New Applications for Artificial Intelligence in Space Exploration

The U.S. Space Force has recently extended its contract with AI startup Wallaroo Labs, investing $1.5 million in the development of machine learning models for edge computers in orbit. The contract, awarded by SpaceWERX, supports the Orbital Prime program, which aims to advance technologies for space debris cleanup and other on-orbit services. Wallaroo Labs, based in New York, has partnered with New Mexico State University for this venture.

Wallaroo Labs has gained recognition for its software platform that allows businesses to assess the performance of AI applications when deployed on edge computers. Edge computing involves moving compute power closer to where data is generated, such as a sensor in space. Wallaroo Labs aims to demonstrate the deployment of machine learning models at the edge, utilizing radiation-tolerant commercially available integrated circuits.

The deployment of AI and machine learning capabilities in space is crucial for the future of space exploration. The Space Force recognizes the need for these technologies, which can be deployed both in the cloud and at the edge for various missions. The ability to deploy, manage, and maintain ML models in the space environment, where resources like compute power and power are limited, is essential for the development of the space industry.

Vid Jain, CEO of Wallaroo Labs, emphasizes the significance of machine learning on orbit. He believes that it has the potential to revolutionize automation in space, enabling AI applications for robotics, satellite refueling, and even protection against space debris.

With the extension of this contract, Wallaroo Labs will continue to push the boundaries of AI in space exploration, contributing to the advancement of the industry and the realization of ambitious space missions.

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