LauncherOne's payload bay in orbit (Photo by Virgin Orbit)
(Sydney, NSW - 1st of July, 2021) Australian startup, Spiral Blue, has successfully launched the first prototype Space Edge Zero (SEZ) computers into orbit onboard Virgin Orbit’s air-to-space LauncherOne rocket. Launched from the Mojave Air and Spaceport in California, the rideshare mission, “Tubular Bells, Part One” has sent two of Spiral Blue’s SEZ computers aboard 2 SatRevolution satellites into a 500km altitude sun-synchronous orbit around the planet along with 7 satellites developed by the US Department of Defence, The Royal Netherlands Air Force, and Satrevolution.
This mission will provide an opportunity for Spiral Blue to perform end to end testing and space qualification of its SEZ computer, currently hosted on Polish satellite manufacturer SatRevolution's STORK-4 and STORK-5 optical satellites.
Spiral Blue’s SEZ computer will introduce in-space processing of satellite images, currently unavailable to Earth observation satellites. Traditionally, Earth observation data is downloaded into a raw format from
Earth observation satellites and must then be heavily processed on Earth into a format useful to non-technical decision makers. The SEZ ensures only the information needed by the end user is delivered, improving the efficiency of satellites, making Earth observation data more affordable and accessible.
In this mission, 5m resolution imagery captured by Satrevolution’s optical satellites will be passed onto an onboard SEZ unit, allowing the prototype computer to take in and process EO imagery in real time. Following in-orbit qualification, the SEZ will be tested in Q4 2021 and throughout 2022.
“We’re incredibly thankful to see the successful launch and deployment of the satellites carrying our Space Edge Computers,” Spiral Blue’s CEO, Taofiq Huq, said. “We are looking forward to working with SatRevolution to begin testing our hardware in orbit.”
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 Vessel Detect 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 launched its first Space Edge Zero prototype into orbit in July 2021.