Space Exploration Technologies. has filed a patent for a satellite control system that can dynamically organize a cluster of satellites based on factors such as workload, movement, and energy issues. The system can provide access to compute resources, such as cloud services or data, and transmit data associated with the compute resources to user terminals. GlobalData’s report on Space Exploration Technologies gives a 360-degree view of the company including its patenting strategy. Buy the report here.

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According to GlobalData’s company profile on Space Exploration Technologies, V2V communication antennas was a key innovation area identified from patents. Space Exploration Technologies's grant share as of June 2023 was 1%. Grant share is based on the ratio of number of grants to total number of patents.

Satellite cluster for providing compute resources to user terminals

Source: United States Patent and Trademark Office(USPTO). Credit: Space Exploration Technologies Corp

A recently filed patent (Publication Number: US20230164089A1) describes a method for providing compute resources to user terminals via satellites. The method involves receiving a request for compute resources from a user terminal at a satellite control system on a satellite. The satellite then requests access to the compute resources from a computing environment configured on the satellite. Once access is granted, the satellite transmits data associated with the use of the compute resources back to the user terminal.

The computing environment on the satellite includes various components such as data storage, application operating on compute resources, access/control module, computer processors, endpoint-to-endpoint communication channel, and a user interface module. If the data is not stored on the satellite, the computing environment can request it from another computing environment on the satellite, a terrestrial source, or another satellite.

The method also involves identifying the computing environment on the satellite as either having the compute resources or being associated with a user account. Access to the compute resources is authorized by the computing environment, and it can be managed by a load balancing module that takes into account factors like energy balance among satellites, hardware temperatures, reboot events, and orbital parameters.

In another aspect of the patent, a method is described for clustering satellites to provide cloud-computing operations to user terminals. The satellites in a group receive data associated with their movement and use this data to cluster two or more satellites that can provide compute resources. A satellite associated with the cluster then receives a request for compute resources from a user terminal and provides access to the requested compute resources based on the request.

The patent also describes a satellite with a satellite control system, antenna, solar panel, battery, memory device, and a computing environment. The computing environment includes compute resources stored in the memory device, and when a user terminal requests a compute resource, the computing environment retrieves it from the memory device and provides the data to the satellite control system for transmission to the user terminal.

Overall, this patent proposes methods and systems for providing compute resources to user terminals via satellites, enabling efficient access to computing capabilities in remote locations or areas with limited terrestrial infrastructure.

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GlobalData Patent Analytics tracks bibliographic data, legal events data, point in time patent ownerships, and backward and forward citations from global patenting offices. Textual analysis and official patent classifications are used to group patents into key thematic areas and link them to specific companies across the world’s largest industries.