Payload to test on-orbit EO edge computing

By on 13 January, 2022

Leaders of the five Waratah Seed WS-1 Payload Competition winners, representing Spiral Blue, EurokaPower, Sperospace, Extraterrestrial Power and Dandelion.

An experimental payload is set to test an edge-computing solution to process images aboard satellites to enable close-to-real-time applications for Earth observation data.

Known as SpiralBlue, it is one of five experiments selected to be carried aboard the ‘Waratah Seed’ CubeSat mission.

The five winners of the Waratah Seed WS-1 Payload Competition were announced at an Awards event at the National Space Industry Hub in Sydney in December.

Also known as the NSW Space Qualification Mission, Waratah Seed is led by the Australian Research Centre (ARC) for Cubesats, Uncrewed Aerial Vehicles and their Applications (CUAVA). It aims to make entering the space industry accessible and affordable for entrepreneurs and start-ups.

Spiral Blue CEO Taofiq Huq said the project’s team members are excited to have been selected to ride on Waratah Seed.

“Once our technology is proven in space, we look forward to supporting national and commercial missions in areas as diverse as fighting bushfires, improving agricultural yields, and keeping watch over our borders,” Mr Huq said.

Waratah Seed Director, Professor Iver Cairns, said the mission represents a bold new approach to develop the space industry in NSW.

“The Waratah Seed mission will create jobs and drive development of space-ready technology, services and people for our space sector. CUAVA and its partners are ready for the challenge of delivering the first Australian ride-share,” Professor Cairns said.

Investment NSW CEO, Amy Brown, said the five winners will receive significant support for a ride to space to test and prove components of their products.

“Waratah Seed is a NSW Government funded satellite that will make product testing more accessible and affordable, quite literally taking space-related research and development to a new frontier,” Ms Brown said.

“Supporting space start-ups to get their products market-ready not only helps build a thriving future industry in NSW, but also equips us with innovative new technologies to monitor carbon emissions, manage natural resources, support disaster response efforts and provide critical earth observation data to tackle problems here on earth.”

The other four participants in the Waratah Seed mission are:

  • Dandelions, led by Brian Lim, will launch new structural materials such as hemp into space to test their effectiveness in a space environment;
  • Euroka Power, led by Anita Ho-Baillie, will test highly efficient and radiation-tolerant next generation solar cell technology;
  • ExtraTerrestrial Power, led by Peter Toth, will test cells based on terrestrial silicon technologies;
  • Spero Space, led by Bohan Deng, will launch a robotic arm designed to be used to upgrade or repair satellites in-orbit.

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