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  • Satellite Evolution

Slingshot Aerospace expands sensor network to create world’s largest optical tracking system for LEO

Slingshot Aerospace, the innovative technology company dedicated to improving spaceflight safety and optimizing orbital operations, today announced a significant expansion to the Slingshot Global Sensor Network's low-Earth orbit (LEO) tracking capabilities. The company is expanding its LEO tracking capabilities to make its network the largest commercial optical sensor network for LEO observation in the world – providing first-of-its-kind optical tracking of LEO objects at scale.

By the end of 2023, Slingshot plans to deploy more than 80 new optical sensors, which include proprietary telescopes and ultra-wide field of view sensors, bringing the total network to more than 200 sensors across more than 20 sites globally. The expansion will include two new Southern Hemisphere sites, with additional sensors being added to many of the existing sites around the world. The expansion to the network will increase Slingshot’s daily LEO observations by 100x, resulting in more than one million observations per day.


The rapid pace of LEO constellation deployment is creating an urgent need for more regular object tracking and characterization of objects in LEO. Slingshot’s global network of sensors will dramatically improve observation frequency – accelerating revisit rates and providing more persistent optical tracking of the more than 6,500 active satellites in LEO today.


“Slingshot’s enhanced space situational awareness data is already trusted by government organizations and satellite operators worldwide, and this expansion will allow us to significantly increase industry-leading LEO tracking data for satellite operators around the globe,” said Melanie Stricklan, Co-founder and CEO, Slingshot Aerospace. “We are making Slingshot’s Global Sensor Network the go-to commercial space surveillance and tracking provider for all orbital regimes. This expansion introduces an unprecedented level of space situational awareness that gives operators the critical insights they need for successful space operations.”


Slingshot’s Global Sensor Network generates precise angular and brightness data that provides additional context beyond existing LEO radar tracking capabilities. Angular data enables enhanced orbital state generation (how the object is moving), while brightness data enables object characterization and change detection. The Slingshot Global Sensor Network leverages proprietary sensors with daytime LEO tracking capabilities that allow for 5x the observation opportunities of night-only systems. This increased observation window provides customers with more frequent observations of their satellites and objects of interest. The expansion also adds additional redundancy to the network that further mitigates any intermittent weather outages which are historically associated with smaller electro-optical observation networks.


The Global Sensor Network powers Slingshot Vantage, the world’s first and only day and night LEO-to-GEO optical satellite tracking and monitoring service. The service enables government and commercial customers around the world to enhance their space situational awareness with best-in-class observations, orbital analytics, and event detection.


In addition to enhancing the quality of Slingshot’s Vantage services, the data collected via the Global Sensor Network will feed Slingshot Digital Space TwinTM. The digital space twin serves as the intelligence core that powers Slingshot’s products, including Slingshot Beacon, the industry’s first two-sided coordination and data-sharing solution for satellite collision avoidance.


Slingshot has also recently announced an expansion of its executive team with two key executive appointments. Leslie Hildebrand, a former executive at Lockheed Martin, has been appointed to the role of Senior Vice President of Government Business Development and Strategy. Hildebrand brings more than 23 years of experience in senior strategic business development roles to her new position. Pieter Kreuk has been named Chief Financial Officer, bringing more than a decade of financial leadership experience with senior positions at Ernst & Young and other companies.


With its expanded Global Sensor Network, Slingshot Aerospace continues to drive innovation and progress in the space industry, making space safer for everyone.

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