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Satellite operators to test a new collaboration tool designed to help prevent collisions

Slingshot Beacon is a centralized communication and coordination platform for satellite owners and operators

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — OneWeb, Spire Global and Orbit Fab will test a new collaboration platform developed by Slingshot Aerospace to help satellite operators share space traffic information. 

The system, called Slingshot Beacon, “will be used as a centralized communication and coordination platform to resolve on-orbit conjunctions and notify others about planned maneuvers,” the company announced Aug. 12. 

John Guiney, OneWeb’s vice president of fleet management systems, said tools like Slingshot Beacon “can help enhance space safety by creating additional avenues for communication.”

The three companies participating in Slingshot’s pilot program account for 53% of satellite constellations in low Earth orbit, said Melanie Stricklan, co-founder and CEO of Slingshot Aerospace.

Stricklan said this type of collaborative system for satellite operators is urgently needed as more satellites are launched to orbit. This technology will help spacecraft owners and operators to “more effectively communicate, resolve on-orbit conjunctions, notify others about planned maneuvers and provide orbit-raising notifications,” she said.

Slingshot Beacon was inspired by the guard channel, a special radio frequency that is monitored 24/7 for mayday alerts or other calls for help.

Beacon pulls in public data as well as customer’s private data to create a space catalog. Slingshot partnered with Numerica Corp., a space data provider that operates a network of deep space telescopes. Much of the technology used for Beacon was developed by the startup Stellatus Solutions which was acquired by Slingshot in June.

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