Lockheed Martin’s Smart Satellite Enabling Space Mesh Networking

Issue: 2 / 2020

A new era of space-based computing is now being tested in-orbit that will enable artificial intelligence, data analytics, cloud networking and advanced satellite communications in a robust new software-defined architecture. Recently, Lockheed Martin launched the Pony Express 1 mission as a hosted payload on Tyvak-0129, a next-generation Tyvak 6U spacecraft. Pony Express 1, an example of rapid prototyping, was developed, built and integrated in nine months and was financially supported completely by Lockheed Martin Research and Development funding. Some of the key technologies being flight-tested include:

  • HiveStar software validates advanced adaptive mesh communications between satellites, shared processing capabilities and can take advantage of sensors aboard other smart satellites to customise missions in new ways previously difficult to achieve in space.
  • A software-defined radio that allows for high-bandwidth hosting of multiple RF applications, store-andforward RF collection, data compression, digital signal processing and waveform transmission.
  • 3D-printed wideband antenna housing. This mission consists of two 12U Cubesats with faster, more capable ultra-scale processors that unlock in-orbit data analytics and artificial intelligence.