New Space and Tech

D-Orbit and ODIN Space sign contract for the launch and the in-orbit demonstration of
technology to map lethal sub-centimetre debris

By Keith Cowing
Press Release
October 18, 2022
Filed under , , , ,
D-Orbit and ODIN Space sign contract for the launch and the in-orbit demonstration of<br>technology to map lethal sub-centimetre debris

D-Orbit, a leading space logistics company, and ODIN Space, the first company focused on protecting satellites from sub-centimetre space debris, jointly announced today an agreement to launch and demonstrate ODIN’s technology on-orbit.

According to the agreement, D-Orbit will host ODIN’s sensor aboard ION Satellite Carrier, D- Orbit’s versatile and cost-effective orbital transfer vehicle (OTV) designed to precisely deploy satellites and perform technology demonstrations of third-party payloads in orbit. This technology demonstration will be a key milestone in ODIN’s mission to map and analyse lethal sub-centimetre debris, reduce collisions, and protect the space industry from this invisible threat.

The launch, scheduled for Q2 2023, will be ODIN’s first mission and will establish flight heritage for ODIN’s technology.

“We’re excited to announce this agreement with D-Orbit. They’re a great example of what the UK space sector is capable of”, said Dr. James New, CEO and co-founder of ODIN Space. “Since our time together on the UK Space Agency accelerator programme, we’ve built a really strong relationship with D-Orbit founded on our mutual commitment to a sustainable space industry.”

As the entire space ecosystem, from satellite operators to insurers, needs data on sub- centimetre debris to operate successfully, this mission is a significant step towards securing sustainable growth for the space industry.

“We’re delighted to be working with ODIN Space for this key milestone. ODIN are pioneering debris solutions in a fundamental area, microscale debris, and their roadmap aligns perfectly with D-Orbit’s space sustainability goals”, commented Martyn Fogg, D-Orbit’s FLEET Mission Manager. “As a UK collaboration, ODIN will be supported by D-Orbit’s UK launch services, developed under ESA C-STS. We look forward to working with ODIN on this and future projects.”

D-Orbit and ODIN Space are both graduates of the 2021 UK Space Agency LEO accelerator programme. Their partnership is the latest in a series of UK-led efforts to improve the sustainable use of space.

According to Chris McQuire, Head of Local Growth at the UK Space Agency,“With nearly 5,000 operational satellites and millions of tiny pieces of space debris, the ability to operate safely in space is growing increasingly challenging.  The UK is leading efforts to make space more sustainable and it is fantastic to see two UK Space Agency-backed companies, in D-Orbit and ODIN Space, working together to map and analyse this dangerous debris and protect the satellite services we all rely on in our daily lives. This exciting collaboration is a exactly the sort of partnership we set out to encourage with our Accelerator Progamme and I look forward to seeing it progress.”

About D-Orbit

D-Orbit is a market leader in the space logistics and transportation services industry with a track record of space-proven services, technologies, and successful missions.

Founded in 2011, D-Orbit is the first company addressing the logistics needs of the space market. ION Satellite Carrier, for example, is a space vehicle that can transport satellites in orbit and release them individually into distinct orbital slots, reducing the time from launch to operations by up to 85% and the launch costs of an entire satellite constellation by up to 40%.

ION can also accommodate multiple third-party payloads like innovative technologies developed by startups, experiments from research entities, and instruments from traditional space companies requiring a test in orbit. The whole, fully redundant ION can be rented for edge computing applications and space cloud services to provide satellite operators with storage capacity and advanced computing capabilities in orbit.

D-Orbit’s roadmap includes becoming a relevant player in the in-orbit servicing market, which is forecasted to become one of the largest, growing markets within the space sector. D-Orbit has offices in Italy, Portugal, the UK, and the US; its commitment to pursuing business models that are profitable, friendly for the environment, and socially beneficial, led D-Orbit S.p.A. to become the first certified B-Corp space company in the world.

About ODIN Space

ODIN Space is the first company to deliver fundamental data on sub-centimetre debris to protect the entire space ecosystem. Quantifying the entire debris threat will not only protect satellite operators from collisions, but also generate growth for insurers and on-orbit service providers by maximising their customer-base.

Space debris is an existential threat to the New Space industry. The escalating risk of collisions will see satellite losses grow beyond $2 billion annually by 2030. Over 99% of the debris in space is so small that it is invisible to existing technologies, making sub-centimetre debris the single-greatest danger for satellites. Without reliable, accurate data on this threat, the New Space ecosystem cannot thrive. ODIN Space was founded in London in 2020 to fill this critical gap.

SpaceRef co-founder, Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA, Away Teams, Journalist, Space & Astrobiology, Lapsed climber.