AA, AAA, or Elite) for up to 12 months from acceptance into the Ignitor program. If you level up within those 12  months, you can be in your new level for another 12 months, and if you do not level up, you will graduate from the program at your level and be part of the Ignitor Alumni Team where you will have access to Ignitor Alumni Services. Applications are always open. Ignitor graduates can submit a new concept application.  Ignitor AA graduates can also re-apply with their AA concept for consideration for the AAA team.

How Do the Tiered Teams Work? 

We have three teams through our tiered program structure: Ignitor AAIgnitor AAA, and Ignitor Elite. Your team placement in the program is based on the strength of your application as determined by our team of expert evaluators (quality of concept, relevance of concept, viability of concept strategy, maturity of company, and if we think the Ignitor program can help you).   

There are opportunities during the year to level-up to the next team tier (i.e., AA to AAA, AAA to Elite).  

 What Services Will I Receive? 

 The table below provides an overview of the programming and services for each team level. Graduates of the program transition to Ignitor Alumni status and are still members of the Ignitor community with access to alumni services.  

What Programming and Event Opportunities Are Available to Me? 

  • Level-UP! Events: Approximately twice per month on Wednesdays, 1-3 pm (Mountain Time), we host Ignitor Level-Up! Events. Most of these events are exclusive to Ignitor companies. You will be receiving a calendar series invite. Please accept the invitation and let us know if you did not receive it, or if you need others from your team added to the invite. The NewSpace Ignitor portal has been set up for you to know what events are coming up and to also give you the ability to watch previous events through the link here. These events provide programming to help you advance your concepts with topics such as “How to do business with the government,” “What Investors are looking for,” “Corporate structure and IP management”, etc. These live events are hybrid, so you can come in person to our NewSpace Launchpad facility or attend virtually. Feel free to have anyone from your company attend, but please refrain from sharing outside of your company.  
  • Annual State of the Space Industrial Base Conference. Everyone should plan to attend this event in person or virtually. NewSpace Nexus host the annual State of the Space Industrial Base workshops and conference with key government organizations, Defense Innovation Unit, United States Space Force, and Air Force Research Laboratory. Regional events will also be held over the next year. More information and event dates will be coming soon. Access to past SSIB (State of the Space Industrial Base) events and the annual SSIB report can be found on our website. 
  • Pitch Prep: Ignitor Companies will receive opportunities to practice, refine and get feedback on their pitch at various pitch preparation sessions during the program. Our pitch guidance contains separate guidelines for developing pitches to investors, government and prime customers. It also provides a wealth of information about these types of customers and where to find contract opportunities. 
  • Links to register for upcoming events can also be found in the Ignitor portal. 

What Other Resources Are Available to Me? 

  • Launchpad Facility. All Ignitor companies have access to work at our co-innovation facility. Our 8,700-square-foot facility is the only work environment in Albuquerque that provides space companies access to shared work, collaboration and prototyping spaces and testing, integration, and manufacturing equipment. Equipment includes: an ISO 6, Class 1000 cleanroom, a LACO thermal vacuum bakeout oven, and a Bamboo Lab X-1 Carbon 3D Printer. 
  • Broader NewSpace Nexus services for networking, gaining industry knowledge and much more (see the Other NewSpace Nexus Programming and Opportunities Section below). 

Who Will I Work With? 


Our team has extensive experience across commercial, civil, and military space and product marketing and sales acceleration.  

  • Casey Anglada DeRaad, NewSpace Nexus CEO. Before founding NewSpace Nexus in 2019, Casey was a 30-year Air Force Research Laboratory executive leading programs in space technology, strategic business development, investment leveraging, technology engagement, and workforce development for Air Force, NASA, and private industry. Casey founded NewSpace Nexus with a mission to accelerate the pace of innovation, create a bigger voice for the space industry stakeholders, and leverage the significant R&D (Research & Development) investment from federal, state, and local organizations 
  • Scott Maethner, VP Operations & Integration. Scott Maethner (Colonel, USAF Retired) is the VP of Operations & Integration at NewSpace New Mexico.  Scott served 25 years on active duty in the U.S. Air Force where he held leadership roles in space research & technology development, space and nuclear operations, space strategy and policy, and numerous command and staff positions. Since retiring from the USAF, he has supported government organizations and advised small and early-growth space companies.      
  • Carter Breckenridge, Ignitor Innovation Program Manager brings experience from Air Force Research Laboratory and engineering to NewSpace Ignitor. He will be your day-to-day Ignitor operations contact. 
  • Andrew MacKenzie, Innovation Program Manager for NewSpace Launchpad. Andrew manages our NewSpace Launchpad facility and its resources. We encourage you to come work at our facility if you are local and when you come to Albuquerque. 
  • Arial DeHerrera, Director of Engagement and Ignitor Events. Arial oversees the “Unite” side of NewSpace Nexus and runs all Ignitor events, and more than 60 events per year. 
  • Kaitlyn Clark, Financial Analyst/ Contract Specialist.  

NewSpace Ignitor Consultants 

Our extended core team includes our NewSpace Ignitor consultants. 

  • Carol Welsch (Colonel, USAF retired) is CEO and Founder of CRC Consulting. Carol plays a key role in navigating our space companies to customer opportunities. 
  • Erika Hecht, CEO of Market Ascent, provides support in marketing and sales acceleration. She has an extensive background working with start-ups to Fortune 100 companies, including IBM. 
  • Mathias Shinnick  

Ignitor Expert Network 

n addition to the core team, our extended team includes our Ignitor Expert Network. We have over 47 recognized leaders across industry, government and academia who have offered their time and expertise to help NewSpace Ignitor companies in moving from concept to product to sales faster. The network includes investors, former Air Force senior leaders, entrepreneurs, leaders from large prime space companies, etc. They are here to help you, so if you have specific needs, let us know. 

Ignitor Partners 

We also have our Ignitor Partners, including Boston Analytics (market analysis), Octane OC (Haystax investment assessment tool), and the Space Advisory Group (government contract advice) under contract to assist Ignitor companies.  


  • Throughout the program, we ask you to communicate with us on any major wins or big news about your company so we can also promote you through social media and other channels.  
  • If you make any meaningful connections or have wins directly from the program, please tell us when they happen! We also expect you to share your wins with us on a quarterly basis so we can track our joint success and report back to our funding organizations so we can continue to support the companies that come after you. We will reach out to you along these lines.   
  • We have found that success in this program is directly proportional to your engagement with us.  Please participate in our programming, ask questions, share your challenges and success stories.  We understand that you are busy to please encourage other members of your company to participate as well.


In addition to the Ignitor Program, NewSpace Nexus offers the following programs that NewSpace Ignitor companies can participate in. 

  • Alliance: The NewSpace Alliance is a growing community centered around common interests related to harnessing innovation and growing the new space economy.  There are options of organizational membership and individual membership. The NewSpace Alliance includes over 200 member companies and organizations and 89 individual members from New Mexico and across the Nation representing industry, government, and academia.  NewSpace Alliance members can gain access to our monthly tech talks, industry webinars, networking events, industry forums and our nationally-recognized State of the Space Industrial Base conference. Membership is free.  Members receive information, marketing & promotion of member activities, opportunities for networking and relationship building, and legislative advocacy for important issues related to capability development and economic growth.
  • T5: Third Thirsty Thursday Tech Talks (T5). Every 3rd Thursday of the month we host a hybrid networking event called the T5. It usually has a short presentation, followed by a fantastic networking opportunity. Don’t miss out! Check the events calendar on our website for more information. 
  • Sponsorship: Opportunities for large companies and organizations to sponsor our efforts. 
  • Equipment Connector: A database of over 80 (and growing!) pieces of space test equipment available for rent. This includes thermal vacuum chambers, vibe tables, RF/electrical test equipment, software, and more. This equipment is open to be used by NewSpace Nexus member companies with our established agreements. 


Be sure to take advantage of all the resources available to NewSpace Ignitor companies. We look forward to supporting you in moving from concept to product to sales faster over the next year!