CTTC participates in a project to develop a tool to control next generation satellite systems using artificial intelligence


ATRIA project funded by the European Commission under Horizon 2020 Programme, officially started on April 1st as part of the H2020-SPACE-2020 project working on the topics of satellite communications. The project aims to build a generic and intelligent tool (AI-PCS) to control current satellite flexible payloads and their configurable traditional counterparts. Artificial Intelligence (AI) techniques will provide the tool with the sufficient intelligence to autonomously decide the optimum configuration of the available satellite resources for the on demand service requests.

A new generation of completely flexible satellites is currently about to take over the space segment market. These new satellites are provided with novel digital payloads whose cores are composed of complex digital transparent payloads (DTPs), making the satellite systems become softwarized objects. This evolution from traditional analog payloads to their new digital counterparts has been a consequence of the development of the technology, the emergence of new necessities and the corresponding commitment to the full replacement of custom hardware solutions by customizable software alternatives. While, in the past, the mission of a satellite was defined and fixed years before entering into service, and remained inalterable during its whole lifetime, currently, missions are aimed to be redefined on demand, even when the satellite is in orbit, via commands from the ground.

To tackle the mentioned new situation, ATRIA proposed tool is aimed to be a disruptive advance for the ground segment technologies due to several reasons. First, AI algorithms will aid the payload engineer in their indispensable role with regards to payload configuration, and ultimately automatize this task. Second, the AI algorithms and datasets will provide useful information to, not only autonomously optimize the satellite resources allocation, but also explore new capabilities for these complex payloads and take the most out of them. Last but not least, the tool is aimed to be generic, hence, transparent to the payload, providing added value to the proposed system and turning it into a cost-effective solution for satellite manufacturers. The lower cost of this proposed generic flexible payload management will increase the attractiveness of its standardization.

ATRIA tool will be validated on EUTELAT KONNECT satellite and in an emulator of EUTELSAT KONNECT VHTS.

CTTC contribution is focused on the design, development, and verification of new AI-based techniques for managing satellite flexible payloads. The research team is also involved in the roll out of the developed white-boxes in the operational ground control segment.

The project is coordinated by GMV Aerospace and Defence and brings together 7 partners from 4 countries with different areas of expertise for the development of AI-PCS and other relevant tasks for experimental implementation and demonstration of prototypes, collaboration with standards and the definition of a roadmap for the results generated.

The partners are Centre Tecnològic de Telecomunicacions de Catalunya (Spain), AIKO (Italy), Eutelsat (France), Skylogic (Italy), OHB System (Germany), Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits IIS (Germany).