The University of Strathclyde has been awarded funding from the UK Space Agency to develop AI technologies that will enhance space safety and sustainability. The money was awarded under the first phase of the UK Space Agency’s £20 million International Bilateral Fund investments, which is aimed at helping British organisations link up with the US, Canada, Australia, Japan, India, Singapore, South Africa and more to form collaborations that will progress space research and catalyse investment in new technologies.
The ultimate goal of the AI for Space Safety and Sustainability project is to set up an International Institute on AI for Space Safety and Sustainability that will accelerate the development of AI technologies from concept, at early technology readiness levels, to adoption in the space sector. Strathclyde will work with others including Arizona University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of Waterloo and Canadian company Columbiad Launch Services Inc to lay the foundations of such an Institute.
The project aims to demonstrate the impact of a selected number of emerging AI technologies on the sustainability of the space sector. This includes:
- Digital Operations Assistants
- Space Object Classification and Characterisation
- Space Object Behavioural Analysis
- Collision Avoidance Automation
- Autonomous Close Proximity Operations
However, there are many more areas of application in which AI can play a key role. Therefore, the project will begin with horizon scanning to establish which technologies can be adopted in the short term with maximum benefit to space sustainability. Some of those will then be taken forward with work to escalate their technology readiness levels and bring them closer to adoption.
Professor Massimiliano Vasile, Professor of Space Systems Engineering and Director of the Aerospace Centre of Excellence, in the Department of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering at Strathclyde, would like to invite members of GNOSIS with an interest in this area to participate in a short online survey on the technology readiness levels of various AI technologies with regards to space safety and sustainability.