Inside Space Congestion Solutions

This post was written by: Andrew Ball

As the NewSpace industry grows, so does the amount of debris surrounding the planet. On The Satellite & NewSpace Matters Podcast we were delighted to be joined today by Siamak Hesar, the Co-Founder and CEO of Kayhan Space. Siamak has a PhD in aerospace engineering and extensive expertise in astrodynamic and operational flight dynamic fields. His company’s purpose is to create a next generation autonomous spaceflight capability with the mission of making space safer. We asked Siamak about how Kayhan Space is contributing to the challenges of space congestion and how that informed the creation of his company. Here’s what he said:

If you’re alluding to space congestion and space debris, it’s a very big problem. There are multiple aspects for me when we talk about solutions. To give you some context in terms of how the industry is growing – since the dawn of the space age, humanity as a whole has launched around 11,000 satellites into orbit. That has directly resulted in over a million pieces of debris and artificially generated micro meteorites. That’s made up of all the extra stuff that gets thrown out of satellites and collision debris. That is obviously a big problem, but we are not stopping there. 

One exciting aspect of this industry is that we are growing so fast. I have no issue with that growth, but we do need to be mindful of the fact that that growth needs to be accompanied by the right processes and capabilities to support it so that growth is done safely. In the next decade alone there are different estimates and forecasts which predict that we are going to send around 100,000 satellites into orbit. That’s 10 times more satellites in just one decade than everything that we have done in space so far. That creates a big challenge. 

There are different aspects of addressing this problem. The analogy that I always use is that when it comes to space traffic management, we are in the same boat as air traffic control, where initially there were midair collisions that resulted in people sitting down and thinking about the creation of a traffic control system. The reason that the air travel industry is at this scale right now is because back then we decided as a society that we needed regulations and processes that allowed the industry to scale safely. We are in the same situation right now in the space industry. 

In terms of Kayhan’s offering, we are a technology company, so our role is to provide technical solutions or technology that can help the industry scale safely. We do that by automating the processes that satellite operators can use to fly safely and coordinate with each other. 

To learn more about Siamak’s career and experiences, tune into Episode 18 of 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.     

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