There are nearly 7,000 satellites orbiting Earth, scanning our planet’s surface and generating hundreds of terabytes of data every day. These satellites are operated by many different governments and commercial entities, and the data they produce is scattered across various stakeholders with different agendas, making it impossible for any one research team to tap the full potential of the world’s orbiting sensors.
Researchers at the Stevens Institute of Technology have now created a file digital platform Dozens of organizations have been able to model information exchange between fleets of orbiting instruments and ground-based antennas to manage complex geoscience problems such as wildfire detection. The platform is called New Observational Strategies Testing, or NOS-T for short.
NOS-T gives researchers a way to collaboratively prototype quickly space said Paul Grosjean, associate professor Systems engineering Stevens who led the project. “It eliminates many of the challenges that would otherwise prevent the development of these distributed tasks.”
In their work, reported by V.I Systems engineeringGrogan and his Stevens colleagues describe how networked satellites can be used to create more detailed images, giving a vastly better picture of what is happening on Earth’s surface. Using multiple satellites also makes it easier to continuously monitor specific locations, which is important when trying to track wildfires or monitor waterlogged soils to predict landslides. In contrast, individual satellites can only scan the areas they pass over.
NOS-T works by enabling organizations to independently design their own satellites and data, and then exchange messages that contain limited amounts of approved data. Effectively, NOS-T works as well Connective tissueenabling organizations to connect devices and share data without provisioning each other direct access For sensitive information about the data, control algorithms, and other technologies they use.
Grogan explained that such safeguards are the only way to convince private organizations that it is safe to share data, or to persuade governments to set aside national rivalries and collaborate on joint research projects. “These kinds of partnerships aren’t easy,” he said, “but if you can’t figure out how to work together using a digital simulation, you’ll never be able to collaborate on space missions in the real world.”
NOS-T will soon be deployed in real-world space mission planning NASA’s Office of Earth Science and Technology is set to begin using NOS-T to evaluate mission proposals next year, and some a task Designers are already using NOS-T to validate new research frameworks before applying for federal funding. “With NOS-T, you can verify that the distributed aspects of a space project are possible before you start pouring millions of dollars into construction and satellite launch equipment,” Grogan said.
In the future, collaborative digital platforms like NOS-T could help satellites communicate with each other directly, with messages processed by built-in AI algorithms to automatically coordinate sensors around common search targets. For now, the goal is to streamline the development and validation process for distributed missions, and help researchers around the world make better use of the data falling from the world’s orbiting sensors.
“As the cost of space launches comes down, we’re seeing all kinds of organizations start to put sensors into orbit,” Grogan said. “This means that the future of space research must be collaborative — but first, we need to be able to model and test collaborative relationships just as we test the hardware we use.”
Brian Chell et al, Testing New Observation Strategies: A Digital Prototyping Platform for Distributed Space Missions, Systems engineering (2023). DOI: 10.1002/sys.21672
Stevens Institute of Technology
the quote: When it comes to satellite data, sometimes more is more (2023, May 11) Retrieved May 12, 2023 from https://phys.org/news/2023-05-satellite.html
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