RUAG Space enters AI partnership for satellite supercomputer

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TAMPA, Fla. — Switzerland’s RUAG Space said Jan. 24 it is teaming up with a software provider to run artificial intelligence solutions on its Lynx, which it says is the most powerful commercially available onboard satellite computer.

Sweden-based Stream Analyze will provide its sa.engine analytics platform under the partnership for Lynx, which RUAG Space expects to qualify through ground-based tests this year.

Anders Linder, head of RUAG Space’s global satellite business, said in an email that Lynx is “250 times more powerful than normal On Board Computers,” including those the company currently delivers for European Space Agency programs.

We have a heritage of 300 successful onboard computers for various institutional and commercial satellites,” Linder added.

In the last few months the first boards of Lynx Single Board Computer have been sold to different space customers in Europe and Asia. In addition we are in discussion with several more potential buyers.”

He said demand is high — even though he expects Lynx will get flight heritage “within a few years later, around 2025” — because of a growing need to transfer more computing power from servers on the ground to the space segment.

This improves satellite response times and helps their operators optimize network resources and manage increasingly congested orbits. 

Giving satellites more computing power also enables more powerful artificial intelligence solutions, Linders noted.

Instead of just sending raw data to operational teams on the ground, a “smarter” satellite could automatically inform them of an expectation that it will need to use 20% more energy than usual in the coming week.

Time and costs could also be saved with more advanced artificial intelligence solutions by removing the need to finalize algorithms and a satellite’s capabilities before launch, according to Stream Analyze CEO Jan Nilsson.

“You can literally develop and deploy as you go – changing the model development process and the satellite operations fundamentally – generating a better, more adaptable, and cheaper operation,” Nilsson said in a statement.

RUAG Space is the first company in the space industry to cooperate with Stream Analyze. While the Swiss company expects sa.engine will gain flight heritage on a Lynx computer, their partnership is not exclusive.