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Satellites Have a Friend in Slingshot

Slingshot Aerospace is offering a free version of its Slingshot Beacon, dubbed “an air traffic control for space,” to help prevent satellite collisions in orbit.

Slingshot Beacon transforms how operators work together, saving time, reducing uncertainty and promoting space safety, according to a release from the El Segundo-based company.

Melanie Stricklan, a co-founder and chief executive of the company, said that ensuring the safety of current and future satellites in orbit is vital to maintaining space as a safe operating environment.

“This is why we are offering Slingshot Beacon for free so that all space operators around the world can coordinate, communicate and deconflict spaceflight risk,” Stricklan said in a statement.

According to Slingshot’s space object database, Seradata SpaceTrak, there are more than 9,800 satellites in orbit today, with an additional 115,000 planned to be in space by 2030.
Slingshot acquired Seradata, in Northampton, United Kingdom, last month. Financial details of the transaction were not disclosed.

Slingshot Beacon enables satellite operators anywhere in the world to receive urgent collision alerts; coordinate satellite maneuvers; and communicate, especially during high-risk moments, according to the release.

Stricklan

Slingshot’s data shows that 30% of alerts for potential collisions are those involving other satellites. Accidental collisions can produce debris clouds that can spread and damage additional satellites with a cascading effect, rendering havoc on spaceflight operations and limiting the use of space in the future, the release added.

Previously, owner-operators would resolve collision alerts by communicating via email and phone, wasting valuable time cross-referencing positional data to ensure they were looking at the same information, the release continued.

Robert Sproles, vice president of constellation planning and operations at Spire Global, a Washington, D.C.-based provider of space-based data, analytics and space services, said that having the means to easily communicate with other operators and plan maneuvers more effectively is crucial to ensuring a safe space environment and protecting assets.

The dashboard of the Slingshot Beacon.
Paola Mendez
Paola Mendez
Paola Mendez graduated from Los Angeles Valley College, then transferred to University of California, and now serves as a Receptionist and Office Assistant to the Los Angeles Business Journal. Paola wears many hats in different departments and is trilingual in English, Spanish and French.
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