May 31, 2022 - News

SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket carries IBM technology

IBM technology was integrated on EnduroSat's software-defined NanoSat, which launched into space last week. Photo: Courtesy of IBM

A bit of Austin technology is floating around in space.

The SpaceX Falcon9 rocket launched last week from the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida carrying tech equipment with local ties.

  • The project will allow students to learn about space by interacting directly with satellites through code.

State of play: IBM's Austin-based space team partnered with software company EnduroSat to send small satellites on the SpaceX rocket — loaded with open source, AI and cloud technologies — that will remain in space and process data in real time.

Why it matters: The move could make space more accessible to school-aged children.

  • Through the IBM Cloud, high school students will be able to access data from various sensors, take pictures and perform calculations to get the results back on Earth.
  • So far, five teams from Minnesota, Colorado, U.K. and Taiwan have been selected to participate.

What they're saying: Austin-based Naeem Altaf, IBM's chief technology officer of space, said this work to "democratize access to space" aims to further accelerate space exploration and innovation.

  • "IBM's edge computing in space experiment will run containers in space and apply AI on the raw data being produced on the satellite," Altaf said. "The actionable insights gained will be communicated back to IBM Cloud on Earth, a hybrid solution extending from terrestrial networks to the far edge in space."

Flashback: We spoke to Altaf in November about IBM's Space Tech Hub team in Austin, which partners with space agencies, universities and space tech companies.


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