By Doug Mohney | June 30, 2020
As the cost of building and launching satellites continues to drop, melding IT concepts with satellite operations to bring data center services into Earth orbit and beyond is emerging as the next big thing.
Colocation of server hardware, virtually running applications in the cloud, and edge computing are all familiar concepts to the data center world, but the space industry wants to apply those ideas into satellite-based business models.
Until recently, satellite hardware and software were tightly tied together and purpose-built for a single function. The introduction of commercial-off-the-shelf processors, open standards software, and standardized hardware is enabling companies to repurpose orbiting satellites for different tasks by simply uploading new software and allowing the sharing of a single satellite by hosting hardware for two or more users.
This “Space as a Service” concept can be used for operating multi-tenant hardware in a micro-colocation model or offering virtual server capacity for “above the clouds” computing. Several space startups are integrating micro-data centers into their designs, offering computing power to process satellite imaging data or monitor distributed sensors for Internet of Things (IoT) applications.
OrbitsEdge Plans Racks in Space
Florida-based OrbitsEdge is embracing a data center in orbit model, taking off-the-shelf rackmount servers and bolting them into a satellite bus (the structural frame housing payloads).
“We’re both edge computing and data center,” said Rick Ward, Chief Technical Officer of OrbitsEdge. “We want to put big-performance computing infrastructure into space to process data, cleanse it, aggregate data from multiple sources and analyze it. We are that missing piece of the infrastructure to commercial space.”
OrbitsEdge is able to communicate with other satellites to collect and process their data, as well as performing overhead edge computing where a traditional data center is unavailable or not close enough. The company sees opportunities in offloading and storing data from Earth Observation satellites, processing it into immediately usable imagery, and sending the results directly to end-users in the field. It has had discussions with the U.S. Department of Defense, NASA, and commercial cloud providers on how such non-traditional resources could be useful for various use cases on Earth, in space, and on the surface of other celestial bodies.
“It’s another location for processing data above the clouds,” said Sylvia France, President of OrbitsEdge. “There’s a lot of interest in fintech, being able to make buy/sell decisions based on counting cars in parking lots. We’re also talking to entertainment companies as well, from space tourists to augmented reality firms.”
The OrbitsEdge SatFrame is the company’s proprietary satellite bus, with a standardized 19-inch server rack with available volume for 5U of hardware. The company’s first two SatFrame pathfinder satellites will support 18-inch deep hardware with production designs capable to grow to support full-sized 36 inch deep hardware.
Onboard Satframe-1 and Satframe-2 will be HPE EL8000 servers. Frank said exact setups for hardware are still being worked out, with different configurations to be implemented onboard each satellite to test and verify various CPUs and other hardware.
While HPE has flown a server onboard the International Space Station, the human-supporting environment is relatively benign compared to what OrbitsEdge needs to do. Supporting off-the-shelf servers in space requires SatFrame to have a large solar panel array to generate power, batteries to keep the system running when it is in the shadow of the planet, thermal controls to dump heat from operating hardware, and protection from cosmic radiation and solar flare events.
If successful, OrbitsEdge may go beyond Earth orbit and to the Moon, Mars, and on deep-space missions. As distances increase, so do communications delays and bandwidth is more constrained. Probes and humans will need on-site computing for autonomous vehicle operations, vision processing, and analysis of raw data.
“Our initial plan is to start at Low Earth Orbit then go to Geosynchronous Earth Orbit and cis-lunar locations,” said Ward. “Possibly planetary surface missions where we’re either static as a part of a base or habitat, but we also have the capability to attach onto a vehicle.”
Loft Offers ‘Space Infrastructure As A Service’
The attractiveness of sharing a satellite for lower operational costs and faster time to deliver production services is keeping San Francisco start-up Loft Orbital very busy, especially when combined with substantial simplifications for customers in setup and operations. Among Loft’s announced clients are DARPA’s Blackjack program, geo-data specialist Fugro, European satellite operator Eutelsat, the UAE government, and startups Orbital Sidekick and SpaceChain.
“Conceptionally, the idea of AWS operating compute infrastructure for others is what we’re doing for space,” said Loft Orbital co-founder and COO Alex Greenberg. “We’ll have our first satellite launch this year and have four missions underway. We’re adding more customers very quickly.”
While Loft Orbital normally offers the option of hosting a customer’s payload onboard their satellites and controlling it via its Cockpit web portal, in some cases Loft will also develop or buy the payload itself, allowing the customer to focus on their applications.
“In the data center analogy, we’re the virtualization between the data center and the hardware, we’re providing Space Infrastructure as a Service,” Greenberg said.
Onboard its first satellite Yet Another Mission 2 (YAM-2), Loft is providing this turnkey process for Eutelsat’s IoT service. Eutelsat is more accustomed to operating large expensive communications satellites, rather than building and operating small satellites. It makes financial and business sense for Loft to provide the infrastructure for Eutelsat’s satellite IoT service than for the company to get into that field from scratch. Loft’s first two satellite missions will include proof-of-concept tests for Eutelsat’s future IoT constellation.
“We’re taking away effort from the customer, saving the customer time, resources, and money” Greenberg explained. “But there’s a lot more than that as well. We’re optimizing for simplicity and speed, with our payload hub acting as an abstraction layer between the payload and the satellite bus. Traditionally, tons of subsystems have to be customized. Building satellites and payloads in low volumes means there’s no economies of scale.”
Loft successfully bet on having a steady stream of customers, buying multiple copies of a satellite bus – essentially a barebones satellite without sensors — ahead of time to get quantity discounts and then pulling out the bus and plugging in payloads when enough customers are lined up to fill it.
“The net result is we make the customer’s life a lot easier,” said Greenberg. “We leave the bus as is, there’s no non-recurring engineering or customization required. We get them to orbit a lot faster since they don’t have to do the engineering and we literally bought the bus well in advance, putting not only payload and bus manufacturing, but also launch procurement and mission operations timelines in parallel.”
Another capability Loft offers is a software-defined payload leveraging the software-defined radios onboard its satellites. Customers are already using the service, selecting specific antenna depending on the radio frequencies required. Loft can timeshare usage between multiple customers for applications such as IoT and RF spectrum surveys.
Future plans include onboard processing, with Loft ingesting data from payloads such as IoT and imagery and then allowing customers to use the satellite compute environment to analyze their data onboard the satellite rather than shipping it to the ground.
Improved Economics for Space-Powered IoT
Price-conscious satellite Internet of Things (IoT) start-ups such as Lacuna Space and OQ Technology are embracing hosting hardware and running virtualized tasks on third-party satellites when they can find usable opportunities, but it’s hard to find a perfect fit for every requirement.
“The main advantage of hosting is financial,” said Rob Spurrett, CEO of Lacuna Space. “It is simply more cost effective to share space with other payloads because, in principle, the platforms become progressively cheaper as they get larger … Sometimes there are last minute deals on hosted platforms where a payload supplier is running late, or cancelled, and those can be great bargains, but hard to come by.”
Lacuna Space uses a tweaked version of the LoRaWAN protocol to pick up data from IoT devices around the world. Its’ first five platforms in space are a mix of dedicated satellites and hosted communication packages sharing space onboard other satellites. Moving forward, Lacuna Space will build and launch 24 dedicated satellites because sharing requires compromise.
“You tend to lose a degree of control (by sharing),” Spurrett stated. “The platform and mission performance is not necessarily driven by just your needs, but by a compromise where the combination of needs of all the payloads need to be considered … As our constellation becomes more complex, then using hosted platforms becomes more complex and the logistical difficulties overrun the cost savings.”
OQ Technology conducted the first tests of its 5G-based NB-IoT service using a satellite originally launched by Dutch-based GomSpace. NB-IoT is short for Narrowband Internet of Things, and is a low-power wide-area network to connect distributed devices. The satellite was reconfigured to communicate with NB-IoT devices on the ground by uploading new software written by OQ. As the company moves forward, OQ Technology plans to use a combination of existing satellites, hosted payloads, and its own satellites to deliver global NB-IoT coverage.
Like Lacuna Space, OQ is using what’s available, but there aren’t any perfect fits for sharing satellites. “We don’t choose one, we have to use what is out there and reliable, investors like when you can scale up and invest less in hardware,” said founder and CEO Omar Qaise. “Not every satellite has the right frequency and power we need, so hopefully there will be in future enough ‘constellation as a service’ platforms with flexibility. Today we have not identified any for (OQ Technology’s) commercial case, but there are many companies promising that.”
By John Tucker | January 29, 2020
As we move toward the commercialization of space, data is going to become a much sought after commodity for businesses and public organizations that are involved in the development of the space industry.
Sending data back to Earth to get processed is going to take a vast amount of bandwidth and will cause delays in communication. Without the correct data infrastructure in place, progress will be made much slower. By creating robust data centers in space, OrbitsEdge is getting ahead of the problem with a solution that will prove to become an invaluable resource to any other space startup.
Bottlenecks in data processing in space are already a problem, and as space opens up to the possibilities brought about by the lower cost in commercial space activity, this problem will only grow. OrbitsEdge is already there with a solution though, and by joining forces with Hewlett Packard, they are proving that they now have the data processing power that they need.
What is OrbitsEdge?
Formed in 2018, OrbitsEdge helps other businesses or public organizations collect and process huge amounts of data in space. Whether that data is accumulated through the Internet of Things or from testing, the amount of time it takes for this data to return to Earth to get processed can cause a lot of issues.
This Florida based startup has paired up with Hewlett Packard Enterprises (HPE) to create the perfect synergy. Utilizing the micro-datacenter technology developed by HPE, OrbitsEdge will further develop this for use in space and it will be hosted on the OrbitsEdge SatFrame.
Who’s Behind OrbitsEdge?
The OrbitsEdge founder and Cheif Technical Officer, Richard Ward has a background in Deep Space Industries. He has been instrumental in developing the proprietary SatFrame which houses the equipment to be used in Low Earth Orbit.
CEO, Barb Stinnett has over three decades worth of’ Silicon Valley experience and has been involved in many major tech businesses over the last few decades, including Hewlett Packard, Oracle, and Cisco. She has also been CEO and has held a number of board of directors positions for private equity and venture capital firm portfolios.
OrbitsEdge And Hewlett Packard Enterprises
In November 2019, OrbitsEdge announced that it would be utilizing the HPE Edgeline Converged Edge Systems to enable space companies to manage their data more efficiently in space.
Created by OrbitsEdge, the SatFrame is designed to host the technology and compensate for stressors such as radiation in space.
With both companies working together to produce technology that can withstand the harsh environments of space, many other companies and space organizations will gain a valuable technological resource that will help propel their interests forward.
With edge computing bringing the technology to NewSpace companies operating in the emerging space industries, OrbitsEdge has positioned itself in a prime and valuable position. The savvy space entrepreneurs are in a prime spot, whereby they will be able to assist many companies to reach their goals of developing their commercial businesses in space.
By Patrick Nelson | December 12, 2019
Development of IoT services in space will require ruggedized edge computing. OrbitsEdge, a vendor has announced a deal with HPE for development.
Upcoming space commercialization will require hardened edge-computing environments in a small footprint with robust links back to Earth, says vendor OrbitsEdge, which recently announced that it had started collaborating with Hewlett Packard Enterprise on computing-in-orbit solutions.
OrbitsEdge says it’s the first to provide a commercial data-center environment for installing in orbit, and will be using HPE’s Edgeline Converged Edge System in a hardened, satellite micro-data-center platform that it’s selling called SatFrame.
The idea is “to run analytics such as artificial intelligence (AI) on the vast amounts of data that will be created as space is commercialized,” says Barbara Stinnett, CEO of OrbitsEdge, in a press release.
Why data in space?
IoT data collection along with analysis and experimental testing are two examples of space industrialization that the company gives as use cases for its micro-data center product. However, commercial use of space also includes imagery, communications, weather forecasting and navigation. Space tourism and commercial recovery of space resources, such as mined raw materials from asteroids are likely to be future space-uses, too.
Also, manufacturing – taking advantage of vacuums and zero-gravity environments – is among the economic activities that could take advantage of number crunching in orbit.
Additionally, Cloud Constellation Corp., a company I wrote about in 2017, unrelated to OrbitsEdge or HPE, reckons highly sensitive data should be stored isolated in space. That would be the “ultimate air-gap security,” it describes its SpaceBelt product.
Why edge in space?
OrbitsEdge believes that data must be processed where it is collected, in space, in order to reduce transmission bottlenecks as streams are piped back to Earth stations. “Due to the new wave of low-cost commercial space activity, the bottleneck will get worse,” the company explains on its website.
What it means is that getting satellites into space is now cheap and is getting cheaper (due primarily to reusable rocket technology), but that there’s a problem getting the information back to traditional cloud environments on the surface of the Earth; there’s not enough backhaul data capacity, and that increases processing costs. Therefore, the cloud needs to move to the data-collection point: It’s “IoT above the cloud,” OrbitsEdge cleverly taglines.
How it works
Satellite-mounted solar arrays collect power from the sun. They fill batteries to be used when the satellite is in the shadow of Earth.
Cooling- and radiation-shielding protect a standard 5U, 19-inch server rack. There’s a separate rack for the avionics. Then integrated, traditional space-to-space, and space-to-ground radio communications handle the comms. Future-proofing is also considered: laser data pipes, too, could be supported, the company says.
On Earth option
Interestingly, the company is also pitching its no-maintenance, low Earth orbit (LEO)-geared product as being suitable for terrestrial extreme environments, too. OrbitsEdge claims that SatFrame is robust enough for extreme chemical and temperature environments on Earth. Upselling, it also says that one could combine two micro-data centers: a LEO SatFrame running HPE’s Edgeline, communicating with another one in an extreme on-Earth location—one at the Poles, maybe.
“To keep up with the rate of change and the number of satellites being launched into low Earth orbit, new services have to be made available,” OrbitsEdge says. “Shipping data back to terrestrial clouds is impractical, however today it is the only choice,” it says.
By Darrell Etherington | December 3, 2019
What kinds of businesses might be able to operate in space? Well, data centers are one potential target you might not have thought of. Space provides an interesting environment for data center operations, including advanced analytics operations and even artificial intelligence, due in part to the excellent cooling conditions and reasonable access to renewable power supply (solar). But there are challenges, which is why a new partnership between Florida-based space startup OrbitsEdge and Hewlett Packard Enterprises (HPE) makes a lot of sense.
The partnership will make OrbitsEdge a hardware supplier for HPE’s Edgeline Converged Edge Systems, and basically it means that the space startup will be handling everything required to “harden” the standard HPE micro-data center equipment for use in outer space. Hardening is a standard process for getting stuff ready to use in space, and essentially prepares equipment to withstand the increased radiation, extreme temperatures and other stressors that space adds to the mix.
OrbitsEdge, founded earlier this year, has developed a proprietary piece of hardware called the “SatFrame” which is designed to counter the stress of a space-based operating environment, making it relatively easy to take off-the-shelf Earth equipment like the HPE Edgeline system and get it working in space without requiring a huge amount of additional, custom work.
In terms of what this will potentially provide, the partnership will mean it’s more feasible than ever to set up a small-scale data center in orbit to handle at least some of the processing of space-based data right near where it’s collected, rather than having to shuttle it back down to Earth. That process can be expensive, and difficult to source in terms of even finding companies and infrastructure to use. As with in-space manufacturing, doing things locally could save a lot of overhead and unlock tons of potential down the line.
By Doug Mohney | December 3, 2019
Startup OrbitsEdge, Inc. announced it has signed an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) agreement with Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) to host HPE Edgeline Convered Edges Systems onboard its SatFrame space-hardened satellite to enable commercial space companies to deploy computing in orbit and accelerate exploration. Given HPE’s previous work onboard the International Space Station (ISS), this isn’t a big surprise.
“Hewlett Packard Enterprise is the ideal partner for OrbitsEdge since its technologies have proven to withstand extreme environments on Earth and in space, with its deployment of the Spaceborne Computer in the International Space Station (ISS). This partnership follows HPE’s innovative strategy of enabling new solutions to be developed and deployed years in advance,” said Barbara Stinnett, chief executive officer of OrbitsEdge, Inc. “OrbitsEdge will leverage HPE’s edge technology to run sophisticated analytics such as artificial intelligence (AI) on the vast amounts of data that will be created as space is commercialized,” she added.
OrbitsEdge proprietary SatFrame bus is designed to support and protect commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) data center rack-mountable computing gear from the challenges of in-orbit operations, with SatFrame providing protection against radiation as well as providing temperature control, power, and communications. An HPE Edgeline Converged Edge System will be the first hosted payload onboard SatFrame to provide what OrbitsEdge calls a “micro-datacenter in orbit” for processing space-based data and help minimize the time and cost of backhaul to earth.
“We are committed to pushing technology limits to power the next era of innovation, whether it’s here on Earth or in space,” said Phillip Cutrone, vice president and general manager, Worldwide OEM at HPE. “The HPE Edgeline Converged Edge Systems provide datacenter-grade performance, data acquisition, industrial networks, and control in harsh edge environments to enable real-time insight and action. By combining our technologies with the OrbitsEdge SatFrame hardening design, the commercial space industry gains advanced systems to create new space-based applications and solutions.”
The SatFrame 445 bus provides a standard 19 inch server rack for up to 5U (Rack U, not Cubesat U of space, satellite bros) hardware and can support up to full-size 36 inch deep hardware. OrbitsEdge plans to launch a “sub 300” kilogram satellite in its first flight demonstration with 18 inch (half-deep) hardware onboard, with payloads operating on a “day/night” cycle on the satellite to conserve power and manage heat, powering up when the satellite is in the sun and shutting down on the night side of the Earth.
One potential application for OrbitsEdge-style in-orbit computing power would be to process imagery directly from other low Earth orbit (LEO) satellites. Today, visual and radar imagery are typically transmitted in raw form down to a ground station and into the data center and then processed and sent to the end-user. On-orbit processing would substantially reduce satellite downlink bandwidth needs and could provide a processed image directly to an end-user more quickly by removing the ground data center as an intermediary. Faster imaging processing would be a bonanza for civilian and national defense users – the latter group an area HPE is quite familiar with.
Other applications for in-orbit computing include financial transactions and any that need low-latency outside of a traditional data center. How OrbitsEdge fits into the overall scheme of edge computing and 5G will be interesting to watch, since edge and 5G both are emphasizing low-latency as an advantage over backhauling computations back to a traditional data center.
By Ron Mendoza | December 3, 2019
OrbitsEdge, provider of Low Earth Orbit (LEO) Edge micro-data centers, partners up with Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) to help make data more accessible for companies in space.
Florida-based startup OrbitsEdge announced on Tuesday via press release that it has signed an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) contract with HPE. With this new agreement, OrbitsEdge will be the supplier of HPE's Edgeline Converged Edge Systems. The team-up will forge data centers that will be deployed in outer space, which is designed to make computing and data processing more accessible from where data is collected rather than sending it back to Earth.
OrbitsEdge applies a hardening solution to HPE's equipment to enable it to endure the extreme conditions in space, like radiation and other environmental stressors that it will be subjected to in space. Founded this year, OrbitsEdge proprietary technology for protecting hardware is "SatFrame." The "ruggedized satellite bus" is designed to withstand the harsh environment in space.
A Former HPE Executive as CEO
The company also appointed a former Hewlett Packard executive, Barbara Stinnett, as CEO back in September. Stinett's resumé spans over 30 years of experience with Silicon Valley companies, namely HPE, Cisco and Oracle.
"Hewlett Packard Enterprise is the ideal partner for OrbitsEdge since its technologies have proven to withstand extreme environments on Earth and in space, with its deployment of the Spaceborne Computer in the International Space Station (ISS). This partnership follows HPE's innovative strategy of enabling new solutions to be developed and deployed years in advance," said Stinnett.
"OrbitsEdge will leverage HPE's edge technology to run sophisticated analytics such as artificial intelligence (AI) on the vast amounts of data that will be created as space is commercialized," she added.
"We are committed to pushing technology limits to power the next era of innovation, whether it's here on Earth or in space," said Phillip Cutrone, vice president and general manager, Worldwide OEM at HPE.
"The HPE Edgeline Converged Edge Systems provide datacenter-grade performance, data acquisition, industrial networks, and control in harsh edge environments to enable real-time insight and action. By combining our technologies with the OrbitsEdge SatFrame hardening design, the commercial space industry gains advanced systems to create new space-based applications and solutions."
By Doug Mohney | October 4, 2019
OrbitsEdge is likely to give headaches to traditional satellite providers and offer intriguing possibilities to the growing edge computing movement. The company is offering a proprietary satellite bus designed to protect off-the-shelf rack mountable computing gear from the harsh environment of space, enabling users to tap into IT resources with low latency. It’s also likely to temporarily confuse Cubesat people with its use of “U” for rack space volume.
“What we’re looking at in the past and today, all the computers that go up on satellites are vintage tech,” said Rick Ward, Chief Technology Officer at OrbitsEdge. “There’s a tremendous amount of work on radiation hardening to make sure they work for a very long time. There’s no modern computer out in space. We’re looking to change that.”
The SatFrame 445 satellite will fly in Low Earth Orbit (LEO), providing power, thermal control/cooling, improved radiation protection and a host of communications capabilities to a standard 19 inch server rack with available space for 5U of hardware up to full-size 36 inch deep hardware. In addition, software “hardening” of devices will be necessary to compensate for radiation faults and potential damage.
Radiation is the biggest threat to computing in space as solar flares and cosmic radiation randomly zip through RAM and CPUs, with best case scenarios simple “bit flips” in memory storage or processes requiring a reboot. Physical damage to chips also occurs over time, making memory and CPUs unusable. Worse yet, devices become more vulnerable to radiation as fabrication processes get smaller. Packing more transistors onto a piece of silicon means the latest generation of chips are those most likely to be brutalized and rendered ineffective by higher radiation levels found outside of Earth’s atmosphere.
Only recently has newer off-the-shelf IT and computing hardware gone up into orbit, but experience is limited. Smaller cubesats have used cell phones due to low cost and compactness along with a low-cost/lower lifetime philosophy of 1 to 3 years in orbit, while HP Enterprise (HPE) recently launched a “supercomputer” to the International Space Station. The Spaceborne computer was built around an HPE Apollo 40-class system and used a modified Linux OS, with the computer returned to Earth after over a year of operation for teardown and fine analysis.
OrbitsEdge plans to launch a “sub 300 kilogram range” satellite as a testbed for its technologies and COTS hardware, with half-deep rack (18 inch) hardware onboard. Payloads will operate on a “day/night” cycle on the demo satellite to conserve power and manage heat, powering up when solar energy is available to run devices and shutting down when on the night side of Earth.
“Our demo mission is the smallest,” said Ward. “We’re only taking what’s essential to the mission. One of the things about high capacity computing is its very power intensive. We’re running a 1 kilowatt heater, so you have to get rid of the heat. If you want to run at night, you more than double mass take that step up,” between larger solar panels and batteries needed to provide power when the sun isn’t available.
Multiple commercial architectures will be onboard, but Ward declined to provide specifics on what gear or potential CPU types may be on board. He did, however, concur with Space IT Bridge that potential load outs could include low-end CPUs, representation for GPUs such as NVIDIA, and the latest silicon. The upside to the latest chip fabrication technologies is placing multiple cores on a single chip and the ability to monitor CPUs, shutting down one when it is damaged.
Why put computing into space in the first place? One real world application is being able to process imagery faster from other LEO satellites. Radar and visual imagery are transmitted in raw form to a ground station into the data center, consuming time and bandwidth. On-orbit processing would reduce bandwidth needs and could provide a processed image directly to an end user faster. For civilian and national defense users, faster imagery processing would be a bonanza.
Other potential applications could include any requiring extremely low latency, such as financial transactions, and any that could benefit from edge computing. A commercial version of the OrbitsEdge satellite will have multiple radios “some talking up, some talking down, some talking sideways,” said Ward, illustrating the need to send processed data back to the ground, upward for relay through a GEO communications satellite, and to communicate with other satellites for picking up and passing along raw and processed information.
OrbitsEdge is still exploring different business models. Initial satellites may be populated with servers with users leveraging VMware to run virtual instances of the apps they need with agencies and enterprises requesting more customized hardware loads tailored to specific needs. For security and speed purposes, organizations may order (buy) dedicated satellites, but potential customers need to become comfortable with and understand the advantages to on-orbit edge computing.
CEO Barbara Stinnett says OrbitsEdge has seed funding good through 2020, staff on hand and is preparing to secure a Series A round in the first quarter of 2020, talking to a mixture of venture capitalist funds and strategic partners. There are also a series of OEM announcements in the works with more information expected to be released in the upcoming months.
“We have three markets interested, all around sustainability,” Stinnett said. Oil, gas, and water infrastructure is one sector, government the second, and life sciences/health care as the third. Being able to provide easily accessible and computing resources is of interest in multiple markets.
Stinnett would not discuss how many satellites OrbitsEdge expects to put into orbit, saying the company had looked at it and would be disclosing their plans at a future time.
Space IT Bridge finds the concept of OrbitsEdge intriguing in a couple of aspects. It brings back the age-old discussion of “Big Dumb Pipe” verses “Smart Network” started up in 1990s-2000s VON Magazine era. Big dumb pipe advocates believed if you have enough broadband and low latency, everything can be solved by hauling functions and processes back to the data center, an argument that proved significantly true with the deployment of SDN and NFV in telecom networks.
However, 5G and its introduction of edge computing has brought back discussion of a smart network. The 5G community believes edge computing is an asset in time-sensitive applications affected by latency or just waiting around for a response, but the telecom community continues to define a set of use cases where edge computing is a “win” in 5G (Due in part to the fact 5G network deployments are continuously flowing works in progress dependent on RF bandwidth dictating architecture).
LEO broadband services being deployed by OneWeb, SpaceX, Telesat, and LeoSat are the “Big Dumb Pipe” of the 2020s. Will low latency and sufficient broadband in an underserved/unserved area be good enough for many/most users and applications or will OrbitsEdge fill in the role of “Smart network” by bringing edge computing to the equation? There’s no clear answer at the moment.
By Annamarie Nyirady | September 30, 2019
OrbitsEdge appointed Barbara Stinnett as CEO. OrbitsEdge designs Low Earth Orbit (LEO) micro-data centers, aiming to accelerate the commercialization of space by enabling organizations to economically streamline and analyze vast amounts of data in space. OrbitsEdge creates solutions using off-the-shelf EDGE technology and software and analytics, combined with its proprietary SatFrame technology.
Stinnett brings over three decades of Silicon Valley applied technologies experience, at Fortune 25 firms, Hewlett Packard, Oracle, and Cisco, in which she drove growth and innovation.
As a global leader, she has experience in developing markets and their ecosystems, bringing creative solutions to each vertical market across commercial and governmental entities. Her experience in mergers, acquisitions, and partnerships, led her to CEO and board of director positions for private equity and venture capital firm portfolios. Stinnett has extensive experience raising early-stage funds for technology firms.
“Commercialization of space holds amazing opportunities and at the same time has unique challenges. It’s truly one of the last frontiers for us to explore,” Stinnett said. “OrbitsEdge will provide the needed infrastructure with our proprietary SatFrame technology which allows organizations to easily and cost-effectively expand their value proposition to new heights.”