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Galileo Masters Prizewinner OKAPI:Orbits: Making space travel safer and more sustainable

hird prize winner of the Galileo Masters’ Hesse Challenge 2019 is OKAPI:Orbits from the ESA BIC Hessen & Baden-Württemberg. The start-up is dedicated to make space travel more sustainable through a Collision Avoidance Software for satellites. Galileo serves them as an important data source.

OKAPI:Orbits is developing a platform to deliver space traffic management as a service. For this, they first collect all data available that described the space debris environment. They then send it for processing to their platform. Here, they combine state-of-the-art scientific algorithms to solve physical problems of the data with artificial intelligence. From this, they create insights to the space debris environment to all kinds of space actors: automated collision avoidance for satellite operators, observation analysis for sensor operators, or situational awareness for governments and space agencies. One important data source is GNSS positions from satellite operators, which come for example from Galileo.

“Spaceflight has a problem and we can help to solve it”

Before founding OKAPI:Orbits, three of the co-founders were researching the problem of space debris. During this research they developed a lot of software that is able to describe the situation in orbit very well, support space actors to deal with the space debris issue and project its future evolution. At some point they thought: “Spaceflight has a problem and we can help to solve it.” Since then, they have been using their scientific algorithms to develop a space traffic management platform.

The added value of the space traffic management platform

  • “We offer a one-stop solution for space traffic management. All data and algorithms to process it are readily in one place.
  • We strive for data diversity, which allows in the end a more detailed and precise description of the space environment.
  • Using artificial intelligence, we enable better and earlier decisions for our customers. As an example, we enable customers to make a maneuver decision in the advent of a conjunction warning as early as seven days before the event. On the customer side, this can reduce the costs associated with collision avoidance by 70%.
  • We focus on machine-to-machine interfaces and trusted standards, allowing a full automation of satellite operations on the customer side.”

Source: OKAPI:Orbits

Funding and future plans

During their first year, OKAPI:Orbits had been funded via the Exist program, a German scheme to found start-ups with research-based ideas. Since October 2019, they are self-funded by participating in ESA projects. For the near future, the multidisciplinary team of four founders with background in aerospace engineering, computer sciences and business administration have two important milestones. They want to close the seed funding round and officially release their space traffic management platform, planned for July 2020. OKAPI:Orbits - enabling safe and secure satellite operations and seemless ground segment integration with the help of Galileo.

Do you have a great idea which uses Galileo technologies as well? Apply now for the Galileo Masters Prize Hesse!