The US Air Force (USAF) has announced the launch of a landmark effort with AI start-up Hypergiant to build prototypes of a network of small satellites in Low Earth Orbit (LEO), whose machine learning (ML) / artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities can be upgraded for different missions while on-orbit.
Hypergiant Galactic Systems is a revolutionary orbital systems and constellations enterprise that combines Artificial Intelligence with proprietary hardware and the latest advancements in space access.
The Chameleon Constellation is expected to represent an important breakthrough in US military space capabilities. Indeed, at a minimum, just the ability to be able to constantly upgrade software could allow near real-time protection of cybersecurity systems if a satellite detects hacking.
The company sustains that by deploying smallsats in LEO, operators will be able to continually test and create new procedures for both offensive and defensive counter space solutions while introducing emerging technology elements into mission architectures.
Once ML/AI capabilities are built into the LEO, upgradeable satellites could be loaded with new software allowing them to completely shift missions.
It is important to point out that changes in software capabilities can only go so far, as the hardware included on a satellite. Payloads and sensor physical capabilities do provide clear limits to what capabilities can be added.
USAF granted a Small Business Innovation Contract (SBIR) to Hypergiant in January 2020. The company recently announced that it is working with the Platform One team and the Space Camp Software Factory to use USAF’s Platform One system for secure software development.