SAN FRANCISCO: Sift, an El Segundo, California startup founded by former SpaceX software engineers, is focused on growth and has $7.5 million in the bank from a recent investment round.More specifically, Sift CEO Karthik Gollapudi told SpaceNews, “growing the team and growing our customer base.”
Gollapudi, the former lead for Dragon flight software, and Austin Spiegel, the former team lead for Starlink Constellation Tools, founded Sift in 2022 with the goal of creating a proprietary telemetry stack that would enhance the recording, visualisation, and interpretation of machine data. Space companies and other companies that manufacture complex machinery are potential customers.
Gollapudi stated that Sift hopes to assist clients in the future in “automating away a lot of tasks.” “We’re trying to give people the tools to help one operator manage an entire constellation,” he continued, referring specifically to clients with sizable satellite constellations.
Complex hardware and complex software are often found in spacecraft.
Spiegel, the chief technology officer of Sift, stated that verifying the software’s functionality before deploying it is a challenge.
Before software updates are applied to hardware-in-the-loop testbeds at SpaceX, they are tested in a simulated environment.
Spiegel stated, “You’re gathering telemetry and analysing the data at each step, whether it’s simulated or a hardware-in-the-loop test or a vehicle-in-the-loop test, in order to move on to the next stage.”
The Beginning Story
Following Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner’s 2019 failure to dock with the International Space Station, Gollapudi started to think about the need for better software tools. Boeing was advised to improve its handling of testing and simulation, software updates, and knowledge capture by NASA and Boeing in a joint review.
In the ensuing years, Gollapudi and Spiegel documented more instances of mishaps or issues brought on by software or procedural mistakes, such as the April software bug that kept a Japanese lander from landing on the moon.
They conducted interviews with representatives from 17 different companies to find out if these issues were common.
Gollapudi remarked, “That just strengthened our conviction that someone needed to build this.”
Earlier this year, Sift took on its first employee. At the moment, the company employs twelve people.