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Privateer wants to create a ‘data ride-sharing economy’ for space

Privateer Space is launching a new module for satellite operators called Pono, which the company says will help make space data available at scale and at a far lower cost than it is today.

The first Pono prototype will launch on a D-Orbit space tug in late 2023. Based on the data it receives from this first prototype in orbit, the company will launch a second, iteratively designed Pono module in mid-2024 before making it fully available to customers early the following year.

When Privateer emerged from stealth in 2021, led by Alex Fielding and Steve Wozniak, the company characterized its main mission as space situational awareness: creating the “Google Maps of space,” for satellite mission planning and even orbital debris tracking. The company’s first product, Wayfinder, offers such tracking for spacecraft and other objects in space.

But combined with Pono, Privateer is now looking to build a marketplace for data, where customers can “ride-share” on satellites and task them to collect data on whatever region of Earth is of interest. In a statement, Wozniak said that this is akin to when GPS technology became widely available.

“Building a data ride-sharing economy in and from space, paired with our on-orbit AI, enables Privateer to give away the safety, sustainability and optimization technology that helps earn satellite operators more customers while giving a global user base a way to access space that traditionally has been reserved for large governments only,” he said. “This is similar to when GPS technology became available to the masses and we expect it to have a similar impact.”

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