A startup based at Space Park Leicester has successfully managed to protect satellites from ‘space bullets’, a major breakthrough for the company.

Pieces of debris bigger than 10cm can be tracked and avoided, but over 99 per cent of debris is so small it is invisible to existing tracking technology. These are known as ‘space bullets’ and are forecasted to cost the sector around $3b annually by 2030.

ODIN Space has developed a system that prevents satellites from being destroyed by these small flying pieces and managed to demonstrate that their tech works during the recent SpaceX Transporter 8 mission.

James New, CEO and Co-founder of ODIN Space, said:

“It’s been a nervous few weeks for us since the Transporter 8 launch, but we’re excited to see our demo unit transmitting data.

“It’s an amazing milestone in our short history and for the future of detailed mapping of orbits.

“By understanding how even the smallest debris behaves, we can provide satellite operators, orbital service providers, insurance companies and anyone involved in the sector, with the mission-critical situational awareness data they need for the success of their mission and the long-term operational safety of their assets and revenue. “

Earlier this year, ODIN Space became a member of the European Space Agency’s Business Incubation Centre for the United Kingdom (ESA BIC UK) programme at Space Park Leicester.

The ESA BIC (UK) at Leicester is a route for SMEs to develop technologies for the space industry and it is providing financial support and expertise to accelerate the development of ODIN Space’s technology and commercial offering.

Commercial Manager at Space Park Leicester Vinay Patel said:

“We’re thrilled about the success of ODIN Space’s demo.

“With as many as 100,000 satellites and hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of space-based infrastructure expected to be in orbit by 2030, understanding how debris is behaving is crucial for satellite operators, orbital service providers and insurance companies.”

Organisations which join ESA BIC (UK) receive a programme of technical support from the University of Leicester’s leading-edge Space and Earth Observation scientists and business support from Entrepreneurs in residence.

Entry to the programme is through a competitive tender process and the deadline for the next round of applications is September 18. For more information, visit https://www.space-park.co.uk/innovation/esa-bic/