December 19, 2016 – Leading space venture Saber Astronautics was recently awarded Certified Space Technology status from the Space Foundation for their innovative operations software. The software, called the Predictive Ground Station Project (“PIGI”), uses video game technology to enable people to create their own missions and operate large numbers of satellites with very little training.
The commercial space industry is expected to grow rapidly over the next ten years, mainly due to advances in small satellites. Once the realm only of large multinational companies and government agencies, modern small satellites are produced very cheaply, enough for entrepreneurs, hobbyists, and students to get involved. Small satellites are producing images and data useful to industries here on Earth, such as agriculture, mining, and banking, and at costs well within the range of traditional startup seed funding. Some of Saber’s customers, for example, include satellites funded for less than $150k on a Kickstarter campaign.
“That’s less than half the cost of a juice-bar franchise,” said Dr. Jason Held, Saber Astronautics’ Director and CEO. “The ‘do-it-yourself’ movement is getting involved, many of whom are solid engineers, have always wanted to try space, but aren’t traditionally trained in space engineering. They often do well with developing the satellite but can struggle with the outdated operational tools, many of which are text based and hard to learn.”
The PIGI project closes that gap, enabling people to rapidly experiment with new concepts. A private Alpha release was completed in September and is now available to the general public. Saber also organized a range of space entrepreneurship workshops in the USA, Australia, and the EU, where undergraduate students designed their own missions. Some of these teams are earning cash prizes with one team even raising Series-A funding based in part from results of the software.
“Our aim is the democratization of space,” said Held, “where anyone, regardless of background, can bring their innovation, ideas, and talent to market.”
The Space Certification Program was created by the Space Foundation, in cooperation with NASA, to raise awareness and understanding about space and the significant and practical benefits of technologies originally developed for the space program, which have been adapted into products and services that improve life on Earth. The Space Certification Program recognizes companies that produce and market these products and services.
“Predictive Ground Station Project is a uniquely ingenious product, combining space technology and elements of education. We’re happy to welcome Saber Astronautics into the Space Certification program,” said Kevin Cook, Space Foundation Vice President – Marketing & Communications.
Saber Astronautics is located in Denver, Colorado (“Daywatch”) and Sydney, Australia (“Nightswatch”).