ESA title


Space Segment
  • Platform
  • Payload
Data Segment
  • Data Processing & Visualisation
  • Data Analytics, Insights & Applications
  • De-risking
AI-express (AIX) implements a testbed for the exploitation of state-of-the-art technologies in the space environment targeting reactivity, responsiveness, and low-latency. This includes Artificial Intelligence (AI) with dedicated processing units and Blockchain. AIX offers a hybrid edge ecosystem based on an orbiting platform that provides EO payloads, ready-to-deploy CubeSats and a software framework infrastructure. This infrastructure implements services and offers an abstraction layer towards sensors and on-board resources.
Objectives of the Product

AIX brings a new satellite as-a-service concept to the market and makes on-demand, in-orbit resources such as data and actionable information available to users.

Customers can exploit the desired custom set of components, configuring their own acquisition/processing workflow and their own system’s configuration. The system will:

  • Support AI-experienced users in testing their algorithms and techniques into a real EO case, with resources and payloads available on-demand.
  • Ease developers in on-board software implementation and re-use.

To summarise, AIX enables customer-driven capabilities such as need-focused data gathering which reduces costs and barriers to access space.

The main innovations of AIX are:

  • A technological framework composed of hardware, software and services. These provide a set of basic and advanced building blocks that AI applications can be built upon. In other words, a testbed for AI.
  • An infrastructure of on-demand space services composed of in-orbit and ground facilities, founded on Blockchain technologies.
  • A suite of tools supporting the commercial evolution of space and “NewSpace Economy”.

On-the-fly configurable services able to monitor areas and topics of interest, detect changes and raise alarms in response to specific data processing. This is supported in the framework by AI-based algorithms and tools.

Customers and their Needs

Space missions are rapidly evolving with the NewSpace approach, less access barriers, and huge data availability.

Customers are focused on their core business process and need the right information, at the right time, in the right place. AIX call this paradigm SpaceStream, where many steps of the EO value chain are shifted from ground to space to transform sensed data into actionable knowledge.

SpaceStream identifies a need for new operational concepts that can implement novel technologies and approaches to shorten development cycles at the mission design stage.

By making satellite assets available as a service, AIX offers customers on-board EO applications based on AI and Blockchain technologies. Customers provide their use cases and system validation by contributing to the system and service design.

Targeted customer/users countries


Product description

 The AIX hybrid edge ecosystem includes:

  • An orbiting platform, based on D-Orbit’s ION Carrier, providing hosted payloads and ready-to-deploy CubeSats
  • A software framework infrastructure that implements services and provides an abstraction layer towards sensors and on-board resources
  • A catalogue of on-board resources including hardware and software components as well as complete CubeSats in standard configurations
  • An “app-store” catalogue of processing functions and application algorithms based on AI
  • On-board service configuration
  • CubeSats deployment on-demand
  • Support service to custom design needs
  • Ground Segment support services for operations.

These services will help users find innovative approaches in planning, tasking, data processing and communications.

Added Value

AIX provides a set of deeply configurable services that ensure it stands out from market competitors. These configurable services allow users to choose from pay-per-use to full missions as-a-service, evaluate new approaches to space missions and validate novel concepts in the real environment. Flexibility and configurability also allow for in-orbit test iteration and the fine-tuning of applications.

The AIX suite of in-orbit services offer unique features. These include tools that support EO data processing on the ground and during in-orbit tests, enabling automated and collaborative AI applications on-board. These applications are possible thanks to smart contracts and a Blockchain security infrastructure.

To conclude, AIX services provide users with technical flexibility, cost scalability, timeliness and risk reduction.

Current Status

On-going activities focus on the detailed system definition. Customer consultation workshops are ongoing, with trade-off analyses on the technological drivers and constraints running in parallel. This phase will produce the consolidated design, allowing for the high-performance computing platform prototypal implementations. It will also allow for the software framework and on-board services refinement.

Prime Contractor Company
Planetek Italia
Italy Flag Italy
Contractor Project Manager
Leonardo Amoruso
Via Massaua 12, 70132 Bari

+39 0809644200

ESA Technical Officer
Gianluca Furano

Current activities