Bronco Space’s flagship program, BroncoSat-1, is a small satellite scheduled for launch into Low Earth Orbit on a SpaceX Falcon 9 in Mid-2022. Despite the odds of the COVID-19 pandemic, this mission will have gone from conception in 2020 to delivery in 2021 in record time thanks to the indomitable efforts of an interdisciplinary team of over 30 undergraduates.
Once launched, this satellite shall be a landmark proof of concept in demonstrating the use of a dedicated and Commercial Off The Shelf (COTS) platform for Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) in the New Space Industry.
Left: BroncoSat-1, a 1.5U CubeSat Technology Demonstrator
Below Background: BroncoSat-1 Fit Testing in a Mock Deplorer
A simple and robust design, flying proven hardware at its core, this mission opens the door for bridging the gap between the Silicon Valley’s Internet of Things (IoT) and the shores of the Cosmic Ocean in the rapidly expanding commercial spaceflight industry. By enabling Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to fly on Cube Satellites, a new wave of advanced data analytics, geographical study, and exploration of the great unknowns, with swarm operations, will be just over the horizon.
The BroncoSat-1 group also prides its collaborative spirit with an international community of student led University Cube Satellite developers. With regular technical exchanges with fellow student groups at Tier 1 research universities like UCLA, UC Berkeley, and Stanford the work being done by the CPP team has broad impacts on the next generation of scientists and engineers entering the New Space Industry.
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To prove Artificial Intelligence capability, BroncoSat-1 shall quantify the performance of NVIDIA’s Commercial Off The Shelf Jetson platform on orbit, in comparison with terrestrial performance. This mission will also test a custom Computer Vision Algorithm for the geolocation and analyzation of Earth Imagery onboard the satellite. Such an algorithm will be the cornerstone of future scientific surveys of our planet from space, using fleets of small satellites to deliver unprecedented coverage and understanding of our rapidly changing world.
With advisement from NASA Goddard’s Ocean Color division and NOAA’s Coast Watch this demonstration is tailored to address the needs of some of the leading experts in Earth Observation.
Right: BroncoSat-1 Fit Testing in a Mock Deplorer
Below: BroncoSat-1 Aug. 2021 Design - Exploded View