May 23, 2022

Low Earth Orbit is getting a little crowded. Between the proliferation of small satellites, SpaceX’s giant Starlink constellation, and an ever-growing collection of space junk, launching and operating a body in Earth orbit can seem like a game of Frogger. Even the International Space Station (ISS) has to perform “hijack maneuvers” on a regular basis.

There’s still plenty of room in space right now, but when you’re flying a billion-dollar satellite, you need to do everything you can to avoid collisions.

This is where Slingshot Aerospace comes into play. The company synthesizes data from multiple sources to create what it describes as a real-time digital space landscape, helping space operators better manage and protect their assets. Founded in 2017 by Melanie Stricklan, David Godwin and Thomas Ashman and based in Austin and El Segundo, it has raised $34.6 million in a two-part Series A round with a $25 million second installment to be released today . Is an. (Last $8 million was in October 2020.)

“The opportunities in space are endless, but we need to drive the digital revolution to streamline spaceflight operations and orbital asset management,” Stricklan said in a company press release. “Real-time coordination is needed to ensure more affordable, timely and accurate risk mitigation for all space agencies.”

The second round was led by Draper Associates and ATX Venture Partners with additional contributions from Edison Partners, Embedded Ventures, Valor Equity Partners and Lockheed Martin Ventures. Slingshot Aerospace customers include NASA, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, US Space Force, US Air Force and OneWeb.

“Situational awareness in space is ripe for disruption. Daniel Herskovichi of Edison Partners said: “Satellite operators do not have a common platform to communicate and collaborate in real time with useful information to solve orbit combinations and optimize global space awareness.

LeoLabs and Kahan Space, as well as other space startups, may not agree with this assessment, but Slingshot certainly makes for an attractive platform.

Slingshot Beacon is an in-orbit collision avoidance program that “brings together commercial, government, and civilian customers on a single platform to better design, manage, and protect their satellites and other assets; minimizes risk; and ensures safe and reliable operation for everyone. space operators. The pilot program began in August 2021 with participants whose assets currently include more than half of the satellite constellations in low Earth orbit.

The company’s new funds will be used to commercialize products like the Slingshot Beacon and hire 40 new employees next year. About 115,000 satellites are expected to be launched by 2030, which sounds like a very good and much needed idea.

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