December 19, 2023

2023: A Year in Orbit

A look back on a year of innovation for Slingshot Aerospace.

As we bid farewell to 2023 and look ahead to 2024, Slingshot Aerospace is entering a new era. This year included many accolades, from Business Insider’s Startups To Bet Your Career On and Via Satellite’s 10 Hottest Companies in Satellite to NVCA’s Startup Innovator Award, NatSec100, and Forbes’ AI 50, to name a few. While it is an honor to be recognized for our success, it's the ability of our team to continue innovating and expanding on our capabilities, all while delivering for customers in the United States and around the world, that exemplifies our continued growth as an organization.

Accelerating Innovation

Our product, science, and engineering teams were hard at work in 2023 – from deploying new optical sensor systems across the globe to further integrating the capabilities adopted in our 2022 acquisitions, and continuing to roll out new features on the Slingshot platform.

Slingshot Global Sensor Network Highlights:

  • Deployed the first of several Horus sensor systems. This groundbreaking optical fence for low Earth orbit (LEO) satellite tracking not only demonstrated uncued detection of LEO satellites at scale, but also validated this new sensor system for continued sensor network expansion.
  • Established a new Global Sensor Network site in Chile – adding to our distributed, resilient network and paving the way for additional new sensor locations as we head into 2024.
  • Added 3 additional Varda gimbaled telescope systems to our network with day/night LEO-xGEO capabilities, with even more scheduled to be deployed in the new year.
  • Reported and tracked several active space events, most recently on December 15, 2023.

Seradata Highlights:

After 2022’s acquisitions of both Seradata and Numerica’s Space Division, this year we focused on tightly integrating their products and services into the Slingshot suite of offerings. Seradata redefined its product offering to better serve customers and tracked multiple industry-wide milestones and trends including (data as of December 14, 2023):

  • 202 successful launches to date in 2023, a record-setting year
  • There were 180 successful launches in 2022
  • 2,812 spacecraft deployed this year
  • +15.19% increase in satellite deployments vs. 2022 - the highest deployments seen in 1 year
  • ~$981.9 million in total losses in the space insurance market this year

Beacon Highlights:

Slingshot Beacon, the world’s first two-sided coordination platform for collision avoidance and spaceflight safety, continued to establish itself as an essential tool for spaceflight operators:

  • Over 90% of all active LEO spacecraft in orbit today are leveraging Slingshot Beacon to minimize collision risk, coordinate maneuvers, and simplify their operations
  • Launched on-demand ephemeris screening service on Beacon that allows operators to rapidly screen operational and special ephemerides
  • Current stats on Beacon data:
  • 6K+ satellites sharing their data
  • 160M+ conjunction data messages (CDMs) ingested to-date
  • 7% of CDMs have been flagged as high-risk
  • Thousands of hours saved for operators in 2023

Developer Hub Launch:

To empower owner/operators and space application developers, Slingshot Aerospace launched a new Developer Hub and multiple APIs, including:

  • Orbit determination
  • Propagation
  • Launch metadata
  • Satellite metadata
  • And many, many more…

This service is currently in the invite-only beta stage – join the waitlist!

Delivering for Our Customers

Our program team’s commitment to excellence and service for our customers truly took center stage this past year. From cutting-edge AI applications to the successful deployment of advanced visualization tools, each delivery increased our customers’ ability to operate their missions safely and efficiently. Highlights include:

  • Predictive Reporting and Enhanced Constellation Objective Guide (PRECOG): Using artificial intelligence and machine learning, Slingshot tested and demonstrated the ability to discern distinctive (and potentially nefarious) satellites in LEO mega-constellations and identified the factors that differentiate them via simulated and real data.
  • Slingshot Comprehensive Object Profiling Engine (SCOPE): Using machine learning, we developed several insights and analytics about satellite behavior, pattern of life, threat monitoring, and orbital neighborhood activity. SCOPE helps provide actionable insights - enabling customers to better understand what is happening around them, including potential threats. See a real-world example in our monitoring of Luch-2.
  • Slingshot Laboratory: Delivered Slingshot Laboratory to our customer, providing an immersive training tool used in US Space Force (USSF) classrooms that covers everything from foundational education to advanced orbital mechanics.
  • Testing and Training: Expanded the capabilities of the Slingshot platform to support the USSF’s Operational Test and Training Infrastructure (OTTI) - giving Guardians a cutting-edge virtual space training environment. The platform reflects the current state of space at any given moment, enabling users to simulate various scenarios and support advanced training for the USSF operational Deltas and their specific mission areas.
  • Uncorrelated Track (UCT) Processing Software Upgrade: Upgraded the 18th Space Defense Squadron's UCT processing software to handle new sensor data, including Space Fence data, improving the quality of orbital information in the publicly shared catalog.
  • NOVA (Next-Generation Overhead Persistent Infrared Visualization Application): Our NOVA USSF tool underwent multiple version feature enhancements and found a permanent home on the watchfloor status screens at the Overhead Battlespace Awareness Center (OBAC), Buckley SF base, supporting the 11 SWS operators with missile warning.

Advancing Policy Forward

Slingshot was proud to be at the forefront of new space policy in 2023, joining several initiatives that ensure space sustainability is at the center of all space-faring missions. Initiatives included:

To 2024 and Beyond!

All of these accomplishments are a testament to our Slingshooters and their continued dedication to our mission. We are poised to deliver even more robust capabilities that make space more safe, sustainable, and secure in 2024. We want to extend deep gratitude to our customers for their trust in our team and our technology.

We look forward to continuing this momentum in the new year. But, in the meantime, we wish you and yours a happy holiday season!