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Primeur weekly 2020-01-13

Focus

Ambitious plans for e-IRG, EOSC and EuroHPC under Croatian EU Presidency - Interview with Ivan Maric, SRCE, Croatia ...

Quantum computing

Delta partners with IBM to explore quantum computing - an airline industry first ...

IBM working with over 100 organisations to advance practical quantum computing ...

New quantum loop provides long national testbed for quantum communication technology ...

The case of the elusive Majorana: The so-called 'angel particle' is still a mystery ...

World's first quantum-safe connected car secured by ISARA ...

Georgia Tech collaborates with IBM to develop software stacks for quantum computers ...

New York University partners with IBM to explore quantum computing for simulation of quantum systems and advancing quantum education ...

Focus on Europe

Barcelona Supercomputing Center coordinates the manufacture of the first open source chip developed in Spain ...

Atos empowers researchers at the University of Luxembourg with its BullSequana XH2000 supercomputer ...

Solemn inauguration of the HLRN-IV system ...

The European Commission is looking for IT specialists in HPC, Quantum, Infrastructure and Cloud ...

Dr. Alice-Agnes Gabriel wins 2020 PRACE Ada Lovelace Award for HPC ...

Middleware

Altair acquires newFASANT, further expanding high-frequency electromagnetics portfolio ...

Hardware

ECMWF signs contract with Atos for new supercomputer ...

World High Performance Computing (HPC) markets to 2025 - AI, IoT, and 5G will be major drivers for HPC growth as they facilitate the need to process vast amounts of data ...

IDC MarketScape names WekaIO as a major player in file-based storage ...

200G HDR InfiniBand to accelerate the new European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) supercomputer ...

Applications

Frederick National Laboratory part of SC19 "Best Paper" team ...

Hyperion Research expands its analyst team ...

Supercomputer simulations showcase novel planet formation models ...

Satellite constellations harvest energy for near-total global coverage ...

Exploring the 'dark side' of a single-crystal complex oxide thin film ...

Sublimation, not melting: Graphene surprises researchers again ...

Persistence of gut microbial strains in twins, living apart after cohabitating for decades ...

Kun Sun and Sushil Jajodia receive funding for subcontract agreement ...

Decrappifying brain images with deep learning ...

Xylem expands regional headquarters in Singapore with new Technology Hub ...

The Cloud

Intel brings innovation to life with intelligent tech spanning the Cloud, network, edge and PC at CES 2020 ...

Los Alamos National Laboratory joins IBM Q Network to explore quantum computing algorithms and education outreach ...

Satellite constellations harvest energy for near-total global coverage


Patrick Reed collaborated with researchers from The Aerospace Corporation to determine the right combination of factors that would enable a four-satellite constellation to maintain nearly continuous 24/7 coverage of almost every point on Earth. Credit: The Aerospace Corporation.
10 Jan 2020 Ithaca - Think of it as a celestial parlor game: What is the minimum number of satellites needed to see every point on Earth? And how might those satellites stay in orbit and maintain continuous 24/7 coverage while contending with Earth's gravity field, its lumpy mass, the pull of the sun and moon, and pressure from solar radiation?

In the mid-1980s, researcher John E. Draim proposed what is generally considered to be the ideal solution: a four-satellite constellation. However, the amount of propellant needed to keep the satellites in place, and the ensuing cost, made the configuration unfeasible.

Now, a National Science Foundation-sponsored collaboration led by Patrick Reed, the Joseph C. Ford Professor of Engineering, has discovered the right combination of factors to make a four-satellite constellation possible, which could drive advances in telecommunication, navigation and remote sensing. And in an ingenious twist, the researchers accomplished this by making the forces that ordinarily degrade satellites instead work in their favour.

"One of the interesting questions we had was, can we actually transform those forces? Instead of degrading the system, can we actually flip it such that the constellation is harvesting energy from those forces and using them to actively control itself?" Patrick Reed stated.

Their paper, " Low Cost Satellite Constellations for Nearly Continuous Global Coverage ", has been published January 10 inNature Communications.

The AI-based evolutionary computing search tools that Patrick Reed has developed are ideally suited for navigating the numerous complications of satellite placement and management.

For this project, Patrick Reed collaborated with researchers from The Aerospace Corporation, combining his algorithmic know-how with the company’s expertise in cutting-edge astrophysics, operational logistics and simulations.

In order to sift through the hundreds of thousands of possible orbits and combinations of perturbations, the team used the Blue Waters supercomputer at University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Blue Waters compressed 300 or 400 years' worth of computational exploration into the equivalent of roughly a month of actual computing, Patrick Reed said.

They winnowed their constellation designs to two models that could orbit for either a 24- or 48-hour period and achieve continuous coverage over 86% and 95% of the globe, respectively. While 100% performance coverage would be ideal in theory, the researchers found that sacrificing only 5%-14% created greater gains in terms of harvesting energy from the same gravitational and solar radiation forces that would normally make a satellite constellation short lived and difficult to control.

The trade-off is worth it, Patrick Reed said, especially since satellite operators could control where the gaps in coverage would occur. Outages in these low-priority regions would last approximately 80 minutes a day, at most, in the worst-case scenario.

"This is one of those things where the pursuit of perfection actually could stymie the innovation", Patrick Reed stated. "And you’re not really giving up a dramatic amount. There might be missions where you absolutely need coverage of everywhere on Earth, and in those cases, you would just have to use more satellites or networked sensors or hybrid platforms."

Using this type of passive control could potentially extend a constellation's lifespan from five years to 15 years. These satellites would require less propellant and would float at higher elevations, removing them from the risky high-traffic zone of low Earth orbit. But perhaps the biggest selling point is the low cost. Commercial interests or countries without the financial resources to launch a large constellation of satellites could attain near-continuous global coverage very economically, with reduced long-term technical overhead.

"Even one satellite can cost hundreds of millions or billions of dollars, depending on what sensors are on it and what its purpose is. So having a new platform that you can use across the existing and emerging missions is pretty neat", Patrick Reed stated. "There's a lot of potential for remote sensing, telecommunication, navigation, high-bandwidth sensing and feedback around the space, and that's evolving very, very quickly. There's likely all sorts of applications that might benefit from a long-lived, self-adapting satellite constellation with near global coverage."

The paper's lead author is Lake Singh with The Aerospace Corporation. Researchers from the University of California, Davis, also contributed.

"We leveraged Aerospace's constellation design expertise with Cornell's leadership in intelligent search analytics and discovered an operationally feasible alternative to the Draim constellation design", stated Lake Singh, systems director for The Aerospace Corporation's Future Architectures department. "These constellation designs may provide substantive advantages to mission planners for concepts out at geostationary orbits and beyond."

The research was supported by the National Science Foundation.
Source: Cornell University

Back to Table of contents

Primeur weekly 2020-01-13

Focus

Ambitious plans for e-IRG, EOSC and EuroHPC under Croatian EU Presidency - Interview with Ivan Maric, SRCE, Croatia ...

Quantum computing

Delta partners with IBM to explore quantum computing - an airline industry first ...

IBM working with over 100 organisations to advance practical quantum computing ...

New quantum loop provides long national testbed for quantum communication technology ...

The case of the elusive Majorana: The so-called 'angel particle' is still a mystery ...

World's first quantum-safe connected car secured by ISARA ...

Georgia Tech collaborates with IBM to develop software stacks for quantum computers ...

New York University partners with IBM to explore quantum computing for simulation of quantum systems and advancing quantum education ...

Focus on Europe

Barcelona Supercomputing Center coordinates the manufacture of the first open source chip developed in Spain ...

Atos empowers researchers at the University of Luxembourg with its BullSequana XH2000 supercomputer ...

Solemn inauguration of the HLRN-IV system ...

The European Commission is looking for IT specialists in HPC, Quantum, Infrastructure and Cloud ...

Dr. Alice-Agnes Gabriel wins 2020 PRACE Ada Lovelace Award for HPC ...

Middleware

Altair acquires newFASANT, further expanding high-frequency electromagnetics portfolio ...

Hardware

ECMWF signs contract with Atos for new supercomputer ...

World High Performance Computing (HPC) markets to 2025 - AI, IoT, and 5G will be major drivers for HPC growth as they facilitate the need to process vast amounts of data ...

IDC MarketScape names WekaIO as a major player in file-based storage ...

200G HDR InfiniBand to accelerate the new European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) supercomputer ...

Applications

Frederick National Laboratory part of SC19 "Best Paper" team ...

Hyperion Research expands its analyst team ...

Supercomputer simulations showcase novel planet formation models ...

Satellite constellations harvest energy for near-total global coverage ...

Exploring the 'dark side' of a single-crystal complex oxide thin film ...

Sublimation, not melting: Graphene surprises researchers again ...

Persistence of gut microbial strains in twins, living apart after cohabitating for decades ...

Kun Sun and Sushil Jajodia receive funding for subcontract agreement ...

Decrappifying brain images with deep learning ...

Xylem expands regional headquarters in Singapore with new Technology Hub ...

The Cloud

Intel brings innovation to life with intelligent tech spanning the Cloud, network, edge and PC at CES 2020 ...

Los Alamos National Laboratory joins IBM Q Network to explore quantum computing algorithms and education outreach ...