The Kraków firm and its network of observatories protecting planet Earth from asteroids
Sharing our solar system with billions of asteroids and comets, a Polish firm is keeping its eyes on the skies in case any of them start heading towards Earth.
Founded in 2016, the Kraków company called 6Roads now has nine observatories on six continents and is currently constructing another in Australia.
Medical doctor and co-founder Michał Żołnowski told TFN: “More than 800,000 debris have been detected in space.
“While many of them get burned, the majority remain a threat.
“We want to be a tool to improving our planet's defence mechanisms, to futuristically avoid such catastrophies like 67 million years ago when one meteorite wiped out the dinosaurs."
Included among their clients are the biggest national and international space agencies in the world, such as NASA, ESA, CNES and POLSA, but it is the private space industry sector that generates the company's six to seven figure revenues.
Michał said that private owners of satellites "can save millions of euros by not having to send a fuel powered rocket to investigate each time an object is spotted.
For Michał and business partner Marcin Gędek, their mission to save the planet from asteroids began in 2012.
Meeting online while trying to sell and buy some of their personal semi-professional tools for watching the sky, their shared passion for astrology and astrophotography instantly connected them.
Already having their own private observatories, Michal's in the hills of Northern Italy and in the backyard of his house in Kraków, and Marcin's in his backyard in Oborniki and another in Spain, just two years later they started to build a joint observatory in Chile.
In 2015, from their ‘Polonia’ observatory in Chile they found a comet which they also named 'Polonia' and the discovery won them the most prestigious prize for amateur space explorers, the Edgar Wilson Prize.
Their lifelong passion became a business opportunity when they found that planetary defence was still a niche area in the emerging space market.
Today, their network of observatories provides “complete sky coverage” with Space Situational Awareness of the space environment, including location and function of space objects and space weather phenomena.
Listed on the Polish Space Agency’s website, their firm is recognized for their core features like Services & applications based on data from navigation satellites, or Services & applications based on satellites telecommunication.
Although Michał and Marcin mainly work remotely, thanks to their original software supported by Elon Musk's Starlink, they have nine professionals who are mainly astronomy students who develop their practical knowledge through the lenses of telescopes.
Their mission of defending the planet is based on reporting and keeping an eye on the objects in orbit so if necessary the relevant authorities can be alerted and take action.