A new private space company just launched. Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak along with Ripcord founder Alex Fielding just announced the debut of Privateer. Though not much has been released about the company just yet, Wozniak promised that it will be a space company "unlike the others."
What Is Privateer?
Privateer uploaded a video on YouTube on Sunday, September 12. According to the video description, "Privateer Space is working to keep space safe and accessible to all humankind." Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak and Ripcord founder Alex Fielding teamed up for this business. This is not the first time the two have joined forces, Business Insider reported. Wozniak and Fielding both co-founded Wheels of Zeus, a wireless tech licensing company.
In a Tweet the same day, Wozniak linked the YouTube video with the words: "A Private space company is starting up, unlike the others."
Though a website for Privateer is up, it is in 'stealth mode,' and it only has two pages: the home page and a contact page. On the home page, it says, "The sky is no longer the limit."
Both the YouTube video and the webpage mentioned the Advanced Maui Optical and Space Surveillance Technologies conference or AMOS in Maui, Hawaii. Privateer is expected to share more details of the company then. AMOS will run from September 14, Tuesday to September 17, Friday.
According to Gizmodo, Privateer might have plans to clean up the space junk orbiting the planet. In an August press release for an unrelated 3D titanium alloy printer, Privateer was described as a new satellite company focusing on "monitoring and cleaning up objects in space." This checks out with the vague voiceover in the YouTube video about taking care of what we have for the next generation.
In 2019, NASA called low Earth orbit the world's largest garbage dump with nearly 6,000 tons of waste, including dead satellites and launch vehicle rockets. Currently, NASA is monitoring 27,000 pieces of larger space junk, a lot of them threatening space-goers with the garbage that can hurtle up to seven times faster than a bullet. In some reports, even paint flecks can and have smashed shuttle windows during space missions.
A Private space company is starting up, unlike the others. https://t.co/6s8J32mjuF— Steve Wozniak (@stevewoz) September 13, 2021
The Future of Private Space Companies
So far, American private space companies like SpaceX, Blue Origin, and Virgin Galactica are focused on taking civilians up to space. SpaceX has its all-civilian Inspiration4 mission scheduled on September 15.
Richard Branson traveled to space in July. He was joined by two pilots as well as three mission specialists: chief astronaut instructor Beth Moses, lead operations engineer at Virgin Galactic Collin Bennett, and vice-president of government affairs and research operations at Virgin Galactic Sirisha Bandla.
Jeff Bezos flew shortly after in his New Shepard capsule, which was designed to carry six people. The crew comprised Bezos, his brother Mark, aviation pioneer and Mercury 13 veteran, Wally Funk, and the recipient of the ticket auctioned off in a previous event, Oliver Daeman, and two pilots.
So far, none of these companies focused on the debris floating in space. It would be exciting to see Privateer pave that way for future space missions.