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OroraTech launches world’s first on-orbit fire detection technology

OroraTech’s technology cuts fire detection from one and a half hours, leading to the fastest detection times in the industry at the crucial peak burn time - afternoon.

February 9, 2023 
By OroraTech



OroraTech is announcing a technological breakthrough in fire monitoring and detection. The new low-orbit fire processing technology is able to detect and send fire notification alarms to customers via the multi-satellite link within just three minutes once the satellite has passed the affected area.

The challenge today is that most wildfires happen in the afternoon, and it often takes up to one and a half hours or more for a publicly available satellite to detect the fire. But with wildfires, time is of the essence. Access to real-time data is critical. Any delay will increase the risk of a fire growing to a large size – with exponential effect on containment cost and damage. The main delay with most satellites originates in the need for a satellite to pass over a ground station to download the data. OroraTech has overcome this problem by compressing the fire information and sending it down to Earth via an inter-satellite link, avoiding the need to overpass a ground station. This technology is being developed for all eight thermal infrared cameras that will be hosted on small satellites and form the first commercial constellation in one year’s time.

“Developing solutions based on our customers’ key problems have led to this technological breakthrough. This opportunity is especially interesting for industries where real-time data is crucial. This includes wildlife conservation, commercial forestry and agriculture, but also insurance, food security or critical infrastructure monitoring”, said Thomas Grübler, CEO of OroraTech. “We will provide on-orbit detection at an unprecedented speed to our clients, with the unique satellite constellation being launched in 2024 and ready to be booked by our clients. The unique data will especially cover the peak burn period in the afternoon, where customers currently rely mostly on manual plane observations. This has propelled OroraTech to the forefront of the industry. We are the first commercially available solution that offers this technology.”

Wildfires continue to be a detrimental threat to our environment and habitat. In the U.S. alone, over 7,500,000 acres were burnt by 66,255 fires last year. As reported by the World Meteorological Organization at the World Economic Forum 2023 in Davos, the average annual global cost of wildfires is around $50 billion, which has gone up massively in the last few years. It also noted that the global wildfires released an estimated 6,450 megatons of CO2 into the atmosphere in 2021 alone and predicts that by 2050 there will be a huge increase in extreme fires globally. Additionally, fire patterns are significantly impacted by changing weather patterns due to climate change, making traditional methods of detection and understanding less effective.

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Currently, OroraTech is already offering wildfire detection from space for a range of customers on six different continents. For a yearly subscription fee, their Wildfire Solutions platform (WFS) allows customers to monitor a specific area of interest and receive updates on wildfires from more than 20 public satellites. The technology has proven to save 97 percent yearly costs on fire detection compared to airplanes. It can also help save up to one million US dollars per fire – when the fire is contained to below 50 hectares*. The technology is – among many other customers worldwide – already being used by ARAUCO, the fourth-largest pulp producer in the world. ARAUCO owns nearly 2 million ha of commercial forest across Chile, Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay, with 80 percent of the territory being monitored by OroraTech.

“Imagine having the power of an all-seeing eye from above, constantly monitoring for wildfires and providing real-time updates. With OroraTech’s on-orbit fire detection technology, that’s exactly what we are signing up for. Their thermal infrared data sets from the constellation are a game-changer for early wildfire detection. In combination with our ground cameras and manpower, we will be able to stay ahead of the fire like never before. As an early adopter of OroraTech’s satellite data, we are in a privileged position to leverage this revolutionary technology“ says German Neumann, Head of Forest Fire Protection at ARAUCO.

OroraTech is offering pre-bookings for a limited number of customers looking to secure access to the entire data insights portfolio from the satellite constellation. The next step for the Germany based company is the launch of its second thermal infrared camera into space, scheduled for June 2023, which will allow it to continue its path towards being a major player in the global earth observation industry and expand its climate solutions portfolio to other use cases.


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