Ireland Based Startup Integrates AI in CubeSats for Advance Space Missions

29 Mar 2023

Recently Ubotica, a Dublin-based space technology firm, launched CogniSAT-XE2, a platform for next-generation artificial intelligence (AI) in space.

Space tech has been evolving with technological advancements, such as advanced propulsion systems, robotics, AI, and nanotechnology.

The development of reusable rockets and spacecrafts, such as those made by SpaceX and Blue Origin, is reducing the cost of space travel and increasing its accessibility. 

Furthermore, the increasing use of CubeSats, which are miniaturized satellites based around a form factor consisting of 10 cm cubes and small satellites, is democratizing space research. 

The use of CubeSats enables new applications such as internet of things (IoT) connectivity, remote sensing, and precision agriculture.

The product developed by Ubotica is designed to enhance space system capabilities and enable autonomous decision-making. 

The Story-How it all started? 

In November of 2022, Ubotica teamed up with Open Cosmos, a UK-based satellite manufacturer, to launch an artificial intelligence (AI) integrated satellite into low earth orbit (LEO). 

The satellite was launched as part of the OpenConstellation project, which is a global satellite network created and managed by Open Cosmos.

The CogniSat-6 satellite, an AI cubesat with autonomous capabilities, was designed to carry a CogniSat edge computing platform to low-Earth orbit.

Through this joint space venture, they aimed to provide faster response times for certain satellite operations without the need for ground intervention.

This would result in higher-value data gathering and better investment returns. 

Ubotica Launched CogniSAT-XE2 in February 2023 

Ubotica unveiled its latest hardware platform on 22nd February 2023, the CogniSAT-XE2, which offers advanced artificial intelligence capabilities for space applications. 

The new platform is based on the existing CogniSAT technology provided by Ubotica and is compatible with small satellites like CubeSats while delivering higher performance per watt. 

The CogniSAT technology has already been employed in various space projects, including those of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA’s) Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the European Space Agency (ESA).

The CogniSAT-XE2 has a special mechanical and power system that improves its computing speed while using less energy, which allows it to analyze data from space quickly and efficiently, reducing the amount of data load sent back to Earth.

According to John Doody, VP Product at Ubotica, “CogniSAT-XE2 enhances the capabilities and autonomy of Earth Observation satellite constellations and can be dynamically upgraded based on operator need or the real-time analysis of sensor data.”

With the help of Intel’s Movidius Myriad X vision processing unit (VPU), the CogniSAT-XE2 is capable of deploying pre-trained OpenVINO models for deep learning and demo purposes.

Real-time navigation, collision avoidance assistance, image analysis, area of interest identification, and smart data management are all made possible by its AI capabilities. 

The CogniSAT-XE2 is set to fly on Ubotica's CogniSAT-6 mission, which is scheduled to launch in 2023.

Other Important Features of CogniSAT XE2

•    CogniSAT-XE2 has an integrated latch-up protection system, which helps to protect the product from damage caused by overvoltage or other electrical anomalies, and also includes an auto-restart function and a trip signal.
•    CogniSAT-XE2 includes a controller area network (CAN) interface, which is used for control and communication.
•    CogniSAT-XE2 has a CV (computer vision) and AI (artificial intelligence) engine, which can be used as a slave over USB 2.0/3.0 or Ethernet.
•    CogniSAT-XE2 includes an eMMC (embedded multimedia card) for non-volatile data storage.
•    CogniSAT-XE2 includes external power-down control, which can be used to shut down the product in the event of an emergency or other situation.
•    CogniSAT-XE2 has a mobile industry processor interface (MIPI) camera interface, which can be used for direct sensor connection.
•    CogniSAT-XE2 includes stackable 2x dual-row board-edge headers for power delivery and low-level control.


Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a powerful tool that has revolutionized space exploration and will continue to play a vital role in future missions.

AI has improved the effectiveness of advanced space missions by enabling real-time decision-making, autonomous operation, and efficient data analysis.

Whether you're a scientist, a government agency, or a space tech business, CogniSat XE2 can help you to gain valuable insights into the environment and make informed decisions based on satellite data. 

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