13.3.2020 – ClearSpace has obtained a Tech Seed loan of CHF 100’000 from the Foundation for Technological Innovation (FIT). The Vaud-based start-up develops a service capable of eliminating deficient low-orbiting satellites.
The EPFL Space Center (eSpace) spin-off aims to solve the issue of about 3’000 deficient satellites currently in orbit around the earth. With the growing number of small size satellites, ClearSpace evaluates that in 2022, 800 satellites will be launched yearly and 100 to 200 deficient satellites would then have to be deorbited each year to maintain a durable space operation.
ClearSpace has hence developed a robotic capture system using a hunting satellite, a set of sensors and algorithms capable of locating the object to be caught and of determining several of its parameters (distance, direction, rotations and relative speeds). The systems can thus navigate and catch the object semi-autonomously.
Founded by Luc Piguet (CEO), Muriel Richard (Tech Lead) et Catherine Johnson (Design), ClearSpace gathers within its team and board competencies coming from the EPFL and ECAL, Stanford, Caltech, the European Space Agency and the French National Centre for Space Studies, from the German Space Agency as well as from industrial actors like RUAG, SSTL, Airbus or Thales Aliena Space.
Also supported by ESA BIC Switzerland and InnoSuisse, ClearSpace plans on finalising the hunter’s design and on pursuing the development of its systems to demonstrate a first catch and deorbiting as part of an ESA (European Space Agency) mission that ClearSpace won in 2019.
The Tech Seed loan from the FIT will contribute to the project’s progress and to negotiate ClearSpace’s first substantial fundraising.
Source: FIT Press Release