An Article on Software-Defined Satellite Technology

A company called Hypergiant Technologies is developing (broadly) the same technology as we do. They have recently won a contract with US Air Force. Given below are the excerpts from the following article:

…We’re putting up satellites that work together in a constellation. There will eventually be 24 to 30 satellites. One is about the size of two loaves of bread. Those satellites are going to work together to achieve three phases:

The first is to prove out this idea of continuous update ability. Instead of a satellite being updated once a quarter or twice a year with big potential operational risk in terms of building out the updates, we’re using a secure and accredited system. If you need to roll out an update, you can and won’t destroy the base asset. If you have a secure and accredited containerized software environment, you can push changes on the fly. We’re looking at making software updates for satellites in minutes, not months.

Phase two is ultimately being able to have a network of these computers in space so we are doing real-time processing of data in space. Satellites won’t have to collect data and send it back down to Earth, analyze it on Earth, and then get it back up to the satellite. Satellites can connect to this network, download the data, process various machine learning applications on the constellation and then push the action back to the satellite. It shortens the time to action, which is really important, especially in warfare.

The third big use is the ability to rapidly update the software. You can actually push software updates to the satellite and change the function of the satellite in real-time. The opportunities for the use cases for that constellation are near endless.

We build a platform specifically for satellite operations management. After you get assets in space, you operate them. Typically, one person can operate three to five satellites. Our platform allows one satellite operator to maintain 75 to 100 satellites. You can operate it from an iPhone or an iPad.”