Loft Orbital wins U.S. Space Force agreement for edge computing in space

Loft Orbital wins U.S. Space Force agreement for edge computing in space

On 5th May, Loft Orbital announces that it won an SBIR (Small Business Innovation Research) agreement from the U.S. Space Force. This is in order to help the growth of an edge computer that can evaluate data in space.

The deal is a Phase 2 SBIR backed by the Space and Missile Systems Center. The firm will get $1.5 million to assist fund expansion of an edge computer workstation that will operate as a “brain” on Loft Orbital spacecraft.

Loft Orbital is a San Francisco-based start-up that acquires satellite buses to host payloads given by clients who pay a fee to ride to space.

The firm wants to extend edge computing aboard its satellites as an element of its service. Onboard computing permits satellites to route data they accumulate and execute independent decision-making. Along with tasks quicker than if the data was on a server on the ground.

Loft Orbital’s edge computing expertise is analogous to the “Pit Boss”. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is developing it for its Blackjack constellations for independent satellite missions.

Brian Bone, head of Loft Orbital’s administration business, says an edge computer can operate in concert with a cloud while in the link, or individually when it is not.

An illustration of an edge computer may be a solitary satellite that is playing earth observation assignments as part of a worldwide network of sensors.

As part of the agreement, Loft will create a machine learning software to independently identify and counteract cyber threats onboard the spacecraft. The deal funds a hardware-in-the-loop demo on the ground.

Bone mentions that the goal is:
  • To sell the Space Force the full “space infrastructure as a service” package
  • The firm will fly government client payloads to space aboard its satellites
  • The government would utilize the edge computing ecosystem to run applications
  • In addition to analyzing remote detecting or climate data.


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