Experts: Software-Based Satellite Accessible to the Public via Smartphones

On April 8th, Zhao Junsuo, researcher of Institute of software, the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), and Secretary-General of the Software Defined Satellite Technology Alliance, pointed out that developing software-based satellite reduces the distance between the public and satellite, which can be easily accessed via smartphones.

Zhao Junsuo made the above statement in the Software-defined Satellite Summit Forum 2018 with the theme “Software-defined Satellite, Intelligence-leading aerospace” on the same day in Huairou, Beijing.

He introduced that, different from traditional satellite that is usually customized for single tasks and has a closed system with hardware not able to interchange or directly multiplex, software-defined satellite will build satellite open system architecture, which removes the tight coupling relation between hardware and software and allows independent evolving and fast iteration for on-board software and algorithms.

Software-defined satellite will reduce not only the distance between satellite and the public, but also the distance between satellite and the developers. It allows general programmers to develop and release on-board software, providing one-stop service for the development, debugging, testing, registration and in-orbit testing and verification of on-board APP.

At the same time, software-defined satellite can provide high-speed communications, precise navigation, time service for all around the world. It can also provide real-time observation of the Earth and outer space with a grand perspective and multi-dimensional refinement to realize monitoring of human activities, perception of changes in the Earth’s environment, and full control of the spatial situation.

Zhao Junsuo stated that the development of software-defined satellites will focus on computing, to build an open satellite system architecture and an open satellite ecosystem that is also open source. The satellite is to be viewed as a computer able to collect, store, process, send and receive data in space.

He brought up that the general idea of China’s development of software-defined satellite is to build the Tianzhi Nebulae test and control platform and TIanzhi Nebulae big data platform, and be able to process real-time information and store massive amount of data. Also, setting up the “aerospace application store” equips the intelligent satellite with abundant software to reconfigure as required, carry out different function and complete multiple tasks.