Military Embedded Systems

LM's smart satellite to enable space mesh networking


January 16, 2020

Emma Helfrich

Technology Editor

Military Embedded Systems

Graphic courtesy of Lockheed Martin.

DENVER, Colo. Lockheed Martin (LM) is testing a new space-based computing method now being tested in-orbit, enabling artificial intelligence, data analytics, cloud networking, and advanced satellite communications in a new software-defined architecture. LM launched the Pony Express 1 mission as a hosted payload on Tyvak-0129, a next-generation Tyvak 6U spacecraft.

Pony Express 1, an example of rapid prototyping, was developed, built, and integrated in nine months and was funded completely by Lockheed Martin Research and Development funding.

According to the company, this orbital proving ground is validating payload hardware and software, and is equipped with new technology that fits into a satellite the size of a shoebox.

Some of the key technologies being flight-tested include HiveStar software that validates advanced adaptive mesh communications between satellites, a software-defined radio that allows for high-bandwidth hosting, a 3D-printed wideband antenna housing, and the SmartSat software-defined satellite architecture which enables hosting of mission apps.



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