Space Age Innovation: Processing Data on the Fly

Many different businesses are undergoing radical change as a result of the increasing usage of satellite constellations. These circling wonders are supplying priceless data for a wide range of uses, from smart city planning and telecommunications to national defense and agriculture. However, the process of gleaning useful insights from this raw data has historically been time-consuming and costly.

This is the area where Vinay Simha, Vishesh Vatsal, and Adithya Kothandhapani’s spacetech business, SkyServe, based in Bengaluru, is making waves. The company was launched in 2020. Their creative approach upends the long-standing custom of returning satellite data to Earth for processing. SkyServe’s response? STORM is an AI-driven edge computing platform that processes data directly on satellites and provides users on the ground with real-time analytics.

India’s Thriving SpaceTech Market: A Breeding Ground for Innovation

India’s space sector is experiencing a boom, fueled by a collaborative environment between private and public entities, along with government incentives. This fertile ground has given rise to over 150 spacetech startups, and the future looks even brighter. According to Inc42, India’s spacetech market is projected to reach a staggering $77 billion by 2030, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 26%. Notably, the downstream market, which focuses on utilizing space-derived data for various applications, holds a significant two-thirds share of this potential.

With its state-of-the-art technological stack, SkyServe is well-positioned to become a significant player in this rapidly expanding downstream sector, with the goal of revolutionizing the use of data in a variety of industries. Prominent individuals like Vijay Rayapati, the CEO and co-founder of AtomicWorks, and Baskar Subramanian, the co-founder and CEO of Amagi Media Labs, along with angel investors and institutional investment institutions, have already contributed over $1 million in seed capital to the venture. SkyServe hopes to raise $8 million to $10 million in a Series A fundraising round later this year to support their ambitious objectives.

Overcoming Challenges: The Genesis of SkyServe

Vinay Simha, co-founder and CEO of SkyServe, pinpoints the core challenge SkyServe tackles: traditional satellites lack the computational power to process captured data or images directly. This limitation stems from the high costs associated with launching satellites and the complexities of integrating additional components. Further constraints include potential risks of failure, dependence on reliable power sources, and the harsh space environment, making ground-based processing the default approach.

“The launch costs are becoming more affordable, and miniaturization of electronics is paving the way for a new generation of smart satellites,” says Simha. “This shift in the space landscape prompted us to reimagine the way Earth observation data is captured, assimilated, and processed, ultimately leading to the foundation of SkyServe.”

STORM: The Powerhouse of On-Orbit Processing

Realizing that a paradigm change was required, Simha started working on STORM in 2022. This AI-driven edge computing platform makes use of state-of-the-art technologies to solve the problems that plague conventional approaches. With its ability to interpret data from several sensors, such as hyperspectral and synthetic aperture radar (SAR), STORM can be used in a wide range of sectors.

SkyServe’s vision extends beyond developing its own platform. The company actively seeks partnerships with satellite operators and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to deploy AI capabilities directly in space. This strategic approach empowers downstream customers, such as geospatial analytics companies and solution providers, to unlock valuable space-based insights with unprecedented efficiency.

The applications of SkyServe’s technology are vast and consequential. Real-time data processing enables faster and more accurate responses to critical situations, including wildfire detection, ship identification, port monitoring, mine surveillance, and national border security. The first deployment of STORM in 2023 served as a crucial flight test and qualification phase, paving the way for further advancements. The latest iteration of STORM has been successfully integrated into two of SkyServe’s missions – Denali and Matterhorn – launched earlier this year.

SURGE: Empowering On-Ground Infrastructure

Technology-wise, SkyServe is far more advanced than its on-orbit processing capacity. Additionally, the business has created a parallel ground-based infrastructure platform called SURGE. SURGE is a complete framework for creating, implementing, and overseeing AI models that are tailored for edge computing on satellites. The smooth functioning and seamless integration of SkyServe’s on-orbit processing solutions are guaranteed by this strong infrastructure.

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Saiba Verma, an accomplished editor with a focus on finance and market trends, contributes to Atom News with a dedication to providing insightful and accurate business news. Saiba Verma analytical approach adds depth to our coverage, keeping our audience well-informed.