We have just celebrated 5 years of existence. What a time it has been! Our story began in 2016 when 3 space enthusiasts decided to collaborate with the Engineers and Scientists from the Silesian University of Technology in Gliwice to create a company that would merge science with business to finally bring autonomy to demanding space missions. The space industry was for us not only our passion but also the opportunity to enter a niche market.
In the last five years, we have experienced fantastic growth and development. We have learnt a lot and have had the chance to work with and meet some amazing people. Each member of the KP Labs team has had a huge impact on the development of our company. We have perfected our products, clarified our vision and we have chartered a clear course for our future goals.
Initially, we had a very different vision for our company. We have come a long way from drones to phytoplankton applications to at last identifying and setting our strategy and focusing on the hardware, software and AI which turned out to be the highly innovative product line known as ‘Smart Mission Ecosystem’.
Now our main goal is to reduce mission operating costs by the usage of AI and autonomous solutions in space. Thanks to our Smart Mission Ecosystem, we also help our partners to focus on crisis management by responding quickly to a given incident (e.g. information about flooding or a spreading fire) and increase mission security by being able to use our subsystems to perform pre-integration of the satellite and use artificial intelligence to monitor its condition in space.
Therefore, it is time to take a moment and reflect on what we have achieved in the last 5 years and there has been so much of it…so we will only focus on the results of our work. What are they? See for yourself.
So – let’s get started with our top 10:
1 . We have successfully been working on 17 projects for a total of more than 10M EUR. The KP Labs team have completed 6 projects and 11 are in progress. The projects are in partnership with the following institutions: the European Space Agency (ESA), the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) and companies such as Future Processing S.A. (Poland), FP Instruments Sp. z o.o. (Poland), In-Space Services (Luxembourg), CGI (Italy), AAC Clyde Space (UK), OpenCosmos (UK), EIDEL (Norway), GSTS (Canada). Our projects are mainly focused on the building of our own satellite, development of satellite on-board computers and electronic satellite components as well as artificial intelligence algorithms used to increase the resolution of static images, processing of hyperspectral imagery, anomaly detection in telemetry, FDIR and… much more.
2. We have invested more than 5M EUR in our headquarters. By the end of 2021, our future R&D will be finished, including the laboratories for planning and mission control.
3. From a 3-person start, KP Labs has grown to more than 60 space enthusiasts who do not think that the sky is the limit. More than 15% of our team hold a PhD title or higher.
4. The ambitions of our team directly result in scientific publications. We have published as many as 34 of them!
5. We have assisted in developing the first de-orbited satellite (in partnership with PW-Sat2)! KP Labs’ programming team uploaded a new version of the software controlling the PW-Sat2 satellite – the fourth Polish object in space. The goal of the mission, which started in 2018, was to test an original de-orbit mechanism (“a sail”) whose purpose was to expedite the disposal of unutilized objects from the geocentric orbit, thus decreasing the amount of so-called “space debris.” As a result of the project, the satellite burned up in the Earth’s atmosphere during the night from the 22nd to the 23rd of February 2021.
6. Currently, we have 3 missions in progress (to be launched in 2022/2023):
- Intuition-1. Our flagship project. This mission aims to bring a satellite for Earth observation into low orbit, which, thanks to innovative solutions in the field of artificial intelligence (The Herd) and a tailor-made DPU for on-board processing (Leopard), will automate the process of obtaining images in orbit. Φ-SAT-2. The objective of this project is to develop a new generation Artificial Intelligence (AI) satellite mission for the European Space Agency – ESA.
- Φ-SAT-2 mission will be used to demonstrate the AI enabling capability for new useful and innovative EO techniques of relevance to EO user communities.
- PW-Sat 3. We signed a letter of intent with the Faculty of Power and Aeronautical Engineering at The Warsaw University of Technology regarding the new PW-Sat3 project. The PW-Sat3 mission will be equipped with our Antelope on-board computer and Oryx modular flight software, allowing quick integration with the satellite and remote reconfiguration during the mission.
7. And while we’re on the topic of Intuition –1…Work on it is in full swing. The planned launch date of the Intuition-1 satellite is 2022/2023. So far, we have tested the prototype of our computer for hyperspectral data processing (Leopard) in near-real conditions, we are designing the next generation of the computer-based on the results obtained, and we have developed most of the software, including neural networks for hyperspectral image analysis (multispectral, multidimensional). Last month our team started the assembly process of the optical instrument on our own alignment set. It was the next important milestone in the development of the Intuition-1 Hyperspectral Optical Instrument. Everything’s working well, so…stay tuned!
8. After a lengthy product development time and search for the perfect match, we have finally succeeded! We have created the perfect product synergy by developing the Smart Mission Ecosystem (SME), based on artificial intelligence, consisting of the algorithms, hardware and satellite software that will guarantee mission success.
10. We are also proud to have received awards for the following scientific activities:
- Our team won an award at the IEEE Geoscience and Remote Sensing Society 2020 Interactive Session Prize Paper Award at IEEE IGARSS.
- Jakub Nalepa – AI Department Head – has been awarded the prestigious scientific award 2020 in the ‘Technical Sciences’ category – Tygodnik Polityka.
- The Machine Learning team participated in 3 ESA challenges and were placed incredibly high at 6th and 7th out of almost 100 competing teams, a fantastic result! Currently, there are 2 more ahead of us – keep your fingers crossed!
Our 5 years of work culminated in a huge celebration – here are some pictures to illustrate that all this would not have happened if it were not for the best employees in the universe.
The KP Labs team is simply out of this world ;).