Adelaide-based start-up AICRAFT has partnered with Antaris Space (NSW) to test technology that may demonstrate on-orbit autonomous satellite navigation and control.

Following the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding, the Australian companies will be testing artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) models in space, aiming to develop more advanced computing systems for satellites.

AICRAFT will be responsible for building a space-computing module for the payload of Antaris Space’s three-year demonstrator mission launching low-earth orbit (LEO) late 2022.

On top of allowing the companies to test how these capabilities function in LEO, the project will also allow AICRAFT to test AI and ML models for Earth Observation data processing – all vital to the country’s space ecosystem.

Co-founder and CEO of AICRAFT, Dr Tony Scoleri, said the collaboration will involve testing of multiple data formats.

“We are thrilled to start our collaboration with Antaris and demonstrate our innovative AI edge computing module in orbit,” said Dr Scoleri.

“This will include testing the execution of a large variety of AI models and input data formats (imagery, signals, Lidar point clouds, and we would like to thank Shankar [Sivaprakasam] and the whole Antaris founding team for the opportunity to accelerate our company’s entry into the global space marketplace.”

Antaris Space co-founder Shankar Sivaprakasam said the company is looking forward to working with AICRAFT.

“We are excited about working with AICRAFT to space-qualify their edge computing module and add it to the pool of resources for customers using the Antaris Software-as-a-Service platform for next-gen satellite systems,” Mr Sivaprakasam said.

“Our software-defined satellite platform is a means to broaden the space ecosystem by creating a trusted marketplace of qualified space-rated software and hardware components, a key goal for us.”

The companies connected via the Aurora Space Cluster, which provides a framework for startups to grow within a collaborative network.