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Munich-based New Space start-up impresses top-class jury and wins Spark award

Severe weather conditions are becoming more frequent worldwide and the risk of forest fires is growing rapidly, with extended droughts and winds often causing fires to spiral out of control. In addition, forest and bush fires not only destroy vegetation, they also fuel climate change.

Founded in Munich in 2018, OroraTech is tackling climate change with thermal-infrared data from space. It is the first start-up that brought satellite data into a service for global wildfire detection and monitoring. “If we want to fight forest and bush fires, stop illegal slash-and-burn activity and thus reduce CO2 emissions, we need a global early warning system,” says Thomas Grübler, co-founder and CEO of OroraTech.

In large forested areas like Canada, it can take several hours or even days before a fire source is identified and reported by ground-based fire watch crews, air patrols or random citizens. Today, OroraTech’s service is protecting over 120 million ha of forest worldwide. Beyond that, OroraTech is developing a fleet of nano-satellites, which use thermal-infrared cameras to improve the detection of temperature anomalies at high temporal and spatial resolutions.

For this effort in protecting people, environment and climate, the start-up is this year’s winner of “The Spark – Der Deutsche Digitalpreis” (German Digital Award), which is awarded by the renowned economic daily newspaper Handelsblatt and management consultancy McKinsey. The award honors exceptional and innovative start-ups whose ideas have the potential to fundamentally change markets in a lasting way.

Find out more here.