Pathfinder #0011: Moriba Jah on Tackling Orbital Debris

Today, we’re tackling the topic of space junk on Pathfinder with Dr. Moriba Jah. Moriba is an astrodynamicist, space environmentalist, and associate professor of aerospace engineering and engineering mechanics at UT Austin (obligatory 🤘 from Ryan). He’s also the chief scientist and cofounder of Privateer, with Alex Fielding and Steve “Woz” Wozniak. 

Pathfinder is brought to you by SpiderOak Mission Systems, an industry leader in space cybersecurity.

A sneak peek of the Pathfinder #0011 discussion

In the simplest of terms, Moriba specializes in studying and predicting the motion of space objects. Moriba walks us through his framework for thinking about this not-so-simple task, along with…

  • Whether LEO has a carrying capacity
  • The geopolitical calculus of maintaining the orbital commons
  • The challenges of international and public-private coordination
  • Moriba’s efforts to “recruit empathy” for space environmentalism
  • A tragedy of the orbital commons… but also, reasons to be optimistic

Privateer has stayed secretive until recently. In this episode, we explore the following questions:

  • Where does this startup get its data?
  • How could the wisdom of crowds come into play?
  • What does the tech stack look like?
  • How is Privateer thinking about its own orbital assets and hosted payloads?
  • Who will the platform’s power users be?

Where to get Pathfinder #0011