The round table was co-led by Initialized Capital and Root Ventures
WASHINGTON – Kayhan Space, a startup based in Boulder, Colorado, announced on December 14 that it has closed a $ 3.75 million funding round. The company has developed a space traffic control system for satellite operators to help prevent collisions in Earth orbit.
The funding round was co-led by Initialized Capital and Root Ventures, with participation from Overline venture capital and Jacob Helberg, senior advisor at the Stanford University Center on Geopolitics and Technology.
Kayhan CEO and co-founder Siamak Hesar was previously a space situational awareness specialist for NASA missions. In an interview, he said the company’s collision avoidance technology is entering the market at a critical time when space is becoming congested and satellite operators need accurate information and timely alerts. to avoid collisions.
Systems exist today to monitor space traffic, but they use manual processes prone to human error, Hesar said. Commercial satellite operators are growing rapidly and need better technologies to ensure flight safety, he said. âOur system autonomously generates maneuver plans for operators so that they can avoid collisions. “
Today, most conjunctions – or potential collision events – occur between operational satellites and debris simply because there is much more debris than live satellites, Hesar noted. But with companies planning to deploy mega-stellations of thousands of satellites, âyou’re going to have a lot of scenarios where you have operational satellite events. This requires an automated capacity to manage and coordinate maneuvers.
The company, founded in 2019, plans to turn its collision avoidance system – called Kayhan Pathfinder – into a commercial service for private sector satellite operators and government agencies.
âAll of the work we do is dual-use,â Kayhan co-founder Araz Feyzi said. âWe have decided to focus on both business and government activities in the future. “
Many satellite operators have their own internal monitoring capacity, but are now considering using external services due to increased congestion, Hesar said.
âThis is a very unique time in the space industry,â he said. âYou have a lot of new businesses that don’t necessarily have all the resources. They do the math and realize that maybe they should consider buying some third-party capacity focused on this area.
âWe think we’re going to continue to see this change as the space gets crowded,â he said.
Hesar said he could not release the names of Kayhan’s current clients. On the government side, the company won a US Air Force Small Business Innovation Research contract to model the impact of drag on the accuracy of collision risk assessments.
The drag has a significant impact on spacecraft in low Earth orbit, he said. âThis is basically the biggest source of error in terms of the predictive ability of your objects. “
Kayhan also won an SBIR contract to support US Space Force object tracking.
The recent Russian missile test that detonated a satellite in orbit “made it clear that we need a better way to track newly generated objects and to be able to catalog them as quickly as possible,” Hesar said. The space community needs better data, he added. “We fly blind.”
Kayhan’s collision avoidance system uses data from US Space Command’s space catalog, commercial data providers, and satellite operators’ own GPS positioning signals.