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Lockheed Martin’s First Smart Satellites Are Tiny With Big Missions

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Lockheed Martin’s nanosatellite bus, the LM 50, will host the primary SmartSat-enabled missions set for supply this yr. Picture Credit score: Lockheed Martin

March 24, 2019 – Lockheed Martin introduced a brand new technology of house know-how launching this yr that can permit satellites to vary their missions in orbit. Satellites that launched one, ten and even fifteen years in the past largely have the identical functionality they’d once they lifted off. That’s altering with new structure that can let customers add functionality and assign new missions with a software program push, similar to including an app on a smartphone. This new tech, referred to as SmartSat, is a software-defined satellite tv for pc structure that can enhance functionality for payloads on a number of pioneering nanosats prepared for launch this yr.

“Think about a brand new sort of satellite tv for pc that acts extra like a smartphone. Add a SmartSat app to your satellite tv for pc in-orbit, and also you’ve modified the mission,” mentioned Rick Ambrose, government vice chairman of Lockheed Martin Area. “We’re the primary to deploy this groundbreaking know-how on a number of missions. SmartSat will give our clients unparalleled resiliency and adaptability for altering mission wants and know-how, and it unlocks even higher processing energy in house.”

This yr Lockheed Martin is integrating SmartSat know-how on ten
applications and counting, together with the Linus and Pony Specific nanosats,
which would be the first to launch. These are rapid-prototype, testbed
satellites utilizing inner analysis and improvement funding, prepared for
2019 launches on the primary LM 50 nanosatellite buses:

  • The Linus venture delivers two 12U cubesats
    performing a know-how demonstration mission, validating SmartSat
    capabilities in addition to 3D-printed spacecraft elements.
  • Pony
    Specific builds a number of 6U satellites destined for a low earth orbit and
    will house qualify state-of-the-art networking applied sciences. Pony
    Specific 1 is a pathfinder for a software-defined payload that can check
    cloud computing infrastructure and was developed in 9 months.
    Comply with-on Pony Specific missions will show out RF-enabled swarming
    formations and space-to-space networking.

“SmartSat is a
main step ahead in our journey to fully remodel the best way we
design, construct and ship satellites,” mentioned Ambrose. “The LM 50 bus is
the proper platform for testing this new, groundbreaking know-how.
We’re self-funding these missions to reveal a variety of new
capabilities that may plug into any satellite tv for pc in our fleet, from the LM
50 nanosat to our flagship LM 2100. And the identical know-how not solely
plugs into floor stations, enhancing space-ground integration, it can
in the future join instantly with planes, ships and floor autos,
connecting front-line customers to the facility of house like by no means earlier than.”

Cyber safety is on the core of this new know-how.
SmartSat-enabled satellites can reset themselves quicker, diagnose points
with higher precision and again one another up when wanted,
considerably enhancing resiliency. Satellites may higher detect
and defend in opposition to cyber threats autonomously, and on-board cyber
defenses might be up to date recurrently to deal with new threats.

SmartSat makes use of a hypervisor to securely containerize digital machines.
It’s a know-how that lets a single pc function a number of servers
just about to maximise reminiscence, on-board processing and community bandwidth.
It takes benefit of multi-core processing, one thing new to house.
That lets satellites course of extra information in orbit to allow them to beam down
simply essentially the most essential and related data—saving bandwidth prices
and decreasing the burden on floor station analysts, and in the end
opening the door for tomorrow’s information facilities in house.

SmartSat makes use of a high-power, radiation-hardened pc developed by
the Nationwide Science Basis’s Heart for Area, Excessive-performance,
and Resilient Computing, or SHREC. Lockheed Martin helps fund SHREC
analysis, and in flip good points entry to world-class applied sciences and
scholar researchers.


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