Strauss Center News

Updates from the Strauss Center and our affiliated distinguished scholars and fellows


Professor Jah Discusses Space Environmentalism, Debris, and His Work at Payload

Dr. Moriba Jah, Associate Professor of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics at UT Austin and the Director of the Strauss Center’s Space Security, Safety, and Sustainability Program, was recently interviewed by Payload on space environmentalism, debris, and his role at Privateer, a newly formed company that aims to be the “Waze for space.” Dr. Jah began by indicating that the lack of rigor when dealing with space uncertainty will lead to frequent false positives and ISS avoidance maneuvers. In addressing the over-congestion in space, Dr. Jah discussed his efforts to educate the general public about the detrimental consequences of inaction with space debris. He hopes that by helping people understand the problem, they will pressure elected officials to enact and enforce space laws. 

Dr. Jah listed the three requirements to achieve space sustainability: authority, resources, and ability to effect change. He said that Privateer, where he serves as Chief Scientific Adviser, is working to meet these three goals. Dr. Jah also described how Privateer aims to be the Waze for space. Similar to Waze’s feature allowing drivers to contribute information that other users can benefit from, Privateer would provide near real-time knowledge about space debris. Their goal is to tackle the problem of space junk by improving orbital mapping technologies. You can read Dr. Jah’s full interview with Payload here.