Developing AI-Powered Software for Detecting Hypersonic Missiles in Flight

The detection of hypersonic missiles, which travel at speeds of at least Mach 5, has become a critical task for defense systems around the world. The Space Development Agency (SDA), an organization within the U.S. Space Force, has taken on the challenge of developing a network of satellites in low Earth orbit to detect and track these advanced missile threats.

One of the key components of this effort is the development of advanced software capable of analyzing data collected by the satellite sensors. Enter California-based EpiSci, a company selected by the SDA to develop AI-powered software for detecting hypersonic missiles in flight. Under a $1.6 million two-year Small Business Innovation Research Phase 2 contract, EpiSci will test its software against data collected by low Earth orbit sensors.

The project, however, presents significant hurdles. One of the main challenges is maintaining custody of these fast-moving targets across vast distances. To address this issue, EpiSci is partnering with Raytheon Technologies, a defense contractor with expertise in missile defense simulations and data analysis.

The collaboration aims to develop precise tracking algorithms that can communicate the movement of hypersonic targets across multiple satellites. As Samuel Hess, the technical director at EpiSci, explains, “As the hypersonic target maneuvers in flight, it’s moving through different camera images, so how do you communicate that across the whole realm of satellites? That’s something that we need to work out.”

EpiSci, known for its expertise in AI for autonomous drones and enhancing combat pilots’ performance, will leverage Raytheon’s missile defense simulators for this project. They will start with data from one satellite and gradually incorporate more satellites into the simulations to demonstrate the effectiveness of their software algorithms.

The challenge for EpiSci lies in developing software that can accurately detect these small, fast-moving targets amidst the clutter of objects in the atmosphere, including commercial aircraft. The successful development of this AI-powered software could significantly enhance global missile detection capabilities and contribute to improved defense systems against hypersonic threats.

Hypersonic Missile Detection: FAQ Section

1. What is hypersonic missile detection?
Hypersonic missile detection refers to the task of identifying and tracking missiles that travel at speeds of at least Mach 5. These missiles pose a significant threat and require advanced defense systems to detect and counter them.

2. What is the Space Development Agency (SDA)?
The Space Development Agency (SDA) is an organization within the U.S. Space Force that is responsible for developing a network of satellites in low Earth orbit to detect and track hypersonic missile threats.

3. Who is EpiSci?
EpiSci is a California-based company that specializes in developing AI-powered software. They have been selected by the SDA to develop software for detecting hypersonic missiles in flight.

4. How is EpiSci developing the software?
EpiSci will test its software against data collected by low Earth orbit sensors. They will leverage their expertise in AI and partner with Raytheon Technologies, a defense contractor, to develop precise tracking algorithms.

5. What is the collaboration with Raytheon Technologies for?
The collaboration with Raytheon Technologies aims to develop tracking algorithms that can communicate the movement of hypersonic targets across multiple satellites. This is important because the targets maneuver in flight, and their movement needs to be accurately tracked.

6. What are the challenges in developing this software?
One of the main challenges is maintaining custody of the fast-moving targets across vast distances. EpiSci needs to develop algorithms that can detect these targets accurately amidst the clutter of objects in the atmosphere, including commercial aircraft.

7. How will EpiSci demonstrate the effectiveness of their software algorithms?
EpiSci will start with data from one satellite and gradually incorporate more satellites into the simulations. They will use Raytheon’s missile defense simulators to demonstrate the effectiveness of their software algorithms.

8. What are the potential benefits of this AI-powered software?
The successful development of this software could significantly enhance global missile detection capabilities and contribute to improved defense systems against hypersonic threats.

Definitions:
– Hypersonic: Refers to speeds that are at least Mach 5, which is five times the speed of sound.
– Low Earth Orbit: Refers to an orbit around the Earth at a relatively low altitude, typically between 160 and 2,000 kilometers.

Related Links:
Space Development Agency (SDA)
EpiSci
Raytheon Technologies