Loft Orbital is working to develop a processor that can provide on-board Edge computing capabilities to military satellites in orbit.
The California-based company has been awarded a Phase II Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contract by the Space Force’s AFWERX program. The contract will provide funding to support development of a ‘high-performance, reprogrammable onboard Edge computing environment.’
The onboard processor Loft Orbital is working on will support customer and third party “massless payloads” onboard; providing an environment to host applications for applications requiring Edge computing such as sensor data processing, mission autonomy, satellite self-protection, telemetry data processing. The company is also working to develop a machine learning software package to autonomously detect, identify and mitigate cyber threats onboard the spacecraft.
“This space Edge processor allows individual satellites to act as computing nodes within a mesh-connected network of other satellites, ground stations, and cloud data centers, yet capable of advanced processing in isolation in denied or congested communications environments,” the company said.
“There is an unprecedented convergence occurring between commercial and government space infrastructure,” said Andrew Berg, Loft Orbital’s VP of business development. “This commercially-derived enhanced capability will offer a leap ahead in the pursuit of seamless Joint All-Domain Command and Control in support of national security space objectives.”
According to SpaceNews, the company will receive $750,000 in government funding and $750,000 in matching private funds for a total of $1.5 million.
Loft Orbital was previously awarded an AFWERX SBIR Phase I contract. Phase II will allow Loft Orbital to enhance its processors based on US Space Force feedback.