SCOUT will be collaborating with Privateer to enhance both companies’ efforts towards a sustainable and transparent space operations environment.
Space pollution is a growing trend that is fast becoming a major threat to future missions, and in an increasingly crowded environment, situational awareness is crucial in navigating space assets. In this vein, Hawaii-based space venture, Privateer, is focused on establishing situational awareness in space to lay the building block for cleaning up the orbit by tracking space debris. Their latest software, Wayfinder, released in March 2022, is an open-access visualiser that integrates data from many different sources to create a map of all the objects in orbit at near real-time. And this is only one of their data solutions for tracking space pollution.
In further enhancing capabilities towards achieving space sustainability, Privateer announced its partnership with SCOUT on 1st September 2022. SCOUT, a Virginia-based space startup, is a spaceflight hardware, software, and data provider also intent on establishing space situational awareness services.
According to Privateer, this alliance was born out of the need for integration of “SCOUT’s systems architecture and data collection capabilities with Privateer’s data solutions”. The collaboration has been fuelled by the companies’ goals in building a more sustainable and transparent space operations environment. Eric Ingram, co-founder and CEO of SCOUT, believes that the partnership with Privateer is “aligned with [their] vision and involves the development of several in-space data collection activities to evaluate the potential for technical interoperability to enhance space sustainability and safety capabilities for both our companies.”
SCOUT created and launched their first sensing payload, which utilizes machine vision technology for in-space navigation and surveillance, in June 2021 on one of Orbit Fab’s on-orbit refueling spacecraft. The startup also developed a space-sensing cubesat, also known as OVER-Sat, with plans to launch by 2023. Without a doubt, SCOUT’s pursuit towards space situational awareness aligns with Privateer’s objectives and their partnership is bound to encourage progress in the new space economy.
As we continue to shoot for the stars, we must also ensure sustainability in our space activities. As space debris clog up our space environment, the chances of accidents waiting to happen in our orbits only increase. As such, it is crucial for every single actor in our space industry to understand the gravity of the situation and take on the responsibility to do their part in clearing our polluted orbits.