Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Managing Mission-critical Products in Flight (Literally!) with Ben Berry (#PNSQC2021 Live Blog)


Headshot of Ben Berry
This is an interesting area I had not considered.  Ben Berry is the CEO of AirShip Technologies Group. Their product is unmanned aerial vehicles. think drones that can reach heights to release and deploy satellites. 

These are the definition of mission-critical products. If they don't perform as required, catastrophe can result, either in space, on the ground, or anywhere in between. To say the software used in these capabilities is complex and has some very specific and demanding requirements is an understatement. 

To quote Ben:

"AirShip Technologies Group’s VX Unmanned Aerial System is a reusable air platform for high altitude, micro-rocket launch for payload placement of 5G communications in low earth orbit (LEO) of up to six nanosatellite (6.5 lbs. each) or 100 picosatellite (2.2 lbs. each), or 1,000 femtosatellite (0.22 lbs. each). The autonomous VX delivers communications technologies to improve Satellite Communications (SATCOM) link resilience, throughput, and reduced user equipment when compared to SpaceX."

Okay, wow... now that got my attention. I admit the thought of testing something like this would be both amazing and terrifying.

Let's think about how we might test the following:

- R&D focuses on scientific benefits and commercial applications of on-demand microSAT 5G communications deployment; 
- just-in-time launch capabilities for expanded 5G communications via miniaturized LEO satellites. 
- Design objectives include resilient, interconnected 5G mesh communications; 
- exploitation of ultimate high ground of space communications; 
- space empowered SATCOM link resilience; 
- strategic space force projection and operational agility; 
- communications via 100x factor 5G bandwidth; 
- Modular interoperability among microSATs for communications that meet growing bandwidth and resiliency requirements.

Mind blown? Yeah, so is mine!

Any time I tend to think I've had a chance to work on some complex projects, I see something like this and go "nope, noooope". This sounds incredibly daunting and yet there is a part of me that thinks testing something like this would be a total rush (LOL!). However, to quote Dirty Harry... "A [person] has to know their limitations." 

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