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Steve Wozniak-Founded Privateer Space Launches Free Collision Avoidance Tool 

By | October 6, 2022

Privateer’s Wayfinder space traffic monitoring tool. Photo: Privateer

Privateer Space, a space data company started by Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, released a free collision risk assessment tool this week. The tool, Crow’s Nest, is part of the Wayfinder satellite data and debris platform, and it was released free to the public.

Wayfinder is an open-access visualization of space showing active and inactive satellites, debris, and rocket bodies. The new Crow’s Nest feature uses NASA’s Conjunction Assessment Risk Analysis (CARA) tools and applies it across the catalog of tracked space objects. The company said it plans to bring in additional features including orbital data streaming integration and advanced risk analysis, and integrate Crow’s Nest with third party tools. 

“Crow’s Nest keeps satellite operators, potentially preventing them from colliding with rockets and debris, to avoid a disruption of space activities, while Wayfinder – with the added capabilities of Crow’s Nest – helps to ensure that humanity has access to space as a finite resource, in perpetuity,” said Dr. Moriba Jah, co-founder and chief scientist at Privateer.

The company said the tool can be used by satellite operators and government agencies, but part of the company’s mission is also to educate the public and raise awareness for space traffic. Anyone can try Crow’s Nest.

“These easily accessible basic tools are available to everyone for free as we believe baseline universal collision analysis and risk assessment is the only path to space sustainability,” Jah said. 

Privateer was unveiled in 2021 and founded by Apple co-founder Wozniak; Alex Fielding, CEO of Ripcord, a company working to digitize paper records with robotics; and Jah, an astrodynamicist. The company’s goal is to provide global transparency on space traffic to keep space safe. In September, Privateer signed an agreement with fellow space sustainability software company SCOUT to integrate SCOUT’s systems architecture and data collection into  Wayfinder.