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SpaceX delivers Spiral Blue nano-satellites to orbit for ‘space’ edge computing

Categories Edge Computing News  |  Edge Startups  |  Hardware

Australian company Spiral Blue announced that it has launched its Space Edge Zero Computers in the space on the board SpaceX’s Transporter-3 rideshare mission in January. The mission saw delivery of 105 small satellites into space. Spiral Blue’s computers are designed to enable processing of images from an Earth observation satellite while in orbit. The end result is the availability of more data at lower cost, and enabling applications such as plane and ship tracking and crop management for a wider audience.

The edge computer is hosted on the Polish SatRevolution’s SWIFT satellite and deployed on  D-Orbit’s orbital transfer vehicle, ION Satellite Carrier.  The mission, launched on the two-stage Falcon 9 rocket,  lifted off from Florida on January 13, 2022. With the launch, Spiral Blue plans to continue its validation of its first-generation hardware.

“This second orbital launch is no less exciting than our first,” said Spiral Blue CEO Taofiq Huq in a statement. “We intend to continue launching throughout 2022 and early 2023 as we bring our hardware and software to operational status, also known as TRL 7. This continuous space qualification program enables us to rapidly iterate on and improve our technology over time.”

As a part of the 2022 mission, Spiral Blue will be launching an upgraded version of Space Edge Zero, Space Edge-1 (SE-1),  with satellite manufacturer Satellogic as a part of the Hosted Payloads Program. After winning the joint first prize in the Waratah Seed competition, the SE-1 will be seen onboard the Waratah Seed mission.

SpaceX delivers nanosatellites

SpaceX’s Transporter-3 rideshare mission takes many payloads onboard, giving the advantage for space startups to validate copncepts such as the Spiral Blue edge computing devices and other small footprint, energy efficient products.

For example, at the Carnegie Mellon University College of Engineering,  Brandon Lucia, associate professor of electrical and computer department and a team of engineers designed the world’s first batteryless PocketQube nanosatellite. The hardware was deployed in a low-Earth orbit aboard the SpaceX Transporter-3 Rocket, also in January. The goal is to demonstrate the viability of the PocketQube-scale nanosatellite ability to operate in space without batteries, reducing the power system complexity and cost. During the mission, the satellite collected telemetry data which was processed with machine learning and AI inference.

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