Updated: Mar 1
Herndon, Va. – June 2, 2020 – The Center for Innovative Technology (CIT) today announced that CIT GAP Funds has invested in Alexandria, Va.-based Scout Inc., formerly Eighth Continent Technologies. Scout, provider of non-invasive risk assessments and mitigation services to reduce failures in spaceflight environments, conducts on-site inspections of space assets using small, inexpensive satellites, producing data that saves customers hundreds of millions of dollars. CIT GAP Funds’ investment will help Scout build prototypes, expand the team with critical expertise, and enable growth of industry and government customer acquisition.
Up to 50% of spacecraft failures in today’s $130 billion geostationary satellite market have unknown causes, leading to space debris and the loss of satellites worth more than $300 million each. In recent years, these failures have caused personnel lay-offs, billions in losses by operators and manufacturers, and lower insurers’ risk tolerance. To fundamentally change the spaceflight risk environment, Scout enables operations where spacecraft detect, identify and refine models for observed objects to gather deeper insight and enable autonomous operations. Scout’s software helps “Spacecraft Observe and Understand Things” around them (SCOUT).
“Satellites can have technical issues at any time, which can lead to catastrophic failures. However, when this happens, satellites cannot be easily replaced or serviced 35,000km from the ground. Our team recognized that the industry needed better in-orbit risk assessment and mitigation solutions,” said Eric Ingram, CEO of Scout. “Scout is building the first in-space observation service for high-value space infrastructure and assets. We thank CIT for their support, which will allow us to expand our team with key hires and mature our technology suite.”
Scout’s observation, cataloging, and comprehension capabilities allow for several data products designed for specific customer uses. The company’s inexpensive and maneuverable SCOUT-Sats, small satellites built for rendezvous and proximity ops (RPO) and inspections, are designed to conduct scheduled or on-demand health inspections for larger, more expensive satellites. The satellites are stationed in orbit to conduct observations as a service, and conduct 360-degree, rapid-response visualizations of anomalies and degradation surveys. Scout’s inspections produce extremely valuable and actionable diagnostic health data on high-value space assets at low costs.
“It’s easy for everyday people to take satellites for granted and overlook the role they play in society, such as the many forms of communication we rely on every day. Scout’s mission to build a service to better understand, and help avert, spaceflight failures will have a significant effect on extending the lifetime of satellites,” said Marco Rubin, Senior Investment Director at CIT GAP Funds. “Scout’s experienced leadership team is uniquely qualified to address the market challenge of catastrophic failures in satellites. CIT looks forward to being part of Scout’s journey as they continue to develop and bring their products to market.”