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For the Sake of Safety and Sustainability in Space: OKAPI:Orbits´ AI now available as Assistance System to ADEO Deorbit Sail for Satellites

Juni 2023

Germany´s leading collision avoidance system reliably predicts the perfect slot for descent through tons of debris and space traffic.

When, after two, five or more years of operation, a satellite is supposed to leave its orbit and re-enter Earth, it’s a ride on the skyway to hell in two respects: first, for the satellite which is destined to burn up in the atmosphere, but also for other satellites as well as for an encounter with scrap parts that could hit it like unguided missiles – and produce even more junk. Satellites equipped with the ADEO braking sail from HPS are already in automatic descent mode. From now on, however, this can be upgraded by the Collision Avoidance system from industry-leading German startup OKAPI:Orbits. The company emerged as a spinoff from Braunschweig University of Technology in 2018 after over 40 years of intensive research. This Collision Avoidance System minimizes the collision risk during the de-orbit trajectory by figuring out the situation even ten days in advance. Appropriate maneuvers are also recommended for the satellite’s control system. This is made possible by the unique AI behind OKAPI:Orbits.

“Picture a distant view of 6.72 million kilometers of orbits on which about 10,000 satellites, 1,000,000 large and medium objects and 130,000,000 small ones exist that are not currently trackable. This is how complex computing operations is. Now, we should also take into account their velocity of 20,000 to 30,000 kilometers per hour. To any human sensibility, this is pure chaos, which the artificial intelligence behind our Collision Avoidance Software handles with aplomb,“ says OKAPI’s company CEO Kristina Nikolaus.

Ernst K. Pfeiffer, CEO of HPS, a medium-sized innovation company, adds, „Our ADEO braking system not only performs the fastest possible passive descent even under adverse conditions – for example, when the satellite is already dead – it is also the deorbit solution with the largest safety reserve directly on board. Customers who don’t want to rely solely on their own software to control their satellites will find a unique safety architecture for the deorbit of almost all satellites with ADEO’s optional assistance systems for position tracking (Aviosonic) and optimal descent prediction (OKAPI:Orbits) at HPS.“ ADEO is under discussion as a deorbit subsystem for the satellites of Europe’s coming constellation IRIS2 and “together with the features of Aviosonic and OKAPI:Orbits it levers the constellation to the most secure and sustainable one also after satellites’ nominal lifetime.”

During descent, the combination of all three technologies onboard the satellites will increase significantly the orbit determination and prediction, which is a unique advantage also for other satellites, constellations and stakeholders like owners, operators, and insurers.