Innovation That Matters

Neuraspace aims to prevent dangerous space collisions | Photo source Nasa on Unsplash

Space debris tracking system helps prevent collisions


AI analyses millions of historical flight paths to identify high risk areas


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Spotted: Historically, the race to space has focused on getting teams and countries into orbit, with far fewer resources dedicated to cleaning up after missions. Just as climate change was ignored by many for decades, so too was debris in space. With space traffic growing rapidly, there is now a growing need for the development of another aspect of exploration – tracking the rubbish left behind in order to prevent dangerous collisions.

Portugal’s Neuraspace, part of the European Space Agency’s Business Incubator programme, recently raised €2.5 million to bring its intelligent monitoring platform to market. The company cites the huge growth in the volume of space traffic. There were around 6,000 satellites in orbit in 2020, with forecasts predicting that this number could reach 37,000 by 2025, and 100,000 by 2030. There is therefore an urgent need for Neuraspace’s service.

In minutes, the Neuraspace platform’s artificial intelligence (AI) can analyse millions of historical conjunction data messages – the location information of each piece of a mission remaining in orbit. Humans take many more hours to complete the same number of calculations, so the platform is poised to scale in conjunction with the volume of orbiting traffic. The platform also brings together different data sets for more comprehensive analyses, and with fewer false alarms. This reduces the cost of manoeuvering satellites to avoid potential collisions.

Space innovation is an exciting area, with developments spotted by Springwise including satellite imagery being used to help farmers better maintain the health of their land, and robot factories producing materials that are impossible to manufacture on Earth.  

Written by: Keely Khoury



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