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Xprize Picks Satellite Companies for Space-Based Wildfire Detection Competition

By Rachel Jewett | April 17, 2024
      Photo: Canadian Forest Service

      Photo: Canadian Forest Service

      Xprize selected a number of satellite companies to advance in a wildfire detection challenge aimed at funding innovative solutions to combat wildfires. Xprize announced 20 participants on Wednesday in the Space-Based Wildfire Detection & Intelligence program. Competitors include Loft Orbital, Muon Space, MyRadar, Orbital Sidekick, and OroraTech.

      Xprize is a non-profit organization that hosts public competitions to fund and encourage technological development.

      This cohort will equally share a milestone prize $750,000. Teams will move on to the semifinals. In the final competition, teams will have one minute to detect fires across a landscape larger than entire states or countries, and 10 minutes to characterize and report data with the least false positives to decision-makers on the ground. It is an $11 million competition, with a space-based track and an autonomous track. 

      According to the organization, “the prize aims to transform current wildfire management approaches through the development of new technologies that can rapidly and accurately detect, characterize, and respond to wildfires before they become destructive.” 

      The full list of competitors includes Akula Tech, Be The Change Analytics, BlacksharkAI, Chooch, DeepFire, Ember Guard, Fire Eye, Generative Intelligence, Redback Fire Team, SIRIUS Wildfire Alliance, Snuffed, SpectraCan, Team FUEGO, Mayday (Guardian Space), and Woolpert DI Cloud Geo Team.

      Muon Space CEO Jonny Dyer said the competition is serving a vital role to accelerate new on-orbit technologies.

      “The wildfire emergency poses an acute hazard to our communities as well as a tremendous risk to natural ecosystems and the global climate.  We, and our partners across the operational fire management and fire science community, believe that the multi-satellite constellation we are developing and operationalizing will revolutionize the detection, monitoring, and management of wildfires globally and provide the tools to keep good fire in the landscape while minimizing loss to life and property,” Dyer said in a statement.

      Correction: A former version of this story mischaracterized the participants as satcom companies. The story has been updated.