Nebula, an innovative In-Orbit Cloud Computing and Storage Platform, is successfully demonstrated in space

The hardware-software environment, developed by D-Orbit in collaboration with Unibap, will enable satellite operators to run artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms (AI / ML) apps and deliver low-latency information products

HARWELL, UK, 11 October 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) – Space transport and logistics D-lane has successfully completed orbital testing of Nebula, a cloud platform designed to deliver distributed high-performance data analysis computers and storage capabilities in space. Nebula is a hardware-software environment that enables end users to uplink and run software and artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI / ML) apps in a way similar to conventional terrestrial cloud environments.

This first iteration of the system is built in collaboration with the Swedish-based AI company Unibap on top of their radiation-tolerant iX5-100 SpaceCloud platform, which has a combination of central processing unit (CPU), graphics processing unit (GPU) and vision processor unit (VPU) chips, solid state storage and an optimized Linux-based operating system running the SpaceCloud framework API. The system was integrated into the ION Satellite Carrier using D-Orbit’s appropriate plug-and-play interfaces. ION is a spacecraft designed, manufactured and operated by D-Orbit to transport satellites in orbit and release them individually to different and precise orbital slots. ION can also accommodate multiple third-party payloads such as innovative technologies developed by startups, experiments from research institutions, and instruments from traditional space companies that require a test in orbit. The test on Nebula was performed in space as part of the WILD RIDE mission, which is still ongoing.

A major bottleneck for satellite applications is the limited bandwidth of the downlink channel. A typical image processing requires several hours to produce useful information. Real-time ML processing of imaging data in circuits, on the other hand, provides instant results, while reducing the amount of information to be downlinked by several orders of magnitude, enabling a much faster presentation of the final result to the user.

The test campaign successfully executed 23 separate SpaceCloud-compatible applications from a variety of partners, including WorldFloods, an ML payload developed by Frontier Development Lab (FDL), a partnership led by UK-based Trillium Technologies with the University of Oxford and ESA’s Phi-lab. For this test, the applications used a combination of preloaded data from a variety of satellites, e.g. Copernicus Sentinel-2, and raw data collected by ION Satellite Carrier’s multi-instrument sensor D-Sense. All mission objectives have been achieved, validating the approach of an advanced in-orbit computer platform capable of performing advanced calculations on raw data directly in space, making them usable information optimized for downlink.

This is an important step towards D-Orbit’s vision of a comprehensive space infrastructure that will provide all kinds of services to vehicles in Earth’s orbit,Said Simon Reid, COO of the UK branch of D-Orbit.While this batch of tests mainly used preloaded images, our follow-up mission, which will be ready for commercial use, will provide real-time access to instrument data. Anyone with programming knowledge can easily write apps to process all kinds of data directly in space.

We completed this project in less than a year and demonstrated the incredible versatility of the ION platform and the opportunity it offers to develop space technology in a new, flexible way, ”Says Reid. “Although important, this orbital test only scratches the surface of what is possible with a platform that is scalable by adding nodes, integrating sensor types, and organizing data transfer over intersatellite connections.. ”

According to Dr. Fredrik Bruhn, chief evangelist in digital transformation and board director at Unibap,We are currently experiencing a rapid global change in the space services market, and the orbital success of the Nebula – SpaceCloud solution demonstrates a leap in the way business models around data can be implemented in the future. We are excited that information products with extremely low latency can be created in circuits. As we move forward, it is now possible to create flexible data management and user-on-demand on-orbit application services. It’s great to see how our combined efforts and partnership with ESA have come together in the Nebula service and provided important feedback on Unibap’s next generation SpaceCloud products and solutions. ”

The next iteration of Nebula, scheduled to fly aboard ION’s next mission in January 2022, will have an advanced electro-optical instrument enabling third parties to upload and execute applications.

SpaceCloud® is a registered trademark of Unibap AB (publ).

About D-Orbit

D-Orbit is the market leader in the space logistics and transportation services industry with a track record of space-proven technologies and successful missions.

D-Orbit was founded in 2011, before the beginning of the New Space market, and is the first company to meet the space market’s logistics needs. The ION Satellite Carrier, for example, is a spacecraft that can transport satellites in orbit and release them individually to different orbital slots, reducing launch time to operations by up to 85% and launch costs for an entire satellite constellation by up to 40%. ION can also accommodate multiple third-party payloads such as innovative technologies developed by startups, experiments from research institutions, and instruments from traditional space companies that require a test in orbit.

D-Orbit is a pioneer in space infrastructure with offices in Italy, Portugal, the United Kingdom and the United States; its commitment to pursuing business models that are profitable, environmentally friendly and socially beneficial led to D-Orbit becoming the first certified B-Corp space company in the world.

Corbin Mihelic – CSG
d-orbit@wearecsg.com
+1316209 9794

Elena Sanfilippo Ceraso – Media Manager
elena.sanfilippo@dorbit.space

Caterina Cazzola – Head of Communications
caterina.cazzola@dorbit.space
+39 340 2840 792

Follow D-Orbit on:

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/company/d-orbit
Facebook: facebook.com/deorbitaldevices/
Twitter: twitter.com/D_Orbit
Instagram: instagram.com/wearedorbit/

About Unibap

Unibap is a high-tech company that aims to automate and streamline industries on earth as well as in space. With smart solutions based on AI and robotics, we want to increase the quality and productivity of our customers, while eliminating dangerous tasks that are currently performed manually. Unibap strives to have a positive impact on both society and the environment. Unibap aims to be a world leader in commercial AI-powered services and automation on Earth and in space for a better and more sustainable life. The company’s quality management system is certified in accordance with SS-EN ISO 9001: 2015. The company is listed on the Nasdaq First North Growth Market.

For more information, contact:
Anders Blomberg
Manager
ceo@unibap.com
+46 738 21 37 79

For more information, please visit the company’s website unibap.com.
FNCA Sweden AB, +46 8-528 00 399, info@fnca.se, is the company’s certified advisor.

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