UK SpaceTech firm Lunasa hires new Head of Engineering to address ‘space junk’ problem

Posted on 19 Apr 2023 by The Manufacturer

UK-based SpaceTech company expands team as it aims to build a sustainable future for the Space industry.

Lúnasa has appointed Daniel Petitfils as Head of Engineering as the business bids to accelerate the world’s transition to an affordable and sustainable in-space economy. With over 15 years of space technology development experience, Daniel will manage and accelerate the overall engineering development for the company’s upcoming technology demonstration mission and future commercial missions.

Daniel joins Lúnasa following three years as a Systems Engineer at NanoAvionics, a small satellite mission integrator focused on delivering a new generation of satellite buses and their mission services for the satellite applications market. Prior to this, he spent a combined seven years as a Lead AIT Engineer at SSTL and an AIT Electrical Engineer at Akka Technologies. Having been involved in satellite and technology developments for missions such as Galileo IOV, Lisa Pathfinder, SSTL S1-4, RemoveDEBRIS, Milspace2, and many others, Daniel brings a wealth of vital technical experience to Lúnasa as the business embarks on its next stage of growth.

Founded in 2021, Oxfordshire-based Lúnasa is developing a Reusable Satellite Servicing Vehicle to provide in-space transportation and life extension services for satellites in Earth orbits and beyond. Last year, a report from Inmarsat and AstroAnalytica found that more than 10,000 tons of satellite and rocket objects are currently orbiting Earth. Lúnasa is focused on addressing this growing problem by optimising in-space infrastructure and enabling a sustainable future where every satellite is reusable.

The company’s first generation vehicle, VIA, is a reusable, dual-stage, and automated miniature space station, offering quick and affordable satellite services in LEO. Lúnasa’s next generation reusable vehicles will be located in Geostationary Earth Orbit (GEO) and Cislunar orbits, providing a range of in-orbit services for satellites including relocation, life extension, and end-of-life services.

Daniel Petitfils, incoming Head of Engineering at Lúnasa, said: “The global space sector is growing rapidly as access to space increases, but it has a huge issue with sustainability and the satellite industry is at the heart of this problem. Lúnasa is forging an ambitious path towards a better, more sustainable future for the space industry and I’m delighted to be joining this mission.”

Amin Chabi, CEO and founder of Lúnasa, said: “We are excited to welcome Daniel to the team as we seek to transform orbital maintenance services for the space industry. Over 24,000 satellites are set to be launched this decade. However, more than 10% of these satellites need some sort of maintenance by the first operational year, and 50% by the third, resulting in major losses for constellation operators. At Lúnasa, our vision is to make sure that humanity explores and benefits from the cosmos sustainably and Daniel’s impressive experience and knowledge will be vital to achieving this goal.”

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