Keystone Space Collaborative Receives $250,000 Grant from Richard King Mellon Foundation

Updated: Dec 8, 2021

Keystone Space Collaborative Receives $250,000 Grant from Richard King Mellon Foundation

ARM Institute Partners with Collaborative as Fiscal Sponsor

August 9, 2021 Pittsburgh, PA – The Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing (ARM) Institute, a Department of Defense-funded Manufacturing Innovation Institute, has announced that it is working with the Keystone Space Collaborative as a fiscal sponsor to support a $250,000 grant from the Richard King Mellon Foundation (RKMF).

Formed in early 2020 in Pittsburgh, PA, the Keystone Space Collaborative (KSC) has established itself as the Tri-State Region’s (Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio) principal space organization committed to attracting, growing, and amplifying the next generation of space industry businesses and talent in the region. Comprised of stakeholders representing industry, academia, government, and economic development organizations, KSC builds strategic partnerships and programs to achieve the following regional goals:

  • Create and draw space-related funding opportunities

  • Amplify the space-related activities and strengths of the region to key external industry stakeholders (such as NASA, DOD, and the global space ecosystem)

  • Accelerate space business activities

  • Attract space businesses

  • Support space entrepreneurs, start-ups, and emerging technologies

  • Develop opportunities for space education and innovation at regional schools and universities

  • Develop and keep high-level talent within the region by creating access to space-related job opportunities and support overall space-related job growth in the region.

The ARM Institute is the nation’s leading collaborative in robotics and workforce innovation, working at the confluence of industry, government, and academia. Structured as a public-private partnership, the ARM Institute and its member organizations accelerate robotic technologies and education solutions to strengthen the U.S. industrial base and secure U.S. manufacturing resiliency.

“The ARM Institute has been a member of the Keystone Space Collaborative since its inception”, stated Ira Moskowitz, CEO of the ARM Institute. “Supporting the advanced technology needs of the U.S. space industry, especially in the areas of robotics and artificial intelligence, is a key initiative for our Institute. We are pleased to continue our work with the KSC to magnify our shared goals.”

The RKMF grant will be used to fund Keystone Space Collaborative operations and programs, which will include hiring a Program Director, publishing a regional space ecosystem map and industry report through an interactive website, convening a regional space industry council to drive strategy, and launching the inaugural Keystone Space Collaborative Annual Conference, to be held on November 2-3, 2021, at the Carnegie Science Center in Pittsburgh, PA.

“An important component of the Foundation’s economic development strategy is to help Pittsburgh to assert its rightful place as a national and international leader in the most important sectors of the new economy,” said Sam Reiman, director of the Richard King Mellon Foundation. “The space industry is one of those important sectors, and we are funding the Keystone Space Collaborative and the Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing Institute to accelerate the great work they already have done to make Pittsburgh the place to be for space-industry leadership, and space-industry jobs.”
“Building on the recent successes of Astrobotic, Ansys, and other space industry leaders in the Pittsburgh and the Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia region, we have a unique opportunity to attract and expand the next generation of space industry businesses and talent across the region,” stated Justine Kasznica, Board Chair of the KSC and Shareholder and head of the Emerging Technology Practice at Babst Calland. “We formed the KSC to convene regional space industry stakeholders and to position PA, OH and WV as a regional, national and global leader in space technology development, manufacturing and research.”


Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing (ARM) Institute is a Manufacturing Innovation Institute (MII) that is part of the Manufacturing USA® network funded by the Office of the Secretary of Defense under Agreement Number W911NF-17-3-0004. The ARM Institute leverages a unique, robust, and diverse ecosystem of consortium members and partners across industry, academia, and government to make robotics, autonomy, and artificial intelligence more accessible to U.S. manufacturers large and small, train and empower the manufacturing workforce, strengthen our economy and global competitiveness, and elevate national security and resilience. Based in Pittsburgh, PA since 2017, the ARM Institute is leading the way to a future where people & robots work together to respond to our nation’s greatest challenges and to produce the world’s most desired products. For more information, visit and follow the ARM Institute on LinkedIn and Twitter.


The Keystone Space Collaborative (KSC) is a nonprofit organization with a mission to support and serve the Tri-State Region’s (PA, WV, OH) growing space industry. Leveraging the region’s technological, research and manufacturing strengths, the KSC is committed to establishing a formal network of industry stakeholders, and delivering and supporting strategic programs designed to catalyze and grow the commercial space sector in the Tri-State Region, with the goal of putting Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia on the map, recognized as a key participants and drivers of the growing $425B global space industry. For more information, visit and follow the Keystone Space Collaborative on LinkedIn.

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