SAN FRANCISCO – Exo-Space, a Los Angeles startup formed in 2020 to offer inexpensive easy-to-assemble cubesats, has pivoted in response to growing demand for on-orbit data processing.
Exo-Space developed FeatherEdge, an image-analysis device that plugs into a satellite or balloon payload to provide onboard image processing. FeatherEdge will rely on machine vision algorithms to detect objects within its field of view. The company’s goal is to transmit the information to customers within 30 minutes or less, Exo-Space CEO Jeremy Allam told SpaceNews.
“We’re focused on the commercial market for space data,” Allam said. “Most customers that we’ve talked to have said, ‘I don’t want the data, I just want actionable information.’”
For a monthly subscription fee, Exo-Space will monitor a specific area of interest and provide customers with frequent updates on events or objects of interest. A nonprofit organization in Southeast Asia, for example, is hiring Exo-Space to spot illegal fishing vessels, provide GPS coordinates of their location and report the time images are taken.
“In every orbit, we’re looking for a specific object in a specific area,” Allam said. “We can upload multiple customer models onto one device.”
Currently raising money alongside Exo-Space on Spaced Ventures are: Cosmic Shielding Corp., an Atlanta company that pairs composite materials with radiation forecasts to safeguard spacecraft; and Infinite Composites Inc., a Tulsa, Oklahoma, firm that sells linerless composite pressure vessels.
Exo-Space’s first FeatherEdge, which fills half of a single cubesat, is scheduled to make it’s on-orbit debut in June 2022 on a rideshare flight organized by Chicago-based Orbital Transports, a space logistics and orbital infrastructure company.
Exo-Space developed its own machine-vision models for FeatherEdge. In the future, however, Exo-Space may “partner with other machine-vision focused AI companies that can offer their machine-vision models on our satellite,” Allam said. “It would be an add-on toolkit.”