Hi Adam, could you please tell us a little bit more about SmartSat and your role as SmartSat Program Manager?
SmartSat™ is Lockheed Martin Space’s software-defined satellite offering. SmartSat™ provides extensive flexibility, enhanced security, and edge processing scaled across Lockheed Martin Space’s satellite product line. As the SmartSat™ program manager I am responsible for driving new and innovative techniques to harness discriminating capabilities of software on-board our satellites.
You will participate in the Getting Our Heads in the (Data) Clouds: Overcoming Security Challenges and Entering New Markets through Space Software and Data Analysis panel on Wednesday May 20. One of the different capabilities SmartSat is able to offer is adjustable bandwidth – what role will this flexibility play in the space and satellite industry and how will it change our approach to responding to customer demand?
The ability to provide adjustable bandwidth is more focused on on-board processing of data such that there isn’t a need to utilize limited bandwidth with all data normally sent back to the ground. Rather, SmartSat™ focuses on providing an edge processing environment where only the results or answers are downlinked. This means that downlinking of all raw data would not occur in situations where there are such restrictions (these restrictions could be contact with ground stations, cost, etc..).
What are the main challenges when moving to software-defined spacecraft?
Cyber security is a major challenge when working toward a more software-defined spacecraft. It is important to ensure that with the increased capabilities on-board with software proper measures are taken to secure our products.
From your vantage point and looking towards the coming decade, how do you see the use software and data transforming the space industry?
We are already approaching a point where our payloads can generate more data than we can even get to the ground. In some situations, this requires storage of the data on-board our satellites. As we move forward in the next decade, this massive amount of data will start to drive the need of potential data centres in space, where we do processing and manipulation of big data on space-based assets. So, I see the biggest transformation being more of a disaggregated space-based solution for our normal single satellite solutions.
In terms of industry news, what development, announcement or otherwise has stood out most to you in the past year and why?
For me it was the landing of the Insight lander on Mars. Deep space exploration is fascinating to me and I love to see our progress into that frontier. As we move toward the moon by 2024 with the Orion crew vehicle, it is a very exciting time for deep space exploration and the progress we will make in the next 5-10 years.
If you could have one historical figure over to dinner, who would it be and why?
I would have to say President Eisenhower. I would love to pick his brain on the original space race and the creation of NASA.
Hear Adam speak at Space Tech Conference (19-20 May, 2020, Long Beach, CA). View the agenda and register for free here.