Data Science Firm RS21 Seeks To Bring AI / ML Technology To Space


Satellite archive: visualization by artificial intelligence.

RS21 is a data science company targeting the space industry to improve predictive maintenance and remote monitoring of satellite systems and networks. RS21 was recognized for its stand-alone technology solution for satellites and space vehicles that seeks to predict failures before they occur, using artificial intelligence and machine learning.

The company recently joined the Center for sharing and analyzing spatial information (Space ISAC) and last year won the 2020 AFRL Hyperspace Challenge, a business accelerator led by the Air Force Research Laboratory.

RS21 CTO Kameron Baumgardner believes AI / ML technologies can make a huge difference in the satellite industry, he said. Via satellite.

“AI / ML is evolving so rapidly that the opportunities are plentiful and expanding day by day,” he said. “Satellites are subjected to some of the harshest conditions of any human-made device while simultaneously supporting an infrastructure that is the basis of our contemporary lifestyles. Guidance / positioning / timing, communications, imagery and weather forecasting all rely on complex satellite equipment that continues to operate despite radiation, debris and bumps around the Earth at hundreds of kilometers per hour. .

The company is developing the Space Prognostic AI Custodian Ecosystem (SPAICE), a stand-alone solution for fault detection and prediction. In 2021, AFRL awarded RS21 a Phase II Small Business Innovation Direct Research (SBIR) contract worth $ 750,000 to develop SPAICE. Baumgardner said the company is having conversations with many other agencies, departments and commercial manufacturers and plans to pursue a Phase 2 expansion of SBIR. Baumgardner expects SPAICE to be ready for commercial deployment within the next two to three years.

Baumgardner said the company is excited about the potential for integration with the operations centers at Space force, Aviation, and the National recognition office, and others to help analyze the data they receive. But in the long run, he believes the U.S. government will be one of RS21’s smaller customer segments for SPAICE.

The company believes that eventually SPAICE will be sold to manufacturers and packaged on ruggedized modules that will be on the platform itself in orbit.

“The technology will allow predictions based on real-time data without waiting for human interpretation, which is especially important with infrequent satellite communications to ground stations. For this application, our customers will themselves be satellite manufacturers who can market the capacity as a point of difference in their response to federal tenders, ”he said.

Baumgardner believes that predictive maintenance and SPAICE as an extension can create a significant impact and open the door to new capabilities for the satellite industry.

“There are benefits to knowing when and how a platform can experience an adverse event or degradation that results in increased mission performance and significant financial savings. We also see that once we can deploy these models on the platform using hardened components, satellite technology will lead to a whole host of autonomous decision-making opportunities. “

RS21 also offers data solutions targeting healthcare, research, and state and local governments, but space has become one of its highest priorities.

“The response we received after SPAICE won the 2020 US AFRL Hyperspace Challenge Accelerator has been frankly overwhelming, and we are delighted to continue our work. SPAICE has a very well defined problem that it addresses in a market where, according to our research, there is little business competition, and some of the intellectual property that we have applied laterally from our other markets, like healthcare, really helps us overcome some of the traditional barriers that these types of techniques face, ”Baumgardner said.

Baumgardner sees an emerging relationship between data science and the satellite industry.

“We are aware of some very inspiring work and cutting edge research that is being done in academia and in the commercial space, but from our exposure to the industry so far, we have seen that data science and AI have yet to really saturate the problem space. This is encouraging for companies like RS21, as there are still many “fruits at hand” issues, as well as those like the predictive maintenance issue that SPAICE is addressing which gives us a real opportunity to expand and expand. expanding our impact, ”he said.


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