Germany’s UP42 has announced that data from the planned Australian LatConnect 60 satellite constellation will be available on its geospatial marketplace platform.
Perth-based LatConnect 60 intends to launch a constellation of mid-inclined orbit remote sensing satellites in early 2022. The initial two ‘smart’ small satellites will be equipped with onboard Artificial Intelligence (AI) for data pre-processing and advanced tip-and-cue functionality, according to information released by UP42.
The mid-inclined orbits of the proposed constellation will cover areas between 60 degrees north and south latitudes, especially the Earth’s equatorial regions with two to three daily revisits over this often-cloudy area, increasing the chances of cloud-free acquisition.
UP42 CEO Sean Wiid said that the proposed technology has the potential to reduce costs for resellers and end users, making enterprise-quality satellite data available to a wider range of small and medium enterprises.
“UP42 and LatConnect 60 share the common goal of democratising access to Earth observation information,” he said.
“We are excited to offer unique LatConnect 60 products for a region of the world underserved by consistent remote sensing coverage.”
LatConnect 60 CEO and co-founder, Venkat Pillay, said the UP42 platform’s algorithms will add significant value to their constellation’s imagery and data.
“With our joint focus on delivering satellite data to businesses in a cost-effective and easy-to-understand way LatConnect 60 and UP42 are natural partners. We look forward to collaborating with UP42 in developing new methods of delivering insights directly to end users,” he said.
The first two LatConnect 60 satellites will capture one-metre spatial resolution imagery in seven spectral bands including the visible, near infrared, and red edge, with a planned total of 16 satellites in orbit by 2025.
The LatConnect 60 imagery and derived products will join the array of Earth observation data products already available on UP42, including Pleiades 1A/B, SPOT 6/7, Landsat-8, TerraSar-X, Sentinel-2 and MODIS satellite imagery, HxGN and Getmapping aerial data, Intermap DEMs, exactEarth AIS data, and Meteomatics weather and ocean data.
EOfactory and LatConnect 60 Pty Ltd team up!
EOfactory and LatConnect 60 Pty Ltd announce partnership to access Australian market for specific vertical segments in the mining, forestry and Agriculture. With this partnership, EOfactory would license its platform to LatConnect 60 Pty Ltd and reach out to provide AI/ML based algorithms to address the issues related to large area processing, time series data analytics and agri related forecasting.
EOfactory would be ready to offer the data collected by LatConnect 60 globally on the platform for deriving vital information such as Farm Boundaries, Building footprints and others as demand for satellite imagery in the hyperspectral domain also gathers momentum.
EOfactory with its Pixel Magic tool for agriculture and Object detection will allow users to apply latest techniques and technology with superior prediction capabilities. Both companies will work towards building and supporting the user base in Australia and providing state of the art technology solutions.
Combining the power of LatConnect’s high resolution multispectral data and EOfactory’s powerful cloud based analytics, we intend to disrupt and push the boundaries of the industry.
10 Ways AI is Making a Difference in the Satellite Industry
Satellite leaders share in their own words how they are using Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to make a difference in the industry.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is ushering in a new age of information and the applications for the satellite industry are vast. AI can generate efficiencies throughout the satellite life cycle, from manufacturing to operations, which may be key as constellations will vastly increase the number of satellites in space in the coming years. And as Earth Observation (EO) satellites continue to capture higher levels of resolution, AI can transform how data is processed both in space, and on Earth, increasing the speed at which insights can be delivered to customers. In this round-up, industry leaders from companies like Airbus, Relativity Space, and Hypergiant share how they are using Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning (ML) to increase space capabilities and make a difference in the satellite industry.
AI Enables LatConnect 60 to Deliver Earth Observation Insights in Real Time
At LatConnect 60, we see a tremendous opportunity to use Artificial Intelligence onboard our satellites to enable near real-time collection and delivery of Earth Observation insights at scale. Our patented Machine Learning algorithms can be applied on-orbit to detect an anomaly and trigger a response. Autonomous responses could include tasking another imaging satellite to collect imagery at a particular timestamp or coordinate a co-collection activity of different data types at the same area of interest. Tasking commands and data collected would be relayed via inter-satellite communications links. Our on-board AI will be able to select the most optimal data link. With sufficient on-board processing hardware on each satellite, our algorithms can process, classify or fuse large volumes of data on-orbit to provide insights directly to end users when they need it. We are seeing significant interest in this capability from government and commercial clients. There will be a greater industry focus on delivering outcomes from smart satellites over the coming years.
— Venkat Pillay, CEO of LatConnect 60
The Governor received Rueben Rajasingam and Mick Bolto from LatConnect 60
1 Sep, 2020
Rueben Rajasingam and Mick Bolto, Latconnect 60
The Governor met with Mr Rueben Rajasingam, Co-Founder of LatConnect 60 and Mr Mick Bolto, Chairman.
LatConnect 60 have based their headquarters in Perth to take advantage of the emerging space innovation hub. LatConnect 60 is collaborating with satellite partner York Space Systems and Curtin University, which will develop local capability in WA. The Intelligent Sensing and Perception Group at Curtin University, are developing new algorithms to exploit rapid advances in AI, Internet of Things and embedded systems, which underpin the signal processing and data analytics onboard the new satellites (due for launch in June 2021).
Towards a sovereign space capability for Australia’s defence
3 Aug 2020
Strategic update 2020
As Australia’s defence establishment moves on from a perception of space capability as simply an adjunct to terrestrial forces, the 2020 defence strategic updateand its companion force structure plan have formally recognised the domain’s importance.
That brings an appreciation that space is now central to modern joint and integrated warfighting and, with growing counter-space challenges from potential adversaries such as China and Russia, it’s a warfighting domain in its own right. It’s not a sanctuary that sits serene and untouched by geopolitical rivalries below.
Boosting our space resilience in the face of increasing challenges is crucial. The force structure plan makes clear that the government wants communications satellites and ground stations under sovereign Australian control. Defence’s Joint Project 9102 will develop the next-generation Australian defence satellite communications system. The force structure plan highlights the importance of acquiring a sovereign space-based imagery capability under Defence Project 799, phase 2. It also re-emphasises the need for ‘space domain awareness’ and notes that Australia hosts a US surveillance telescope and C-band radar at Exmouth in Western Australia.
But it goes further than the language of the2016 white paper, noting that ‘Defence will need capabilities that directly contribute to warfighting outcomes in the space domain using terrestrial and/or space-based systems’. This is an important step, because it shows that Defence accepts that space is contested and is no longer making the assumption that it will always have access to space capabilities.
The plan states that the government intends to develop ‘options to enhance ADF space control through capabilities to counter emerging space threats to Australia’s free use of the space domain and that assure our continued access to space-based intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance’.
The term ‘space control’ is important. However, Defence is yet to release an unclassified space strategy that defines key terms. The most comprehensive Defence statement on space is Australian Defence Doctrine Publication 3.18, which isn’t released to the public. Without a credible and accessible Defence space strategy, there’s an information vacuum underpinning high-level defence policy on space that needs to be addressed, particularly when terms such as ‘space control’ are used.
ADDP 3.18 talks about space control along similar lines to the US definition, with additional satellite constellations being deployed for defensive purposes as needed, and the use of many smaller, cheaper satellites for general space support.
Also important is an ability to rapidly reconstitute space capability that has been destroyed by and adversary.
So how can we best protect ourselves in space?
A likely approach would be to build resilient multi-mission space capabilities. That’s already a key focus of the Defence Science and Technology strategy 2030, and it’s one that would open up opportunities for Australia’s vibrant commercial space sector. Investing in a sovereign capability that allows us to augment existing space systems, spread our space support over large numbers of small satellites that are less vulnerable, and invest in rapid reconstitution capability are sensible steps to consider.
There’s a case for a ‘high–low’ mix, buying high-end satellites from allies, but complementing them with the ‘small, many and cheap’ approach used by commercial systems.
The building of a sovereign satellite capability is already underway. Earth-observation start-up LatConnect 60 in Western Australia, in collaboration with York Space Systems, is set to manufacture a constellation of three satellites that combine radio-frequency sensors and multispectral imaging cameras. The first is to be launched in 2021. The combination of radio-frequency detection and earth imaging would provide rapid intelligence support for both Defence and the private sector.
This example, and other projects underway across the commercial space sector, show that a rapid Space 2.0 approach based on commercial space technology support for government mission requirements can reduce the time it takes to acquire and deploy a credible space capability. The force structure plan suggests acquisition of a sovereign satellite imagery capability from 2020 through to 2040. That’s too slow.
Speed matters, and a slow, government-run acquisition process in the face of rapid development of offensive capabilities by potential adversaries—a space equivalent of the acquisition of the Attack-class submarines—is the wrong approach.
What’s needed is rapid acquisition of low-cost space capability and further investment in small satellite technologies. The LatConnect 60 and York Space Systems collaboration is a good model for Defence to embrace. More capable space technology is coming in increasingly smaller and cheaper packages. With that in mind, the government should talk to Australian commercial space start-ups about JP-9102 and DEF-799 and how they can contribute.
Of course, what’s missing from the strategic update and the force structure plan is responsive space launch. If Australia truly wants a sovereign space capability, it has to be able to replace its satellite systems, especially if it wants to ensure access in a contested space domain.
It can’t do that if it has to wait months for an overseas provider to launch satellites on its behalf. The update and the plan missed the opportunity to embrace that next step.
Had the authors been just a bit bolder, they could have strengthened the commercial sector’s confidence to pursue space access. Having Australian-built satellites launching from Australian launch vehicles on Australian launch sites to rapidly assure space capabilities for the ADF is an obvious next step forward for Defence.
Australian-based company LatConnect 60 announced Tuesday (7 July) a global space partnership to build and deploy a smart satellite constellation over Australian skies to help the Australian government and commercial clients monitor and protect their interests in the region. The announcement comes amid rising global tensions, with the Australian prime minister last week announcing a A$1.35 billion response to a major cyber-attack targeting Australia by a state-based actor. With plans to launch in June 2021, the new low earth orbit smart satellite constellation will provide close to real-time data on request to clients giving Australia a boost to its strategic observation capabilities.
The key industries set to benefit from access to the new RF Signal Intelligence and High Resolution Multispectral Imaging include government security and intelligence agencies; as well as mining, oil and gas; agriculture; and maritime. Potential examples of use are maritime surveillance, resource exploration, and crop yield and change detection in farming.
LatConnect 60 Founder and CEO Venkateshwara Pillay.
LatConnect 60 Founder and CEO, Venkat Pillaysaid: “The reality is until now Australia has had to rely on overseas providers for access to critical earth observation data. COVID-19, coupled with rising global tensions, has made governments and companies take a closer look at the technologies they need and who they can rely on to provide those technologies in a crisis. Australia is too reliant on overseas companies for observation data and that data is not exclusive or secure.” LatConnect 60 also announced a new security partnership withProximaX, who will use a combination of two-layer encryption, de-centralised storage and blockchain technology to encrypt and secure all data captured by LatConnect 60 satellites to ensure it is resilient to attack. “We are excited to be working with ProximaX.
Their sophisticated encryption and de-centralised data storage architecture is combined with blockchain technology to thwart cyberattacks, ensuring the data we collect will remain protected from the types of hostile attacks that the Australian Government is facing,” Pillay said.
LatConnect 60’s smart satellite constellation offers a valuable service differentiator in the geospatial market by collecting high-resolution Earth Observation (EO) imagery products and RF signal intelligence at the same timestamp, and processing it on-orbit with machine learning capabilities to make sense of the data. “Our competitors have launched expensive multi-purpose satellites not tailored to the Australian market. What sets our patent-pending technology apart is that it is fit for purpose and as a result our services are more flexible, more reliable but also more affordable while providing the same quality, if not better, imaging,” Pillay said.
LatConnect 60 has chosen to set up its headquarters in Perth, while it is also plugged into the growing South Australian space ecosystem and is a start-up member of theSmartSat Cooperative Research Centre based in Adelaide. “We have based our headquarters in Perth to take advantage of the space innovation hub which is coming to life thanks to the WA government’s recent investment and leadership in developing these technologies which will provide the jobs of the future,” Pillay said.
LatConnect 60 is collaborating with satellite partnerYork Space Systems and Perth’sCurtin University, which will develop local capability in WA. Professors Ba-Ngu Vo and Ba Tuong Vo, from the Intelligent Sensing and Perception (ISP) Group at Curtin University, have been selected as the main research partners with LatConnect 60: “The ISP Group is developing new algorithms to exploit rapid advances in AI, IoT and embedded systems, which are expected to underpin the signal processing and data analytics onboard the new satellites,” said Ba-Ngu Vo.
LatConnect 60 has ambitious plans to cement Australia’s position as a major player in the growing space economy, initially supplying its services to Australian clients before expanding across the region and the globe as it scales up its satellite constellation and product applications. Founded by Venkat Pillay and Rueben Rajasingam, the leadership team at LatConnect 60 brings with it an impressive track record, having worked with the likes of NASA, the Canadian and European space programs, CSIRO and BHP Billiton.
SINGAPORE / AUSTRALIA, 24 JUNE 2020 –LatConnect 60, is working with ProximaX to develop an agriculture sector use case for blockchain-based parametric insurance, enabled by high resolution satellite Earth Observation (“EO”) data. LatConnect 60, an Australian company, is in the business of providing cost effective high resolution satellite imagery and radio frequency (“RF”) signal intelligence data.
Climate and natural disasters such as cyclones, droughts, heat waves, floods, earthquakes, and wildfires impact many countries and aspects of development. Furthermore, global climate changes and tectonic shifts are increasingly impacting these disasters more severely. Consequently, disaster insurance such as parametric insurance for sovereign governments, and microinsurance for the poor, are emerging as financial products to mitigate the socio-economic impacts of climate disasters.
Despite the urgency for parametric insurance however, there remain major hurdles to its widespread adoption. These hurdles include inefficient claim administration as well as a lack of relevant data. Therefore, insurance providers have been reluctant to invest in scaling these products.
The LatConnect 60 – ProximaX partnership will see the development of a blockchain-based parametric insurance solution that is enabled by satellite-based EO data thus removing these inefficiencies by:
automating the entire insurance cycle with Supercontracts (enhanced smart contracts);
increasing transparency with a secure, and immutable distributed ledger;
storage of satellite imagery and data using two-layer blockchain and encryption solution on-board LatConnect 60’s satellites and at its ground stations to ensure resiliency of the satellite EO data collected against cyber attacks; and
aggregating and transferring insurance data to the public domain.
Trusted data, which is essential for pricing risks and for establishing pay-outs, can be obtained via LatConnect 60’s satellite-based EO data to provide an “oracle” feed for blockchain-based parametric insurance on the ProximaX Sirius platform.
The solution will draw on the full and unique features and functions of the ProximaX Sirius platform to include the use of their W3C compliant digital ID, distributed storage, Supercontracts, and the Sirius blockchain. This ensures a transparent, cost-effective and almost frictionless solution while the integrity of all data – from policies and payouts to know-your-counterpart (“KYC”) and anti-money laundering (“AML”) is assured. At a later stage, the Sirius video and messaging streaming service can be incorporated to provide specialized live streaming of imaging and processing data.
LatConnect 60 shall provide their expertise in owning and operating a low earth orbiting (“LEO”) smart satellite constellation which they will be launching in 2021. Their solutions include the use of artificial intelligence to autonomously geolocate and process RF signals identified in order to trigger its imaging payload and any other secondary payloads. Data collected will be processed and delivered to end users in an Activity Intelligence Report.
Insurance plays a major role in offsetting negative financial impacts when disasters strike. It is hoped that the introduction of this blockchain-based parametric insurance solution will reduce risk exposure, increase financial resilience for individuals, mitigate the socio-economic effects of climate change across communities, and assist countries in recovering from natural disasters.
About LatConnect 60
LatConnect 60 is an Australian company founded in Perth, Western Australia that provides vital insights for our world. LatConnect 60 is launching its own Low Earth Orbit (“LEO”) smart satellite constellation which will have a global service reach.
Its smart satellite constellation offers a valuable service differentiator in the geospatial market by collecting high resolution Earth Observation (“EO”) imagery products and radio frequency (“RF”) signal intelligence at the same timestamp, and processes it on-orbit with machine learning capabilities to make sense of this data.
LatConnect 60 serves government and commercial clients by providing greater control, exclusivity and flexibility of critical EO data products and analytics services, in an affordable and accessible manner. It has developed significant patented IP in this domain and is working with leading Australian research and development institutions to deploy its innovative EO analytics capabilities both on-orbit and in the field.
ProximaX is a blockchain-based infrastructure and development platform project that combines blockchain technology with distributed service layers. It integrates blockchain with distributed and decentralized storage, streaming, database, and Supercontract (enhanced smart contract) service layers to create an all-in-one, easy-to-use platform. ProximaX is built for scalability and can include more services in the future without compromising on performance. It is a unique enterprise-grade platform developed on proven technologies and is available in a private, public, and hybrid network configuration.
ProximaX’s extensive utility and flexibility can be used for a wide range of use cases that include, but are not limited to, W3C compliant digital identity, KYC, video streaming and chat, IoT and robotics, big data and AI, records and reporting, business continuity, legal and notary services, medical records, land registry, capital markets, e-payments and core banking, and supply chain management.
SAN FRANCISCO – Australian Earth observation startup LatConnect 60 announced plans June 9 to hire York Space Systems to manufacture small satellites and to operate its Earth observation constellation.
LatConnect 60, a company founded in 2019, plans to launch its first satellite in 2021 and to establish an initial constellation of three satellites with multiple payloads, including radio frequency detection sensors and multispectral imaging cameras.
By relying on artificial intelligence, each LatConnect 60 satellite will be “able to autonomously geolocate and process RF signals identified in order to trigger its imaging payload and any other secondary payloads” to collect data, according to a June 9 news release. Data collected will be “fused and delivered to end users in an Activity Intelligence Report,” the release added.
“We strongly believe in LatConnect 60’s mission, especially as it serves to help national security surveillance efforts by the Australian government,” Dirk Wallinger, York Space Systems CEO, said in a statement. “We are eager to work with their team on this constellation build out to not only further highlight our delivery times and competitive price points but to also be a part of the latest innovation in space.”
LatConnect 60 selected York for “their design methodology, delivery and mission services plan,” LatConnect 60 CEO Venkat Pillay said in a statement. He also praised “York’s fast delivery time, which is well under nine months to orbit and at an attractive price point.”
York Space Systems is expanding rapidly. The company, which seeks to mass manufacture small satellites for commercial and government customers, unveiled a manufacturing facility in Denver in May that is three times the size of its previous plant.
LatConnect 60 is developing a small satellite constellation to provide “critical Earth observation data required by the Australian government and a wide range of commercial clients across the world,” according to the news release.
The LatConnect 60 website advertises: “high resolution satellite imagery and RF signal intelligence data collected concurrently multiple times a day from low earth orbit over Australia, Asia Pacific, Middle East, Africa, Europe and Americas.”