Skip to main content
Newsletter Sign up newsletter signup

Ground-breaking micro space junk mapping company joins Leicester European Space Agency programme

ODIN Sensor 2

A pioneering company working on a system set to save the space industry billions annually by preventing ‘space bullets’ from destroying satellites is the latest company to benefit from the technical expertise and facilities at Space Park Leicester.  

An impact with debris the size of a grain of sand has the same energy as a bullet and can destroy a satellite instantly, but until now no technology has been able to mitigate this threat.

ODIN Space has developed a way to map space debris smaller than a centimetre, becoming the first business focused on delivering data on sub-centimetre debris to protect satellites and drive growth across the industry.

It is launching a network of sensors hosted on third-party satellites that constantly sample space junk quantifying how much debris is in orbit, and measure its size, speed and trajectory – enabling risks to be managed proactively.

The company has become the latest organisation to join the European Space Agency’s Business Incubation Centre for the United Kingdom (ESA BIC UK) programme at Space Park Leicester. 

ESA BIC will provide financial support and expertise to accelerate the development of ODIN’s technology and commercial offering. During the incubation period, ODIN aims to launch its first IOD (In-Orbit Demonstration) and launch the first-generation sensors in the ODIN network.

Dr James New, CEO and co-founder of ODIN Space, said; “ESA BIC brings unique technical and expert support that will accelerate the important work we’re doing at ODIN Space. We chose to join Space Park Leicester as they’re at the forefront of space technology in the UK, with a host of state-of-the-art facilities and technical expertise on-site.”

Orbital debris represents a significant risk to businesses operating in space, but currently only larger space junk can be tracked. Debris larger than 10cm in size is tracked and can be avoided, with plans to track debris as small as 1cm. The ODIN system caters for debris smaller than a centimetre, by far the most abundant.

Debris collisions are forecast to cost the industry $2 billion annually by 2030. More than 99 per cent of debris is so small that it is invisible to existing tracking technology, making sub-centimetre debris the single greatest threat to satellites. ODIN Space was founded to fill this critical gap in the space debris ecosystem. 

In September, Kita, the carbon insurer for the climate crisis, became the third company to join ESA BIC UK programme at the £100 million Midlands-based research hub. Since 2010, more than 100 start-ups have joined the ESA BIC programme, which operates at four different locations across the UK.

The ESA BIC UK is managed and partly funded by the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), in collaboration with ESA Space Solutions, the UK Space Agency and the University of Leicester.

It provides start-ups with a carefully designed two-year support package to help them through the development of their game-changing products and services in an increasingly competitive and global marketplace.

William Wells, Director of ESA BIC UK at Leicester, said: “We are proud to be supporting pioneering companies such as ODIN Space through the ESA BIC programme. ODIN Space has identified a real niche and with their expertise and technology, the company has the potential be a genuine game-changer in the space industry.”

The deadline for the next round of applications for the ESA BIC programme at Space Park Leicester is on Monday, 6 March. Anyone interested should email:

Space Park Leicester has been designed to support increased collaboration between University of Leicester researchers and educators and the private sector, creating high quality knowledge-based jobs, building the skills base through training, and contributing to economic growth and resilience of the economy.