In an attempt to get as many space operators communicating on the same platform as possible to lower collision risks in space, Slingshot Aerospace today announced that it plans to offer a version of its Beacon space situational awareness (SSA) platform for free.
“We just feel a grand responsibility here, since we do have the capability to empower and enable the world of spacefaring users,” Slingshot CEO Melanie Stricklan told Payload.
Eyes on space: Austin-based Slingshot Aerospace is focused on building a virtualization of the space environment and everything in it. This “Digital Space Twin,” as the tool is known, lays the foundation for the company’s two products:
- Slingshot Laboratory, an astronautics training and simulation tool
- Slingshot Beacon, a platform that allows users to track their assets in orbit and communicate across government, civil, and commercial lines
Slingshot Beacon has been available in beta since August 2021. The startup has padded out the product’s functionality in part by acquiring new features and data. Last month, Slingshot acquired Numerica’s Space Domain Awareness (SDA) division and UK-based Seradata, incorporating each company’s proprietary feeds into its SSA platforms.
The details: Free users on the Beacon platform will have access to its key features: refined conjunction assessment and communication tools to deconflict with other operators.
Slingshot Beacon has been available to users until now on a subscription basis, but Stricklan hopes that by opening a basic version of the service to users free of charge, more users will recognize the value in safe space operations. That’s a win-win as far as Slingshot is concerned, as it could also drive more customers to the company’s revenue-generating products and advanced features.
“When you have a community of this size coming together on a single platform, and communicating and sharing their ephemeris data transparently, it forms a community,” said Stricklan. “That community will inevitably…want to upgrade into other feature sets within our host of technologies, not just Beacon.”