LOS ANGELES, Aug. 09, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Space domain awareness, orbital logistics, and space mining leader announced today it has partnered with educational technology platform to build a global telescope network that will revolutionize the way astronomy is taught, and democratize the process of identifying asteroids, orbital debris, and space traffic. The joint development agreement unites TransAstra’s breakthrough Technology with Slooh’s award-winning online telescope and standards-aligned educational programs. The first-of-its kind collaboration is truly a match made in the heavens – uniquely capable of engaging students of diverse backgrounds, preparing them for STEM careers, and providing them with the tools to locate, track, and potentially get credit for the discovery of comets, asteroids, and other moving bodies in space.
“We envision thousands of students and educators discovering hundreds of asteroids daily, monitoring orbital debris, and gathering data using a global network of telescopes and even a space-based telescope,” said TransAstra Vice President of Strategic Partnerships Nicole Shumaker. “TransAstra’s Sutter telescope technology makes this possible, and Slooh’s unique program puts these telescopes into the curious hands of student-scientists.”
Under the agreement, TransAstra and Slooh will work together to build and install a series of Sutter telescopes across the U.S. and abroad leveraging both Slooh’s and TransAstra’s existing and planned network of observation sites. Slooh now has telescopes at the world-class Institute of Astrophysics of the Canary Islands and at the observatory at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile near Santiago; it is also planning to add telescope sites in the United Arab Emirates and India.
Once the terrestrial network of Sutter telescopes is launched, the partners plan to deploy the first space-based Sutter telescope within two years. Once deployed, that telescope will be the first of its kind to allow school children and amateurs from all over the world to control a spaceborne astronomical instrument for finding moving bodies in space.
“Just as the space tourism industry has put space travel within reach of the public, Slooh’s partnership with TransAstra to promote space education will give the public control of a telescope in space for the first time,” said Slooh Founder and CEO Michael Paolucci. “The Hubble Space Telescope and now James Webb have captivated public interest, and people are primed to control a space telescope for themselves.”
The agreement also marks a milestone for the patent-pending Sutter telescope’s evolution, and its Optimized Match Filtered Tracking software technology. The Sutter system dramatically advances space domain awareness by detecting and tracking in real time small, dark, fast-moving objects in cislunar and deep space with significantly greater strength and accuracy than existing telescopes using low-cost, off-the-shelf optics and computer components. Key applications include identifying and tracking potentially hazardous near-earth asteroids that could impact and damage the planet or create hazards for space equipment and astronauts; monitoring orbital traffic; enhancing space defense by detecting hostile actors; and supporting asteroid mining by remotely prospecting for resources in space.
Using laptops, tablets, or other mobile devices at school and at home, Slooh’s digital platform provides teachers, students and families real-time viewing and control of robotic telescopes to capture and analyze data about celestial phenomena. Once plugged into the Slooh program, which currently operates across more than 70 countries and has 226,000 space explorers, the Sutter telescope capabilities will be accessible to students in kindergarten through college worldwide, including low-income U.S. students. Slooh provides its platform and curriculum free of charge to all U.S. Title 1 schools.
“This partnership advances TransAstra’s core value of democratizing space,” noted TransAstra founder and CEO Dr. Joel Sercel, PhD, who emphasized that geography, race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status should never preclude access to space technology and STEM careers. “This partnership is a way to make space science access more equitable while expanding data collection and advancing our scientific knowledge of asteroids.” TransAstra is also working with Slooh to determine how students may be able to share credit for asteroid discovery, or name their discoveries, through bodies such as the International Astronomical Union Minor Planet Center, the single worldwide organization responsible for the identification, designation, and orbit computation for space objects.
“With no Earth atmosphere to distort the view, imaging conditions are perfect from space. And you're guaranteed 365 clear nights a year, providing instant gratification without any ‘rain delays’,” Paolucci added. “Slooh members have made over 12,000 asteroid tracking submissions to the Minor Planet Center. They will be thrilled to see what they can do now with TransAstra’s technology. ”
Founded in 2015, TransAstra (TransAstra.com) is a U.S. space domain awareness, orbital logistics, and space mining company advancing the industrialization and settlement of space through the sustainable and ethical development of critical, dual-use space infrastructure technologies powered by the resources of space and the energy of the sun. The 2021 YCombinator alum, which is headquartered in Los Angeles, has been issued 5 patents recently and has more than 12 additional patents pending.
Slooh brings the wonders of space exploration to the public, at school and at home. For almost 20 years, the company has provided the ability to view space phenomena, capture observational data, and engage in gamified learning through its patented user-controlled network of online telescopes and standards-aligned curriculum for upper elementary through post-secondary students around the world. Slooh is funded in part by a National Science Foundation grant. To learn more about Slooh, visit .
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