Sparks of Innovation

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Jared Bunn
  • Space Base Delta 1 Public Affairs

High Altitude Spark, Space Base Delta 1’s innovation cell, recently awarded $250,000 to two emergency services ideas that will reduce usage of resources, streamline and increase first response effort capabilities and protect our personnel. 

To meet an objective set by Space Operations Command commander, Lt. Gen. Stephen Whiting, the SBD 1 innovation cell was formed in 2022. Its purpose is to promote innovation by encouraging Total Force members assigned to SBD 1 to pitch resource-saving ideas that either invent new or leverage existing capabilities. 

SBD 1 is authorized Squadron Innovation Funds (SIF) in its annual distribution and consolidates all squadron funds into a single SIF account.  A board of base representatives, chaired by the SBD 1 vice commanders, listen to innovative pitches presented Airmen, Guardians and Civilians. The board then determines the best usage of the SIF fund and awards them to the approved projects. 

“We're very proud of our spark cell and our SBD 1 teammates who pitched ideas,” said Col. Sarah Babbit, SBD 1 vice commander. “The benefits, shared across our installations, will be seen primarily in improved emergency response readiness. But we have plenty more pitches to hear before we exhaust our SIF account for the year. We're excited to see what additional benefits await the installations SBD 1 supports.”  

The first awarded idea came from Peterson SFB Fire Department. Their pitch, replace the department’s fossil fueled rescue and confined space tools with battery operated equipment. The new battery-operated equipment will be lighter, more powerful and will not require the usage of gasoline, plugged in electricity and hydraulic fluid—removing limitations created by previous equipment requirements. 

“Battery powered equipment can be used in any environment and its range is limitless.” explained U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. William Wailgum, Peterson SFB Fire Department assistant fire chief. “Our team is excited at the new level of service we will be able to provide for SBD 1 and we are grateful for the investment the innovation cell made in our flight.” 

The second awarded pitch came from the 21st Security Forces Squadron for their proposal to install a mobile command and control center in the bed of squadron trucks. Before, the defenders relied on less secure “paper and pen” management of critical situations. This new capability will now allow on-duty SFS leadership to have a mobile pull-out situation control center that includes a whiteboard as well as storage for radios, first aid kits and other essential equipment and supplies. 

“In an active situation, you are managing multiple agencies, dozens of individuals and hundreds of variables,” said U.S. Air Force Capt. Caleb Schotzko, 21st SFS operations officer. “This capability enables our team to not only prepare for the increasing complexity of tomorrow’s challenges, but it also provides our team additional capabilities to win the fight.” 

Through programs such as High Altitude Spark, SBD 1 leadership do not have to rely on hope to win the future fight. Instead, they rely on the Guardians, Airmen and civilians who are pioneering and paving the way forward with innovation. 

For more information about High Altitude Spark or if you have an innovative idea, contact the Innovation cell lead, Master Sgt. Travis Beatty.