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Satellite Hypervisor


OBJECTIVE: Develop a space qualified hypervisor to support the virtualization of satellite payloads. DESCRIPTION: Defense and Intelligence community payload development for on-board processing has been traditionally hardware based. Hardware payloads, even reprogrammable solutions, tend to limit the utility of the space vehicle and require increased algorithm development effort, since hardware-related programming is required in order to benefit from the available processing speed. New mission demands and changes in spacecraft bus and sensor technologies drive up space acquisition costs and lengthen space system acquisition times. Virtualized payloads have the potential to increase the beneficial mission utility and life of space platforms while decreasing acquisition time and cost. In addition, a space qualified hypervisor or virtual machine monitor (VMM) has the potential to reduce the cost-to-entry barrier to space thereby expanding the space industrial base while providing an environment for commercially developed plug-and-play applications. PHASE I: Conduct feasibility studies, technical analysis and simulation, and conduct small scale proof of concept demonstrations of the proposed satellite hypervisor. Develop an initial conceptual approach to using a hypervisor to host a satellite"s virtualized mission payload(s) and include system estimates for mass, volume, power requirements, and duty cycles. Deliverables should include monthly status reports, feasibility demonstration reports and any hardware or software produced. PHASE II: Implement technology assessed in Phase I effort. The Phase II effort should include initial space qualified hypervisor designs, code, and breadboard validation in a laboratory environment. Initial technical feasibility shall be demonstrated, including a demonstration of hosting virtual payloads. Deliverables should include quarterly status reports, design documentation and any software or hardware produced. PHASE III: There is a perceived potential for commercialization of this technology. The primary customer for the proposed technology will initially be the Department of Defense, but there could also be other applications in the areas of commercial satellite communications. Also, commercial versions of the hypervisor could be produced for civilian and scientific applications. Commercial satellite manufacturers could incorporate them into a variety of commercial satellite systems for sale to various interested customers. Commercial companies could also provide competitively priced space hypervisor hosted applications, communications or remote sensing services to paying customers, including the national security community. The contractor shall finalize technology development of the proposed space hypervisor and begin commercialization of the product. In addition to military communications or intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) missions, commercial civilian applications for a space qualified hypervisor could include space-based satellite communications. Phase III should solidly validate the notion of a space qualified hypervisor with a low level of technological risk. The goal for full commercialization should ideally be Technology Readiness Level 9, with the actual system proven through successful mission operations. Specifically, Phase III should ultimately produce a hypervisor suitable for hosting space system payloads. The contractor must also consider manufacturing processes in accordance with the president"s Executive Order on"Encouraging Innovation in Manufacturing"to insure that the innovations developed under this SBIR can be readily manufactured and packaged for transportation and deployment. During Phase III, this capability could conceivably transition or expand to the appropriate division of Air Force Space Command upon full rate production and deployment. REFERENCES: 1) MCGLOUGHIN, I., BRENTSCHNIDER, T. 2010. Reliability Through Redundant Parallelism for Micro-Satellite Computing in ACM Transactions on Embedded Computing Systems, Vol. 9, No. 3, Article 26, Publication date: February 2010
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