For the very first time, there is an AI satellite in space. After a collaboration between Intel and the European Space Agency (ESA) that saw the launch of one that can process using AI. The Satellite name is PhiSat-1 and aims to monitor both soil moisture and polar ice. The satellite is small, no doubt, since it is as small as a cereal box. However, the ESA stakeholders, Intel and Ubotica, an Irish robotics company, says that it has been a journey. The teams speak about its details more than a month after its launch.
After many months of investing time and efforts, the CubeSat launch had its liftoff. It had experienced several challenges, including a global pandemic, a pair of natural disasters, and a failed rocket launch. Consequently, there was a delay in its launch. It also evolved around advanced technology, and the first of its kind in space also means that it needed relatively much effort. Identifying the already existing A1-technology that would match the space’s requirements was a huge challenge. It is no secret that it marked the very first A1- processing satellite to ever grace space. Its purpose is also a big tree, indeed. It changes the responses to wildfires, oil spills, and other disasters.
Another challenge was developing an AI chip that would withstand outer space’s radiation. One common material of most chips is silicon. Unfortunately, it is vulnerable to ionization upon radiation exposure. Consequently, finding one for this action wasn’t a walk to the park. Eventually, the experts settled for the Myriad 2 chip manufactured by one of the partners, Intel. Gadgets that use the same on Earth include Magic Leap’s AR goggles and a small number of commercial drones.
Nevertheless, for it to rise to the occasion, Ubotica had to intervene. In addition to software adjustments, there were electronics put in place to help it shut automatically if it senses a possibility of overheating. To test its efficiency, it came into close contact with Switzerland’s CERN, Earth’s largest particle accelerator.
Despite being ready by May 2019, the launch didn’t happen soon due to natural and technical issues. They are the global pandemic, hurricanes, and launch failures. However, the idea finally saw the light of the day on September 2. It is already in space, and the progress is excellent. It is important to note that it saves space, as well. After all, it deletes cloudy photos automatically because, logically, they add no value. It is a massive milestone since, in most cases, about 67% of the Earth’s surface is usually cloudy. It saves Phisat-1 the energy it would use to send unnecessary data back to Earth.