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Low Earth orbit is overcrowded, but this Silicon Valley startup has a solution

In late January, two satellites which had been harmlessly orbiting the Earth for decades, almost collided with one another. Had they done so, at speeds of 14 kilometers per second, both would have been instantly obliterated.

This is what people who work in space industries call a “catastrophic collision.” The catastrophe, as it turns out, isn’t the expiration of the two satellites themselves. The catastrophic part refers to what would happen next. The two former satellites would have become celestial shotgun blasts, clouds of tiny debris. Initially, these would have followed their original orbits. Over the course of the next few months, however, both would have dispersed, creating a thin shell of debris around the Earth. Anyone passing through this shell at any point during the next few centuries, whether another satellite or a manned spaceship headed to the moon or Mars, would have faced an increased risk of collision with one of the tiny, potentially deadly, high-speed fragments.


Fortunately, this didn’t happen. The two satellites whizzed past one another with a clearance of just 40 feet between them, equivalent to less than half a regulation basketball court. On this occasion, we got lucky.

But the near-miss highlights something important. None of us has much of an awareness of events that are taking place some 560 miles above our heads. Despite (rightful) renewed concern about the impact humanity is having on our Earthbound environment, we don’t necessarily reserve the same fearfulness for what we’re doing to our environment even as close to home as Low Earth Orbit. It is, in some senses, a Wild West of unregulated activity. And not enough people are paying attention.


Fortunately, a Silicon Valley space mapping startup called LeoLabs is. They were the ones who sounded the alarm about the recent satellite close shave. And they’re hoping to revolutionize the way we track satellites and other objects in space. It can’t happen soon enough!

Space traffic control

Every day, some 15,000 people in the United States wake up and go to work as federal air traffic controllers, keenly focused on a slice of airspace to make sure that every aircraft in U.S. airspace remains properly separated from one another in the sky. At a major airport, there can be more than 50 controllers on duty at any one time. At an air traffic control center that number is in the hundreds.

LeoLabs Starlink Tracking

How many people, by comparison, are keeping an eye on space traffic? Probably fewer than you would expect. “Before us, nobody was watching for this,” Dan Ceperley, CEO of LeoLabs told Digital Trends.

On the surface, space traffic management sounds like the kind of no-show job Tony Soprano might organize for a nephew, requiring little more than collecting a regular paycheck for minimal work. I mean, whoever heard of traffic in space? As it turns out, space traffic is a bigger problem than most of us might realize. Ceperley likes to show people an image when he talks about what it is that he does for a living. At first glance, it looks like a picture of a virus under a microscope, a dark sphere being swarmed over by tiny green dots. In fact, it’s a visualization depicting the past 24 hours of Low Earth Orbit, complete with all the objects that are currently circling our planet. “It’s impressive in kind of a scary way,” he said.

Right this moment, there are approximately 14,000 objects larger than 10 centimeters in Low Earth Orbit. Around 1,400 of these are functioning satellites. The others are a mix of derelict satellites, old rocket bodies, and assorted pieces of space detritus that no-one has been able or willing to remove. Ten centimeters, approximately four inches, might not sound particularly large. But at the speed they’re traveling, multiple times that of a bullet fired from a rifle, it’s easy enough to cause a catastrophic collision for anything it collides with.

Keeping up with demand

LeoLabs provides a 24/7 monitoring service for what’s going on in the skies. There are two core technologies at work. The first is a growing network (currently three, with another three planned for the next two years) of ground-based radars. Based in Alaska, Texas, and New Zealand, these space surveillance radars scour the skies, singling out any object which passes overhead in Low Earth Orbit. LeoLabs’ phased array radars are capable of quickly switching from looking at one satellite to another, as frequently as every millisecond should they so wish. In an increasingly crowded sky, that’s a necessity.

Before LeoLabs came along, the only people building comparable radars were giant defense agencies or space organizations. However, Ceperley points out that, as more and more satellites are launched into orbit, the supply of these radars simply fell behind demand.

“With the amount of new traffic that’s coming online, building one new radar a decade just doesn’t keep up with everything that’s going on in space,” he said. “We’re using a different model, racing ahead as fast as we can.”

The second core technology driving LeoLabs is its software. “We have a platform which analyzes that data and sends out information in the form of alerts,” he explained. “If you need to know about your satellite, we can tell you precisely where it is, where it’s going to be in the next week, and if it’s going to face any risky situations in that time.”

Mapping the skies

Ceperley met his two LeoLabs co-founders in their previous job at SRI International, the legendary San Francisco research lab which helped spawn the first computer mouse and the Siri voice assistant. Ceperley worked there for eight years, carrying out government-funded research on how it could do a better job tracking satellites. As part of his job, he regularly heard from private companies asking for help tracking their satellites.

It wasn’t until he met with fellow SRI engineers Mike Nicolls and John Buonocore that the idea for what became LeoLabs started to develop, however.

“It turns out that [they] were working down the hall,” Ceperley recalled. “They were studying Aurora Borealis, the Northern Lights. They had spent about 20 years designing and building radars to do that. One day they called me down the hall and said, ‘We hear you need satellite data. Let us show you what we’re gathering.’”

The pair handed Ceperley an image, which looked like a window, streaked with raindrops. He asked what it was. Nicolls and Buonocore told him that each of the slashes on the image was a satellite or piece of space debris crossing the field they wanted to observe. The satellites were ruining their observations to the point that they had spent the past two years building software to recognize and digitally erase them from their data. Ceperley was astounded.

“Your trash could be someone else’s treasure,” he told them.


LeoLabs was officially formed in 2015. It was an instant success in the industry, having pulled in $17 million of investment to date. The company provides its services as a subscription model. People can pay to access its findings — and be warned when there is risk of a possible collision. (No, it’s not possible to make a satellite turn left or right to avoid collisions. But you can vary speed the way two cars might coordinate to go through an intersection.)

So far, LeoLabs has picked up clients in the defense, insurance, and regulatory fields. But its biggest new audience is private satellite owners. In recent years, this is the demographic that has exploded onto the scene, with an influx of everything from small-scale startups launching individual CubeSats to giants like SpaceX shooting veritable sky-blotting armies of satellites into orbit.

Along with its “satellite tracking as a service” business model, one of the ways LeoLabs is innovating is by finding ways to track ever-smaller objects in space. Its most recent new radar, the New Zealand-based Kiwi Space Radar, came online at the end of 2019. For the first time, it lets LeoLabs track orbiting objects as small as two centimeters in size. When you broaden the parameters by monitoring objects down to this size, the total number of orbiting objects increases from 14,000 to a massive 250,000. Even at two centimeters, these previously untracked objects are capable of shattering any satellite that they collide with.

“Once we’re tracking [that kind of] small stuff, we might see 20 near-misses per week,” Ceperley said.

There’s still work to be done. Rolling out its radar network will increase LeoLabs’ forecasting abilities. But the company also hopes to raise awareness about the issue of space traffic. Like the astronomers starting to sound the alarm about the massive numbers of satellites being launched into space, LeoLabs wants to educate the public — and lawmakers — about a field that is still in its infancy when it comes to rules and regulations.

“At the moment there really isn’t a good definition of what safety in space means,” Ceperley said. “I think a big reason for that is that there hasn’t been that much data about what is the risk situation in space. That’s fundamentally what we’ve set out to solve. With our background in radars and software, we knew we could create a large data set and data feed showing the situation in space. That can then be used to help define what is safe — and highlight what’s not.”


Hoverwatch keylogger for Android

A keylogger Android application is basically any software or program that allows you to monitor or watch the keystrokes of someone else by recording these keystrokes while they use their Android smartphones. The application then allows you access to the recorded information. Since the whole point of a keylogger Android app is to be able to monitor someone without their knowledge, keylogger applications have enhanced features that ensure that the monitoring process is carried out in a stealthy manner. We shall go into full details of the features and particularly those of the Hoverwatch keylogger for Android later on in the article.When it comes to the legality of using hacking software programs such as the keylogger Android application, such programs are for one legal to own or possess. However, when a keylogger App is used for criminal purposes such as identity theft or stealing then the use of such application is illegal and thus punishable under federal law as well as state laws. It is an offense to secretly install a keylogger on another person’s phone.Using information that has been illicitly obtained from a keylogger application is also an offense on its own. It is however important to take note that in some states the surreptitious use of keylogger apps is legal and especially so in an employer-employee relationship.About the Hoverwatch keylogger Android applicationKeylogger programs can sound so intimidating particularly because a lot of computer lingua is associated with programs of this kind. It would not therefore come as a shock to wonder whether the use of a keylogger Android application and in this case Hoverwatch, requires any special knowledge whatsoever in the installation and use of such apps.If you have a similar question or doubts as to the same then the answer is simply that no special know how or skills is required for one to install and use Hoverwatch. Hoverwatch is a completely user-friendly application and just about anyone from a guru down to a lay man can make their way through the Hoverwatch app.Navigation through the Hoverwatch application is also particularly made easier with the step by step guide on the process of installation as well as use that is available in Hoverwatch.com website.There is so much ease with how you can get data from any Android phone with Hoverwatch keylogger for Android. All you have to do after installing Hoverwatch in any phone you would like to monitor is to log in to your Hoverwatch online account.This could be from any device and the result is that you will get access to all the information that has been recorded from the phone you are monitoring. And just like that you will have all the data without breaking a sweat. Isn’t that very easy?Now that some basic information about Hoverwatch has been established it is time to get into the details of some of the features that have been integrated into the Hoverwatch keylogger application for Android . These features include:The invisibility featureThis is the most essential feature of Hoverwatch keylogger Android App. This particular feature ensures that the Hoverwatch app stays hidden so that your monitoring activities stay hidden from those being monitored. This in turn means that accurate information is obtained and especially for parental control purposes.Tracking of text messages and callsWith this feature you can track all the outgoing as well as incoming calls and text messages. It also allows you to view any images sent via MMS from your personal Hoverwatch account.Geolocation featureThe specialty of this feature is in physical tracking; that is, you can get the geographical location of the monitored Android device just from your account.SIM card replacementThe SIM replacement feature proves helpful by allowing you to still be able to monitor an Android device even after a SIM card is replaced or even removed by the user of the monitored device.Whatsapp, Facebook and viber trackingConversations held through these mobile applications including all the images, videos and audios shared are recorded and made accessible to your online account thanks to this feature.Tracking of up to five devicesAn installation of the Hoverwatch parental control gives you the opportunity to monitor a maximum of five devices.Other features of the Hoverwatch keylogger app include;Front camera photoSnapchat spyContacts trackingAndroid screenshotsTodo list trackingPhone internet history trackingSupport and pricing policy of the Hoverwatch keylogger Android applicationThe Hoverwatch support application provided for in the Hoverwatch website goes a long way in promoting the user friendliness of both the website and the app. Here is where the step by step guide on the installation process for the Hoverwatch keylogger Android app is contained.It is also at this section that any inquiries from the users can be made. Removal instructions are also contained in this section in the event someone would like to uninstall the Hoverwatch application.The pricing policy of the Hoverwatch keylogger Android application is categorized into three plans that is; the personal, business as well as professional plans. Each of these plans then has subcategories of a one month plan, three months plan and lastly a twelve months plan. It is absolutely up to each individual user to evaluate and choose a plan that best suits them.In conclusion, knowing the activities and whereabouts of our loved ones is very vital if at all we are to ensure that they are safe and protected at all times. One way of doing this is through keylogger Android applications such as Hoverwatch.Great care should however be exercised by users in terms of understanding the scope of the privacy laws in one’s state. Use of the Hoverwatch app for ulterior motives should be refrained and if not the liability of such use falls entirely on the user. If you are searching for a keylogger app for Android then you should definitely give the Hoverwatch keylogger Android application a try.

10 can’t-miss deals for the Fourth of July weekend

Believe it or not, the first half of 2020 is finally over. It’s July and we’re ready to tackle the rest of the year. It’s time for hot days and hotter deals.The 4th of July is the perfect time to save on new gadgets, gear, and gizmos. If you’re on the hunt to pick up something new for yourself, a loved one, or a friend, consider the following offers.While these deals are already worth your attention, we’re here to sweeten things up even more. For a limited time you can save an extra 15% on your purchase by entering coupon code JULYFOURTH15 at checkout on purchases of $50 or more.Jam Audio Tune In Neckband Style Bluetooth HeadphonesDon’t change the channel — Tune In’s ergonomically designed collar rests on your neck for up to 12 hours of playtime. These earphones let you play music from your device via Bluetooth technology. Use it during workouts, jogging, or commute. The neckband style makes sure that you won’t lose your earphones no matter what you do. $30MOZA Mini-Mi Wireless Charging Smartphone GimbalCapable of stabilizing your phone for stunningly smooth shots, gimbals are already pretty impressive, but the MOZA Mini-MI goes one step further. Engineered with wireless charging tech, this smartphone gimbal keeps your device energized while you record. $95VILTA-M Pro 3-Axis Handheld Smartphone Stabilizer GimbalTake your video shoots to the next level with this VILTA-M Pro 3-Axis Handheld Smartphone Stabilizer Gimbal. Made for creative, adventurous production, the VILTA-M Pro features various focus and zoom settings choices for cinematic quality footage. $119Robo 360° Rotation Smart AI Object Tracking GimbalThe Robo Smart Gimbal lets you film yourself totally hands-free. Using AI technology, Robo automatically recognizes your face and follows you wherever you go. It proceeds to intelligent shooting with infinite 360° rotation — once your face is detected, it starts taking pictures or videos automatically. $40LOFT Battery Base for Google HomeGoogle Home has great voice-controlled features and quality audio but falls short when it comes to portability, as it must remain plugged-in to work. LOFT is a portable battery base that solves this problem by making Google Home cordless, thus portable, so you can move your device from room to room with ease. $17JOT Battery Base for Google Home MiniThe JOT is a portable, battery base for your Google Home Mini designed to provide rechargeable, cord-free mobility at your fingertips. Simply nest the Google Home Mini securely into JOT to untether and enjoy cordless use anywhere in your home. $17datAshur PRO² 256-bit Encrypted USB 3.2 Flash DriveWe usually use flash drives for on-the-go storing and transferring of files whether for school, work, or business. But sometimes these very ordinary drives are prone to malware as well as easy targets to hacking. Never compromise your data again! datAshur® PRO² is a fully-encrypted flash drive that gives advanced security to your portable data. $80CleanTray UV Light Sterilization CaseLet’s face it. Your phone and other daily items are 10 times dirtier than most toilet seats…and you touch it about 47 times a day. Get rid of all the nasties with this CleanTray UV Light Sterilization Case. Using 4 UV-C LED lights, this case kills 99.99% of germs and bacteria in just 5 minutes — 2 times faster than other UV devices. $70Bluetooth Smart WatchAdd some intelligence to your everyday accessories with this sleek, modern smartwatch. Just add in your own SIM card, and this watch allows you to make phone calls, send text messages and much more right from your wrist. It’s also optimized as a fitness watch with a pedometer, calorie calculator, distance meter, and more integrated into the watch. $30BENTOSTACK POWERHUB 5000Less is more. The BentoStack PowerHub 5000 is a compact accessory organizer combining a charge cover, Type-C hub, and a storage compartment, all in one minimalistic stackable case. $100

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