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London Tech Week

Germany’s OKAPI:Orbits shoots up €5.5M funding to protect satellites from space debris collisions

Image credits: OKAPI:Orbits

Man’s destructive impact on the planet has been enormous, with our overflowing landfills, polluted oceans and debris-corrupted space, seemingly a highlight of our presence. The Department of Defense’s global Space Surveillance Network (SSN) is tracking more than 27,000 pieces of orbital debris with much smaller ones existing in near-earth orbit.

The German-based Okapi:Orbits which assists satellite operators to avoid collisions and guarantee the interruption-free use of tech in space has just secured €5.5M in seed funding. Owing to the explosion in the number of activities and dangerous amounts of debris, assets in space face potential collisions & resulting interference with each other. The phenomenon named the Kessler Syndrome describes and warns of a cascade of orbital debris that could potentially hinder humanity’s space ambitions and activities as time progresses. Space equipment is increasingly reliant on coordination and planning in advance.

This funding was led by San Francisco’s MunichRe Ventures, the VC arm of Munich RE Group alongside fellow US VC Dolby Family Ventures and European VCs Herius Capital & APEX Ventures. Experienced private investors Andreas Kupke, founder of Finanzcheck, and Christian Dahlen, software executive at SAP, E.ON’s former CEO Ingo Luge and Michael Oxfort, the founder of the first commercial satellite constellation also participated in this round.

Enabling safe space operations

“Our overarching mission is to help operators to increase the lifetime of their assets with a minimal ecological footprint, keeping their investments safe and taking advantage of the great opportunities the booming space market has to offer for solving earth’s problems,” states Kristina Nikolaus, OKAPI: Orbits co-founder and CEO.

In an effort to avoid collision incidents and ensure the interruption-free use of tech in space, the OKAPI: Orbits platform makes use of selective data sets and algorithms which are combined and applied in a highly dynamic environment to significantly limit unnecessary manoeuvres, fuel loss and high service downtimes.

OKAPI: Orbits’ Space Traffic Management software aggregates a very precise and holistic map of objects and actions conducted in space. The platform combines radar, telescope, in-orbit sensors and laser-ranging data into an independent data set. This in turn predicts risk, interferences and environmental impacts with a high degree of accuracy. This assessment assists operators to extend the lifetime of their space assets by several months, reducing operating costs by a factor of 10 and increasing the reliability of their services.

OKAPI: Orbits at a glance

The space tech startup was founded in 2018 by Kristina Nikolaus, Jonas Radtke, Christopher Kebschull & Sven Müller and is headquartered in Brunswick, Germany. The German startup has already exhibited its position as the leader by providing services to more than 50 spacecraft in orbit and over 150 registered users spread across Europe, the US and Asia-Pacific. OKAPI: Orbits also offers full simulation capabilities, risk analysis and tools to ensure compliance with regulations and industry standards.

The finances realised in this round will enable the startup to grow its platform’s userbase, further develop and enhance its product portfolio and expand OKAPI’s international footprint in the space situational awareness market.

“Munich Re Ventures is excited to support OKAPI: Orbits with their vision of reducing the risk of collisions and other adverse events in space. We share their commitment to innovative solutions that facilitate a safe and sustainable space ecosystem, ” Timur Davis, the Investment Principal at Munich Re Ventures was quoted expressing his support for the space tech.

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