© Ororatech

Ororatech: Satellites for Forest Fire Monitoring

Ororatech, a spin-off of the Chair of Astronautics at the TUM, plans to detect and observe forest fires with its combination of satellites and infrared sensors.

1. Who are you and what do you do?

Ororatech is developing a constellation of nanosatellites with infrared sensors that can detect and monitor forest fires from the Earth’s orbit. Our data can also be used to study climate change and optimize weather forecasts. We are a spin-off from the Chair of Astronautics at the Technical University of Munich, founded by four passionate entrepreneurs.

  • Thomas Grübler, 27, Electrical Engineering
  • Björn Stoffers, 34, Economics
  • Florian Mauracher, 28, Computer Science
  • Rupert Amann, 25, Electrical Engineering

100 small satellites

2. But that’s nothing out of the box!

Satellites? Correct. Infrared sensors? Of course. What makes us different is the combination of small, very cost-effective satellites in large numbers (100). They are able to cover every point of the Earth every thirty minutes at the latest, in different orbits and at low altitudes. This creates an up-to-the-minute data set featuring a high resolution in the infrared spectrum that is one of a kind in the world.

3. What has been your biggest challenge so far?

The beginning! Building satellites costs a lot of money and is only feasible with funding and private investors who truly believe in us. Before founding the company, we spent one and a half years working on the project in our free time while also working and studying. That’s probably how it is for most founders; free time usually becomes a rare thing in the early years in particular. Weekend and night shifts can sometimes really put you on the edge. That’s why we’re so proud to have managed it.

The Ororatech team is growing

4. Now let’s get down to the nitty-gritty: How is business going?

Marvelous! Within ten months, we’ve grown into an international team of more than twenty astronautic enthusiasts and are currently developing our prototypes to launch into space in 2020. We’ll only start generating revenue when several satellites are in space, but we’re in a very good position thanks to fantastic support from DLR and ESA, the TUM and our investors. The demand from pilot customers is huge. We hear “When can we have your data?” very often.

5. What does Munich mean to you?

Munich manages to optimally combine its young, international flair with high caliber research. The city is a magnet for talented developers and engineers. Of course we also still go the Oktoberfest every year and many of us go on bike tours or hiking to enjoy the Alpine panorama. Munich is simply a great place to work and relax.

6. How will your startup become the next unicorn? Or will we be seeing you at an Epic Fail Night soon?

Making a presentation at an Epic Fail Night has always been a major dream. But it unfortunately looks like we’ll be more of a unicorn at this point.

7. FC Bayern Munich or TSV 1860 Munich?

A short survey in the office resulted in 50/50. But one colleague did yell out “Unterhaching”!