LeoLabs extends new services to help rising space activity in low Earth orbit


LeoLabs is a space object-tracking start-up that adds extra sensors and information processing capability to its network. It prepares for a wave in satellite launches in the coming years, said Dan Ceperley on 15th April. Dan Ceperley is the co-founder and CEO at LeoLabs. He adds that there are around 2,000 operational satellites at present and there will be nearly 50,000 orbiting the Earth in the 3-5 years. Ceperley speaks at the Amazon Web Services public sector summit digitally, an event that displays customers of AWS cloud services.

LeoLabs’ capacity improves significantly, Ceperley said. The firm presently tracks 14,000 satellites and pieces of debris and anticipates being tracking 250,000 two years from now. LeoLabs directs three space-scanning radars and a cloud-based software program. It analyses statistics on the site of space objects in order to improve warnings of potential collisions.

The company’s clients include satellite the following:
  • Operators
  • Government agencies
  • Insurance companies
The three radars are in the following locations:
  • New Zealand
  • Texas
  • Alaska

In addition, a fourth radar is under construction in Costa Rica and 2 more sites are under planning for 2022. Details of the same will be put out via an announcement soon, said Ceperley.

Last year, LeoLabs release a collision prevention service. Ceperley said below service is the offering that would not have been possible with the support of the AWS cloud platform:

  • Predicting the trajectory of objects
  • Notifying customers if their satellites are in danger of colliding with debris —

He said, “we are essentially speaking about being able to test a satellite and its course versus 14,000 other satellites or pieces of debris today. Over the next few years, we will be able to examine that satellite’s course against up to 250,000 other satellites and pieces of debris. This is a mission that honestly is not possible. This is because we are unable to scale up the processing supplies in order to do that in any sort of reasonable amount of time.”

Ceperley explains that in order to plan satellites out of damage’s way, machinists need to know about prospective risks days in advance. They cannot deviate at the last second to prevent a collision, Ceperley said. “Things are going way too fast for that to occur.”

In low Earth orbit, objects glide at 17,000 miles per hour. “So, when we speak about collision prevention, we actually predict up to 7 days into the future. This in order to let a satellite operative know that there’s going to be a dangerous close approach,” Ceperley said. “We are essentially forecasting hundreds of laps across the Earth into the future.”

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