Inside ReOrbit’s On-Satellite Systems

On-satellite software has become a hot topic over recent weeks. On Episode 12 of The Satellite & NewSpace Matters Podcast we spoke to Sethu Suvanam, CEO of ReOrbit, about how his company is creating potential through their new platform. Sethu moved into the satellite industry after finishing his PhD in information and communication technology, and he has since gone on to found ReOrbit, the satellite company that’s disrupting the industry with their reusable, autonomous and software-defined micro satellite platform. 

What can we expect to see from ReOrbit next? 

If you look at the space industry today, the core element is actually data. That’s what is generating revenues. If you go to any operator, they are actually more worried about the satellite in itself, which shouldn’t be the case. On the ground, if you look at how things are working with cell phones, nobody’s worried about the hardware equipment, they’re talking about ‘How much should I charge for megabits?’. Data is what we should all be considering. We’re now planning to build infrastructures that optimise the data flows in space so that the operators can just think about the fastest way of getting the data. We are envisioning our future view as very similar to Cisco and how they brought about a connectivity revolution for the computer industry. We want to bring a similar connectivity revolution to the satellite industry.

The focus on software within the satellite and space industries has a lot of potential. How do you think a software-first approach will create potential?

Typically, a Space Systems Engineer will design the hardware first, then think about how they can write the software. The moment the machine changes though, the requirements are not the same. That’s why space missions have at least 30% NRA. 

We’re developing the software first. Going software-first opens up your market, because you can then buy best in class hardware. It also enables us to start developing applications and functionalities onboard the satellite. If you want to have those architectures, then you need to get out of this hardware-first approach and put software at the centre. At the end of the day, it’s all about optimising the data flows and data routing, which is all done on the software, not the hardware. Going software-first also significantly cuts costs.

What are ReOrbit’s plans for the next 12-24 months?

At the end of the day, the crux of any company should be to generate revenues. That’s what we’re focused on; to keep increasing our revenues and profitability. We’re also building a sustainable company. It’s not sustainable in the clean air, clean energy sense, it’s more like creating a long-lasting company where generations of people can work. We are definitely growing and scaling up our team. We are now onboarding some more superstars of space. We’ve been quite successful in closing big contracts in the last couple of years, and now we are reaching a stage where we will start delivering on those. This fall it will be critical for us to deliver what we promised on time and at the cost we quoted. 

To learn more about the work that Sethu and ReOrbit are doing, tune into The Satellite & NewSpace Matters Podcast here.

We sit down regularly with some of the biggest names in our industry, we dedicate our podcast to the stories of leaders in the technologies industries that bring us closer together. Follow the link here to see some of our latest episodes and don’t forget to subscribe.     

Inside Autonomous Robotics

Autonomous robotics has become a popular topic in the industry. On episode 9 of The Connectivity Matters Podcast we were joined by Nicholas Zylberglajt, Co-Founder and CEO of Unmanned Life to talk about the advances the company is making in the autonomous robotics space. Nicholas is a leader with more than 15 years of international experience, and with a focus on the technology and entrepreneurship space, he has been shortlisted as one of the 12 Most Impressive CEOs in the autonomous vehicle space, while Unmanned Life has been shortlisted as a top company in the same category. 

What’s your take on the current state of autonomous robotics?

The autonomous robotics industry is booming. Where we are today, post COVID, social acceptance has totally changed the narrative around autonomous robots. People were saying ‘robots are going to take my job’, but now the narrative is that robots are helping us solve certain problems, making work safer in areas that we cannot reach etc, etc. Combined with the economy needing to become more efficient, and robots becoming more cost efficient, the robotics market is booming. For a company like us, now is a perfect moment for the rollout of autonomous robotics. So social acceptance, pricing of autonomous robots going down and improvements of the overall infrastructure has allowed a massive deployment of robotics. Even with the tech downturn that we saw last year, the valuations for robotics companies did not go down, they went up. All these trends are happening at once, so the robotics market really is booming.

What’s more important for the growth of the sector, social acceptance or proven technology? 

Social acceptance always needs to be there. Let’s take the example of drones. We have very interesting data coming from regulators, saying that they want drone delivery to be used more widely, but they want this to be done safely. If we are deploying drones, we are always abiding by the rules and regulations. Although they are cumbersome, these will allow us to become much more socially accepted. For me, social acceptance always needs to come first. The trend in terms of the market being ready and the deployment infrastructure, that’s something that we cannot force. It has to happen as the wider world is ready for it. 

Which autonomous robotics use case are you most excited about for the future?

I would say that the security of premises, search and rescue for first responders, and anything else that is making jobs safer, more efficient, or enhancing human work is what excites me the most. For example, with first responders, you have the concept of the golden hour with wildfires. The concept is that if you intervene in the first hour, you can save lives. If you can deploy robots, or drones in this case, quickly enough that firefighters can have situational awareness, you can save lives, and you can save costs. 

We are working with the telecom operators and partners to deploy networks of autonomous drones over 5G that will cover wildfire hotspots and that will allow the first responders to intervene within their golden hour. These are tangible use cases that we can work on. Finally on sustainability, you can also use robotics to deploy reforestation, emissions capture, carbon capture and mapping, so you can trace how the progress has happened and monitor the progress of that reforestation. These are all use cases that we are working on with our partners, and our technologies enable.

What will ‘autonomous everything’ look like in the next few decades?

The way that I present our vision is that society will have achieved progress, thanks to autonomous robotics. We need to have the right checks and balances on technology, because where you will have AI and robotics in every single aspect of the economy and society, and it will be safer, more efficient, and faster. But, we need to make sure that’s being monitored. Basically, in all of the use cases I was describing, you can apply that technology in other sectors of the economy by orchestrating different types of robots. Imagine that an intelligent CT was functioning with robotics and intelligent AI – the autonomous everything is when all of these are functioning harmoniously without impacting the progress and cohesion of society.

To learn more about autonomous robotics and the work that Unmanned Life are doing in the space, tune into The Connectivity Matters Podcast here

We sit down regularly with some of the biggest names in our industry, we dedicate our podcast to the stories of leaders in the technologies industries that bring us closer together. Follow the link here to see some of our latest episodes and don’t forget to subscribe.