Privateer plans to map space
The Future. Privateer, a space startup co-founded by Apple wizard Steve Wozniak, will be launching a satellite next year to track low-orbiting space junk for cleanup. With commercial space flights ramping up, the company might be integral to making sure that the Earth’s orbit is clear of objects that could pose a danger for future space travel.
Google Maps of Space
Steve Wozniak and Alex Fielding want to chart the stars.
- Their secretive new space startup, Privateer, just came out of stealth (weeks after a cryptic video was teased on Twitter).
- It aims to be the “Google Maps of Space,” creating an accurate map of the orbit around Earth.
- The immediate goal is to help space cleanup companies track down space junk — old satellites, rocket parts, abandoned alien spacecraft (we suspect).
- The company has also inked a deal with the Space Force.
Its first satellite, the Pono 1, is set to launch on February 11, 2022, and it will be outfitted with 42 different sensors. It will stay up for four months.
Space junk cleanup
Explaining why mapping orbital objects is so vital, Fielding notes that “we don’t agree on where almost any object in low Earth orbit is with greater accuracy than maybe three or 400 kilometers on any given moment.”
Privateer’s mission may be of critical importance: astronauts on the ISS found a hole in one of the station’s robotic arms — one that may have been caused by an object caught in orbit that was too small to be caught by the U.S. Space Force’s Space Surveillance Network.