LeoLabs raises $4M to build out its space debris collision avoidance network

Low-Earth orbit is a prime candidate for explosive commercial growth, but its also aspace where the risk of actual explosions resulting from debris impact is a legitimate concern for businesses focused on the opportunity. Thats the problem LeoLabs aims to address, a startup spun out of SRI International to detect, map and help avoid collisions with debris and objects floating in low-Earth orbit (LEO). LeoLabs is announcing $4 million in investment from SRI International, Horizons Ventures and Airbus Ventures, and is also adding the Midland Space Radar facility in Midland, Texas to its network of ground-based radar monitoring facilities, which help it track the objects its mapping. The issue LeoLabs is hoping to solve is helping the growing number of ventures working with cubsats and smallsat networks, as well as emerging ventures looking to put people into low-Earth orbit for short tourist flights, like Richard Bransons Virgin Galactic. Avoiding collisions in LEO is a pressing issue because its already a crowded region of space in terms of objects like existing satellites, as well as debris from spacecraft, defunct equipment and more. And collisions in LEO stand to amplify the problem objects smashing into one another results in more debris and more treacherous navigation of LEO space overall. There are already some options for keeping clear of other objects in LEO the U.S. Air Force maintains a public catalog that even alerts those registered to use it about potential collisions, explains LeoLabs CEO Dan Ceperley in an email interview with TechCrunch. But with increasing complexity and interest in the space, theres a need for more advanced tools, the company believes. LeoLabs new Midland ground radar monitoring facility.

Read Full Article at https://techcrunch.com/2017/02/27/leolabs-raises-4m-to-build-out-its-space-debris-collision-avoidance-network/

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