OMEGA Privateer Wayfinder app user interface
Omega, makers of the only watch approved by NASA, is collaborating with Privateer to track satellites and monitor hazardous debris in space, in a bid to keep the cosmos safe and accessible. The watchmaker has been tied to space exploration since Buzz Aldrin wore the Omega Speedmaster Professional (now named the Omega Moonwatch) while landing on the moon in 1969.
Space is cluttered with debris that inhibits satellite and flight paths. About 40,000 pieces of human-made space “junk”, larger than 10 centimeters, are currently being tracked as they orbit the earth. In addition, there are hundreds of thousands of unidentified and unpredictable hazards in the path of orbit. Privateer aims to track all of this debris with extreme precision so it can eventually be removed.
Privateer debuted its web-based app, Wayfinder, on March 1, which features time tracking by Omega and real-time visualization of debris in earth’s orbit. The shocking visualization shows just how many human-made pieces of space debris are really out there. The fear is that the accumulation of debris, if left untreated, could amass and prevent humans from launching rockets and satellites into space entirely.
Privateer’s mission is led by a small team: Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, Ripcord CEO and founder Alec Fielding, and astrodynamicist and space environmentalist Dr. Moriba Jah. This trio strives to give back to the planet as space debris is an urgent issue affecting the future of the planet and space exploration.
"Many of us don't realize how much of our lives are reliant on services delivered from and through space — GPS services, financial transactions, climate monitoring. Our life on Earth is connected to space and even the smallest debris orbiting the Earth can damage and destroy these critical capabilities for some of the most basic aspects of our day-to-day life,” Wozniak told CNN Business.
The software aims to be like Google Maps but for space debris. It collects data using ground radars and, eventually, satellites owned by Privateer, to gather available data about space debris, and create an incredibly clear picture of where various items are in orbit. The software will be especially useful to satellite operators, who can then navigate satellites away from disastrous objects.
Dr. Moriba Jah, Steve Woznaik, Alec Fielding
“We’re thrilled to partner with Omega for the launch of Privateer’s proprietary knowledge graph technology,” Fielding says. “Omega has deep roots in exploration of land, sea and space, and with their support, Privateer will be able to further humankind’s exploration and understanding of this ultimate frontier.”
In January 2022, Omega announced its support for ClearSpace, a company working to remove uncontrolled space satellites from the earth’s orbit, a feat that’s never been done before. In 2020, ClearSpace signed with the European Space Agency (ESA) to perform this groundbreaking mission, planned for 2025.
Photography by: Courtesy of Privateer