Steve Wozniak’s Privateer Plans to Study Space Debris using Hundreds of Satellites9th Dec 2021
The Apple co-founder shifted focus from delivering top-notch technology on Earth to helping humanity get rid of space debris. More precisely, Steve Wozniak’s Privateer startup based in Hawaii put together an ambitious plan to study and categorise space junk like it was never done before.
Privateer on a Mission to Solve the Space Junk Issue
‘I think we’re looking at several hundred satellites’, Moriba Jah, the Chief Scientific Adviser at Privateer, declared for Space.com. ‘We won’t launch all several hundred at once; we’ll just slowly build it up’, he added.
With Earth’s orbit getting more cluttered by the year, someone needs to do something about it sooner rather than later. There are around 4,700 active satellites in orbit to which you can add what the European Space Agency estimates to be 36,500 space debris bigger than 10 centimetres in width. If we go even smaller, the numbers are more than worrying, with 1 million pieces of debris measuring between 1 and 10 cm and a jaw-dropping 330 million smaller than 1cm but bigger than 1mm.
Building a “Google Maps of Space” Together
Privateer aims to launch satellites gradually to be able to study and categorise the space junk orbiting the planet. The first of the estimated hundreds of satellite launches are scheduled to take place in February 2022, as confirmed by the company’s Chief Scientific Adviser.
To achieve their goal, Privateer will most likely collaborate with the US military and private-owned companies like LeoLabs. The plan is to purchase some of the already available space debris information, crowdsource some of it, and gather the rest of the information using its own satellites.