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

Related Stories

Tim Ellis on The Way Forward After Terran 1’s First Flight

Relativity Space CEO Tim Ellis knows what went wrong during Terran 1’s first flight—and he shared with Payload why he is confident the same thing won’t happen to the startup’s Terran R rocket. 


A Management Masterclass, with Chris Celtruda

Today’s Pathfinder episode features Chris Celtruda, CEO of Valence Surface Technologies and Operating Executive at ATL Partners. With over 30 years of leadership experience, Chris offers a masterclass on scaling aerospace & defense businesses and implementing successful management styles. In addition, Mo and Chris chat:  And much more…  Check out Pathfinder #0065 on…YouTube, Apple, Spotify, […]


Ursa Major, Vector Launch Strike Engine Deal

Ursa Major has struck a deal to supply Vector Launch with “several” propulsion systems, the company tells Payload. Ursa’s Hadley engines will power the main stage of the Vector-R launch vehicle in future demonstration missions for national security customers.  A word on Vector: The seven-year-old startup, which has raised more than $180M, declared bankruptcy in […]


Pathfinder #0029, with Tess Hatch and Rachael Zisk

We’re doing things a little differently this week. Ryan’s taking a step back from his podcast-hosting duties so you can get to know another member of the Payload media machine. Actually, we’re doing things very differently. Today’s episode isn’t a Payload-on-Payload interview. Instead, we brought in a guest host.   The interviewer: Tess Hatch is a […]