Embracing data in the space domain will deliver insights for customers at “unrivalled speed”, according to Guy Williams, head of UK defence at Palantir Technologies.
The Colorado-headquartered software company, which builds products focused on helping customers integrate, understand and interact with data, recently secured an extension to its contract with the U.S. Space Systems Command (SSC), ensuring the continuous delivery of Palantir’s data and decisions platform until March 2023.
Palantir’s presence in the space domain promises fresh opportunities for companies seeking improved awareness, command and control and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR).
“What we’re really trying to do in this space market is provide software that can deliver insights at unrivalled speed,” Williams explained.
“We’re looking at three main areas. The first one is around sort of space domain awareness, so providing customers with an understanding of what is happening above the Earth’s atmosphere.
“It’s a very congested space. And so there’s an element of space warning in there, but also understanding the proximity of other satellites, the activity of the other satellites, so at least you can have an awareness of when your assets may be at risk, or when they may need to be moved in certain directions in order to have better connectivity between each other.
“The second is space command and control, and how you actually interact with your assets in space, and control them from from the ground.
“And the third one is around space ISR – your ability to task satellites with sensors on that can provide you some sort of ISR capability on the ground.”
Improving access to and integration of data within the aerospace sector offers numerous benefits, Williams said. For commercial airlines, it can “improve the availability of the aircraft – the more aircraft you have, the more flights you can run”.
Enhanced data streams also support the cost efficiency of a carrier’s maintenance work. “Rather than it having a significant impact on revenue, by having an aircraft out for a period of time during a very busy period, you can actually perform better as a business overall, whilst also being relatively cost effective in the delivery of your maintenance around the business – rather than two elements of the business operating in silos of each other.”
Palantir might be a US-founded company but it has grown rapidly in the UK in recent years, where it now boasts its largest office.
“We’re really lucky in the UK in that we have this fantastic talent pool of engineers and data specialists,” Williams said. “Also, we also have some of the best universities, which has allowed us to develop relationships and get the best talent across all the regions of the country.
“The CEO, and all of the leadership of the company, really see the opportunity and the potential in the UK, in continuing to be a world science superpower, and we continue to invest deeply in both our own talent but also the wider talent, including across UK defence where we’ve had a long term relationship.”