Data science company RS21 aims to bring AI / ML technology into space
RS21 is a data science company focused on the space sector to improve predictive maintenance and remote monitoring of satellite systems and networks. RS21 was recognized for its autonomous satellite and spacecraft technology solution that uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to predict errors before they occur.
The company is recently the Center for the exchange and analysis of space information (Space ISAC) and last year won the 2020 AFRL Hyperspace Challenge, a business accelerator of the Air Force research laboratory.
RS21’s chief technology officer, Kameron Baumgardner, believes AI / ML technologies can make a huge difference in the satellite sector, he said Via satellite.
“AI / ML is evolving so quickly that the possibilities are numerous and growing every day,” he said. “Satellites face some of the harshest conditions of any man-made device, while also supporting the infrastructure that is fundamental to our modern lifestyles. Guidance / positioning / timing, communication, images and weather forecast are all based on complex satellite equipment that races around the earth despite radiation, rubble and hundreds of kilometers per hour. “
The company is developing the Space Prognostic AI Custodian Ecosystem (SPAICE), an autonomous solution for error detection and prediction. In 2021, AFRL RS21 awarded a Direct to Phase II Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contract valued at $ 750,000 to develop SPAICE. Baumgardner said the company is in discussions with many other government agencies, departments and commercial manufacturers and plans to pursue a Phase 2 SBIR extension. Baumgardner assumes that SPAICE will be ready for the commercial rollout in the next two to three years.
Baumgardner said the company is excited about the potential of integrating with operations centers from Space power, air force, and the National Awareness Bureau, and others to help analyze the data received. In the long term, however, he believes the US government will be one of RS21’s smaller customer segments for SPAICE.
The company assumes that at some point SPAICE will be sold to manufacturers and packaged on hardened modules that are in orbit on the platform itself.
“The technology will enable data-driven predictions in real time without having to wait for human interpretations, which is particularly important when satellite communication with ground stations is rare. For this application, our customers will be satellite manufacturers themselves who can market the ability as a difference in their response to state tenders, ”he said.
Baumgardner believes predictive maintenance and SPAICE as an extension can have a significant impact and open doors to new opportunities for the satellite industry.
“There are benefits in knowing when and how a platform may experience an adverse event or degradation, resulting in increased mission performance and significant financial savings. We also see that satellite technology leads to a whole range of possibilities for autonomous decision-making as soon as we can provide these models with hardened components on the platform. “
RS21 also provides data solutions for healthcare, research, and state and local governments, but space has become one of its top priorities.
“The response we received after SPAICE won the US AFRL Hyperspace Challenge Accelerator 2020 was, to be honest, overwhelming, and we look forward to continuing our work. SPAICE has a very well-defined problem that it addresses in a market where our research shows there is little commercial competition, and some of the intellectual property rights that we have sideways applied to our other markets, such as healthcare, really help us overcome some of the traditional barriers that these types of techniques face, ”said Baumgardner.
Baumgardner sees a burgeoning relationship between data science and the satellite industry.
“We are aware of some very inspiring work and cutting edge research in both academic and commercial fields, but from our previous involvement in the industry we have seen that data science and AI have not really saturated the world of problematic space. This is encouraging for companies like RS21 because there are still many low hanging fruit problems as well as the predictive maintenance problem that SPAICE addresses, which gives us real opportunities to scale and expand our impact, ”said he.