Spiral Blue, an Australian startup that specializes in space-based computing, has launched a new program called Your Code in Space. The program invites developers and researchers to run custom code on the company’s SE-1 computer, which is hosted on a Satellogic satellite in low-Earth orbit.
The program aims to make space computing more accessible and affordable for everyone, including students and hobbyists. Spiral Blue will respond to proposals submitted through the company’s website with information on how, when and at what cost various codes could run on the SE-1 computer.
SE-1: A powerful space edge computer
The SE-1 computer is a powerful space edge device that can run machine learning and artificial intelligence algorithms on board the satellite, without relying on ground stations or cloud services. The SE-1 computer is based on the NVIDIA Xavier NX platform, which offers high-performance computing capabilities with low power consumption.
The SE-1 computer was launched in January 2023 on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket rideshare flight and integrated with a Satellogic satellite. Satellogic is an Argentine company that provides high-resolution Earth observation services. Spiral Blue announced the successful commissioning of the SE-1 computer in April 2023, making it the first Australian space edge computer and the first NVIDIA Xavier NX to be operational in space.
Applications of space computing
Space computing has many potential applications for Earth observation, environmental monitoring, disaster response, agricultural insights, urban planning, wildlife conservation and space exploration. By running code in space, developers and researchers can reduce latency, bandwidth and cost of data transmission, as well as enhance data security and privacy.
Spiral Blue has already tested its own machine learning algorithms on the SE-1 computer, such as cropping clouds out of satellite imagery. The company has also tested vessel detection algorithms and customer code on the device. Spiral Blue claims that its space computing solution can drastically reduce data requirements by bringing down just useful insights from the satellite.
Your Code in Space: How to participate
To participate in the Your Code in Space program, interested parties need to submit their proposals through the Spiral Blue website. The proposals should include a brief description of the code, its purpose, its expected output and its preferred programming language. Spiral Blue supports Python, C++, Java and Rust languages.
Spiral Blue will review the proposals and provide feedback on their feasibility, timeline and cost. The company says that it will try to accommodate as many proposals as possible, as long as they are legal and ethical. The applications can be as advanced as applying artificial intelligence to satellite imagery or as simple as creating a meme.
Spiral Blue hopes that the Your Code in Space program will inspire more people to explore the possibilities of space computing and foster innovation in the field.