SGI Technology Powers Real-Time Data Processing Of Satellite Images For Astronautic Technology

The SGI-powered real-time data processing system was installed in July in preparation for the launch of the RazakSAT spacecraft. Currently, Malaysian agencies requiring satellite imagery rely upon image data and information provided by satellites manufactured and operated by foreign companies. Due to the orbit in which these satellites are located, the images provided are neither timely enough nor do they cater to Malaysia’s specific uses and needs. Malaysia’s own satellite is a highly specialised payload requiring high performance ground ingest and processing capabilities that will provide specific and timely data for its users in Malaysia as well as catering to the needs of other countries located on the equatorial belt.

The RazakSAT satellite will be operated through its ground station in Malaysia, consisting of a Mission Control Station (MCS) and Image Receiving and Processing Station (IRPS), where the SGI systems are housed. ATSB’s engineers are operators at the MCS and will execute RazakSAT’s mission plan, command generation and telemetry receiving, archiving and analysis. Using the SGI real-time image and data processing system, which includes an SGI Altix 350 server running Oracle as the database for their image processing application, the IRPS will receive images for archive, post-processing and distribution.

“The power of SGI Altix global shared-memory architecture is ideal for the data processing needs of high-resolution Earth imagery satellite data,” said Shamsulazwan Samsuddin, Spacecraft Engineer, Astronautic Technology. “By providing 64-bit processing power to model the sensors and re-sample all this data onto a geographic system, SGI technology optimises our application performance and interactivity for image manipulation and delivers real-time visualisation with large models and enormous data sets.”

The SGI system receiving and processing satellite image data in real time was developed to provide not only highly accurate image products but also systematic and automatic operation. The system is designed for multi-satellite data handling capability. ATSB selected SGI in part because of SGI’s history of powering and optimising satellite ground stations and easily expandable architecture, which includes 2TB of SGI InfiniteStorage that can grow with image and data requirements.

The development of the RazakSAT satellite system is a collaborative program between ATSB and SaTReC Initiative Co. Ltd., Republic of Korea. SaTReC Initiative provides a whole spectrum of Earth observation satellite systems including spacecraft buses, Earth observation payloads, communications equipment and satellite image receiving and processing systems. The overall objectives of the collaboration is to demonstrate indigenous spacecraft design and manufacturing competence, to get involved in all aspects of high-resolution image observations and processing in a near equatorial LEO orbit (NeqO) for a number of applications in developing countries, and to develop technology for future missions.

SaTReC uses a variety of off-the-shelf software and writes many in-house proprietary codes where much of the high-end value-added work for ATSB is produced. All the codes are written in an open system platform, which makes the Linux OS environment of the SGI Altix systems compatible with the requirements set by the company. Additionally, according to ATSB engineers, the SGI Altix system powered by Intel Itanium 2 processors has some of the best floating point performance relative to fixed-point performance of any general-purpose microprocessor for their floating-point based application.

“Astronautic Technology researched other vendors and determined SGI delivered the bandwidth, compute power, and real-time performance necessary to process large data sets from Malaysia’s first Earth-observation satellite,” said Nicholas K. C. Low, Country Sales Manager, Silicon Graphics Sdn. Bhd, SGI’s operating subsidiary. “SGI systems for satellite image processing are the choice of many government operations and universities throughout the world for their performance, reliability and security.”

SGI — Innovation for Results

SGI is a leader in high-performance computing. SGI delivers a complete range of high-performance server and storage solutions along with industry-leading professional services and support that enable its customers to overcome the challenges of complex data-intensive workflows and accelerate breakthrough discoveries, innovation and information transformation. SGI solutions help customers solve their computing challenges whether it’s enhancing the quality of life through drug research, designing and manufacturing safer and more efficient cars and airplanes, studying global climate, providing technologies for homeland security and defence, or helping enterprises manage large data. With offices world-wide, the company is headquartered in Sunnyvale, Calif.

(source: SGI)

Author: EARSC

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