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Orbotic Systems Aims To Advance Human Progress In Space With Innovative Business Methods And New Technology

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Below is our recent interview with Erik T. Long, the Founder of Orbotic Systems Inc.:

Q: Could you provide our readers with a brief introduction to your company?

A: Orbotic Systems was created to address the growing threat of space debris. After investigating solutions from both a business and technical perspective, Orbotic Systems was born. The goal of Orbotic Systems is to safely advance human progress in space with innovative business methods and new technology.

In addition to the technical challenges, a complementary economic model must be developed to accommodate the dated policy concerns that have originated with treaties such as the Outer Space Treaty of 1967. The incentive to remove space debris exists, but the ability to do this without straining diplomatic relations is difficult. A new approach is necessary that can address the space debris issue without raising political concerns. This approach must also have a sufficient economic incentive, otherwise, it will remain confined to the realm of government policy. The business model we are pursuing is designed to address these economic and political hurdles.

After nearly two years of concerted effort, we are ready to release our first product to mitigate space debris. This new technology is called the D3 and allows small satellite operators to inexpensively maneuver, orientate, and de-orbit their spacecraft in low Earth orbit (LEO) without any explosive propellant. The D3 does 80% of what rockets do at 10% of the cost. Our design team is from NASA, University of Florida, and Orbotic Systems. We will be accepting the first D3 orders in late 2022.

Q: Any highlights on your recent announcement?

A: The D3 or De-orbit Drag Device, is a proactive technology designed to prevent space debris from developing in the first place. Constellations of small satellites, including CubeSats and NanoSats are already planned for launch by a number of space companies. According to some estimates, as many as 100,000 satellites could be in orbit by 2030. With so many satellites in orbit, it is just a matter of time before there will be a catastrophic space debris event. In fact, many CubeSats go into orbit without any means of control once they are deployed. We intend to solve this problem by providing an affordable solution for controlling and de-orbiting the satellites at the end of their mission lifecycle.

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Q: Can you give us more insights into your offering?

A: The D3 is just one part of a larger solution. We have also developed a machine learning control system called a Command & Control Module. The exciting part about this is the ability of the module to interface with sensor systems. The idea here is to detect and identify live threats in space ahead of time. By communicating with the D3 and other subsystems on the spacecraft, the satellite can be autonomously maneuvered out of harms way.

Further progress includes using our Command & Control Module to collect real-time data on debris and other threats. This information can be aggregated into a database that our clients can use or be made available to spacecraft operators. Additional benefits include maneuvering satellites collectively in a constellation to maintain the optimal orbit for the mission profile.

Q: What can we expect from your company in next 6 months? What are your plans?

A: Our mission at Orbotic Systems is to continue our fundraising efforts so we can go to market in the fourth quarter of 2022. Our workflow for the D3 is completely mapped and we are ready to begin delivery of the D3 to spacecraft operators. Another important part of our mission is educating the public about the dangers of space debris and informing small satellite builders that they have a viable solution to control and safely de-orbit their spacecraft. As more people become aware that these options exist, we anticipate a surge in the demand for the D3.

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Q: What is the best thing about your company that people might not know about?

A: The people at Orbotic Systems have diverse backgrounds, but share a common goal. The desire to prevent a huge environmental crisis and have fun doing it. We take a creative approach to problem solving and are willing to work with other parties to reach our goals. I cannot go into details at this time, but we are collaborating with various companies and individuals to solve the space debris problem. If you are interested in working with us and share our vision, we want to hear from you.

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