(Sydney, NSW - 1st of June, 2021) Australian startup, Spiral Blue, has announced that it has signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) with Florida based reusable satellite provider, Modularity Space. The partnership will allow Spiral Blue to fly its Space Edge 1 (SE-1) prototype computer onboard a Modularity Space CUBIC 16 satellite for a March 2022 launch. This launch will be a testbed for Modularity’s planned constellation of 150 reusable satellites.
The Spiral Blue SE-1 is a prototype computer designed to be an onboard satellite computer enabling in-space processing of satellite images. It is an upgrade of Spiral Blue’s existing Space Edge Zero computer, which is set to be tested in space later this year. The SE-1 uses the NVIDIA Jetson Xavier NX, which carries far greater processing power and storage than the NVIDIA Jetson Nano that powers the Space Edge Zero. This mission with Modularity Space will be part of Spiral Blue’s end-to-end testing and space qualification campaign for the SE-1.
Modularity Space was founded to create reusable, low-cost space systems for the growing space industry. The company's solutions include a suite of modular, reusable, and on-orbit serviceable satellite systems that are rapidly manufactured at a fraction of the costs of current systems. Reducing the time and cost of a spacecraft while enabling mission flexibility is the key to the future of rapid space access. In addition, Modularity Space offers a novel rent a satellite service, combined with their turn-key mission services for global customers such as Spiral Blue, to ease the cost and resource burden of complex space missions, so they can focus on their payload and their mission. The company plans to field a constellation of 150 modular, reusable, and on-orbit serviceable satellites where customers can rent and host their technology.
“Modularity Space’s capability is game changing,” Spiral Blue’s CEO, Taofiq Huq, said. “Having an upgradable satellite means we can keep sending up new Space Edge Computers and keep up with Moore’s law. If something breaks, we can just go fix it. Their innovative reusable satellite rental model enables us to reduce our upfront costs by as much as 80% and cut our schedule in half, so we can reinvest that capital and resources into more sensors and capabilities. And of course, having the opportunity to fly aboard the next-generation Modularity Space constellation is exciting as well, in terms of scaling our service offering.
“This will also be the first US company we’re working directly with. The United States remains by far the largest market for space and Earth observation, and we’re excited to work with Modularity to explore how we can better tap into this market.”
Spiral Blue was recently a recipient of the Australian Space Agency’s Moon to Mars Supply Chain Capability Improvement Grant, a grant which supports the Australian space industry to build capacity to deliver products and services into domestic and/or international space industry supply chains that could support Moon to Mars activities. This grant is supporting the development of Spiral Blue’s Space Edge Services platform. The company is also developing its Vessel Detect maritime surveillance algorithm under a Defence Innovation Hub contract.
About Spiral Blue
Spiral Blue is a Sydney SME focused on building 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 is on track for its first Space Edge Zero prototype to be launched to orbit in June 2021.