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BRINGING AI TO THE SEARCH FOR EXTRATERRESTRIAL LIFE

Updated: Jan 4

[Sydney, August 1st 2023] – Spiral Blue, a Sydney based space technology company, is excited to announce its partnership with the University of Sydney for the ground-breaking TOLIMAN Space Telescope Mission. This collaboration combines Spiral Blue's cutting-edge Artificial Intelligence (AI) expertise, enabled by their Space Edge Computers, with the University of Sydney's pioneering research in astronomy and exoplanet detection.


TOLIMAN is Australia’s largest space-based observatory and is now under construction. The payload is a 12.5cm space telescope that will be carried by a 16U CubeSat bus in 550km sun-synchronous orbit and is scheduled to launch in 2024. The mission aims to detect potentially habitable worlds in our near solar neighbourhood, the Alpha Centauri system. Following the success of a Sydney designed experiment operating on similar principles aboard NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope, the mission has garnered significant attention globally.


A simulated view of the Alpha Centauri binary through the diffractive pupil proposed for the TOLIMAN telescope. (Source: Peter Tuthill)

The successful launch of Spiral Blue's latest computer in space, Space Edge One (SE-1), marked a historic milestone as it became the first Australian company to operate an edge computer in orbit. Spiral Blue recently published results of an AI application, Cloud Detect, from space aboard SE-1, the most powerful computer in space outside of a space station, processing satellite images at revolutionary speeds. Equipped with advanced AI capabilities, Spiral Blue’s world-leading Space Edge Computing technology enables real-time data processing and analysis in the challenging space environment.


Spiral Blue’s history-making Space Edge One computer

The TOLIMAN space telescope is a low-cost, agile mission concept primarily funded by the Breakthrough Watch program. The partnership between the University of Sydney and Spiral Blue has recently been awarded the SmartSat NSW Node demonstrator grant for Revolutionalising Commercial Space Computing Leveraging the Toliman Space Telescope Mission. Through this partnership, Spiral Blue will provide its Space Edge Computers and AI technologies to enhance the data processing capabilities of the Toliman Space Telescope. This will allow the University of Sydney's scientists to efficiently analyse the images captured by the telescope in orbit and perform data reduction before downlink.


Pete Worden (Executive Director - Breakthrough Initiatives) ,Peter Tuthill (Lead Researcher - University of Sydney) and James Buttenshaw (CTO - Spiral Blue)

"We are proud to partner with the University of Sydney for the Toliman Space Telescope Mission," said Taofiq Huq, CEO of Spiral Blue. "Our advanced AI-enabled Space Edge Computers will revolutionise the way we process and analyse space data, pushing the boundaries of scientific discovery. Together with the University's expertise in exoplanet research, we aim to unlock the secrets of potentially habitable worlds beyond our solar system."

Professor Peter Tuthill, the lead researcher at the University of Sydney, expressed his enthusiasm for the collaboration, stating, “Using AI to process data coming from the Centauri star system will help open a window onto the nearby Universe as we search for habitable planets.” This partnership between Spiral Blue and the University of Sydney exemplifies the spirit of collaboration driving the future of space exploration. By combining resources, expertise, and emerging technologies, both organisations aim to make breakthrough discoveries and expand our understanding of the universe.

Spiral Blue media contact

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About Spiral Blue

Spiral Blue is enabling the next generation of Earth observation services with artificial intelligence and Space Edge Computing. Spiral Blue technology has applications in defence, city planning, utilities, and other industries. Founded in 2018, the company has recently launched its second generation of Space Edge Computer to orbit, the first Space Edge One, which is now beginning on board application testing for customers.

About the University of Sydney

The University of Sydney is Australia’s first university. It is among the top 20 of the world’s research and teaching institutions, according to the QS World University Rankings.

The Sydney Institute for Astronomy at the University is a national and international leader in astronomy and astrophysics. Through the application of world-class theoretical and observational research and the use of new and emerging technology, the Sydney Institute for Astronomy is committed to being a research leader and to excellence in post-graduate training and research-led undergraduate education.

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