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Boeing and Saber Astronautics leverage AI to troubleshoot satellites

Saber Astronautics will work with Boeing to develop a proof of concept for predictive satellite diagnostics. Photo: Boeing

Boeing Defense, Space & Security is collaborating with Sydney-based Saber Astronautics to deliver a proof of concept for a sophisticated diagnostic technology to support its satellite programs. This could have important applications for Joint Project 9102, the ADF’s planned Australian Defence SATCOM System.

Using advanced artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, Saber has developed technology to predict the impact of unexpected events and erratic space weather on spacecraft, enabling operators to quickly address issues when they are encountered. This capability has been proven on smaller, less complex spacecraft and Boeing’s investment will enable Saber to investigate the technology’s application to Boeing 702 Geostationary (GEO) satellites.

“Satellites are incredibly complex platforms operating in a remote environment, which can make it difficult to diagnose and address anomalies on-orbit,” said Boeing Defence Australia director of emerging markets, Matt Buckle. “The proof of concept will explore the potential for Saber’s technology to monitor changes in the state of the satellite, hypothesise the most probable cause of the problem and predict how the satellite will respond in specific situations.

Saber Astronautics’ technology could develop a diagnostic capability for GEO satellites with the potential to significantly prolong the life of spacecraft through the early detection, analysis and quick implementation of countermeasures, Buckle said.

“This collaboration is also a demonstrable achievement under Boeing’s statement of intent with the Australian Space Agency to invest in space research and development and innovation,” said Buckle.

The technology is a key capability for JP9102, the Australian Defence SATCOM System, which requires the use of machine learning to increase the speed, quality and agility of the conduct of SATCOM Operations as compared to legacy systems.

“Boeing is interested in leveraging our spacecraft expertise along with our unique algorithms to predict anomalies and diagnose spacecraft issues more quickly on-orbit.  Applying machine learning to diagnostics will reduce operator workload, and can improve spacecraft longevity and performance,” said Saber Astronautics CEO, Dr Jason Held.

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