Kayhan Space: Making Spaceflight Safer
Powered by machine learning, the company’s Pathfinder platform helps satellite operators better avoid other satellites and space debris
Alumni Ventures portfolio company Kayhan Space provides scalable, cloud-based collision-avoidance services for operators of satellite constellations who need complete situational awareness of their fleet. The company’s Pathfinder platform uses machine learning to help commercial and governmental satellite operators avoid nearby satellites, space debris and other potential risks.
Making Spaceflight Safer
While the public and private sectors have made significant advances in aerospace technology, growing satellite activity has also increased the potential for accidents in low-Earth orbit (LEO). Satellite collisions with orbital debris could cause as much as $103 million in damage annually. This is projected to become a more prevalent issue, as commercial and government operators could manage 100,000 active satellites in LEO within the next decade.
TechCrunch “Startup Battlefield” — Kayhan Space
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Kayhan’s Pathfinder platform leverages machine learning models to analyze massive amounts of observation and telemetry data from operators of large satellite constellations to provide satellite relative positioning, communication, and end-of-life management. Pathfinder recognizes the unique patterns of satellites and spatial debris to automatically adjust course based on input objects, trajectories, resistance factors, and obstacles.
Kayhan integrates spaceflight operations tools to provide a fully scalable, cloud-based collision avoidance service and deliver intuitive close approach insights to satellite operators, enabling clear and actionable avoidance recommendations. Kayhan delivers services to 700+ satellites across 22 operators, both governmental and commercial.
What We Liked About This Deal
Technical FoundersCEO Siamak Hesar is an expert in astrodynamics and has supported several NASA missions in his career. He was most recently Chief Scientist at SpaceNav, leading projects focused on spaceflight operations and collision risk assessment. Hesar’s background is complemented by CTO Araz Feyzi’s expertise in automation. Feyzi also brings software startup experience; he was an early employee at Duetto (B2B SaaS) and co-founded Syfer (cybersecurity), where he served as CEO.
Massive, Growing MarketThe Space Foundation reported that the global space ecosystem grew 91% over the past decade, reaching $546 billion in 2022. Based on “conservative modeling,” the organization projects that the market will hit $800 billion in the next five years.*
Established Lead InvestorsSpace Capital was founded by Chad Anderson, described by TechCrunch as “among the best-positioned people on either the investment or the operator side to weigh in on the current and future state of the space startup industry.” The firm co-led Kayhan’s seed extension alongside Eve Atlas, a seasoned deep tech investor with unique experience in Department of Defense agency grantmaking.**
*Space Foundation Editorial Team, “Space Foundation Releases the Space Report 2023 Q2, Showing Annual Growth of Global Space Economy to $546B,” July 25, 2023
**Darrell Etherington, “Space Angels’ Chad Anderson on Entering a New Decade in the ‘Entrepreneurial Space Age’,” TechCrunch, January 16, 2020
How We’re Involved
Castor Ventures (for the MIT community) sponsored our investment in Kayhan Space’s $7 million seed extension led by Space Capital and Eve Atlas, with participation from Overline, Initialized Capital Management, and Dylan Taylor (Co-Founder and CEO of Voyager Space). AV’s Deep Tech Fund and Total Access Fund also participated in the round. Kayhan will use the capital to expand its staff, establish an office in Washington, D.C., and offer new products and services.
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