Session

Technical Session 7: Advanced Technologies I

Location

Utah State University, Logan, UT

Abstract

Using state-of-the-art artificial intelligence (AI)frameworks onboard spacecraft is challenging because common spacecraft processors cannot provide comparable performance to data centers with server-grade CPUs and GPUs available for terrestrial applications and advanced deep-learning networks. This limitation makes small, low-power AI microchip architectures, such as the Google Coral Edge Tensor Processing Unit (TPU), attractive for space missions where the application-specific design enables both high-performance and power-efficient computing for AI applications. To address these challenging considerations for space deployment, this research introduces the design and capabilities of a CubeSat-sized Edge TPU-based co-processor card, known as the SpaceCube Low-power Edge Artificial Intelligence Resilient Node (SC-LEARN). This design conforms to NASA’s CubeSat Card Specification (CS2) for integration into next-generation SmallSat and CubeSat systems. This paper describes the overarching architecture and design of the SC-LEARN, as well as, the supporting test card designed for rapid prototyping and evaluation. The SC-LEARN was developed with three operational modes: (1) a high-performance parallel-processing mode,(2)a fault-tolerant mode for onboard resilience, and (3) a power-saving mode with cold spares. Importantly, this research also elaborates on both training and quantization of TensorFlow models for the SC-LEARN for use onboard with representative, open-source datasets. Lastly, we describe future research plans, including radiation-beam testing and flight demonstration.

Available for download on Saturday, August 07, 2021

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Aug 10th, 12:00 PM

NASA SpaceCube Edge TPU SmallSat Card for Autonomous Operations and Onboard Science-Data Analysis

Utah State University, Logan, UT

Using state-of-the-art artificial intelligence (AI)frameworks onboard spacecraft is challenging because common spacecraft processors cannot provide comparable performance to data centers with server-grade CPUs and GPUs available for terrestrial applications and advanced deep-learning networks. This limitation makes small, low-power AI microchip architectures, such as the Google Coral Edge Tensor Processing Unit (TPU), attractive for space missions where the application-specific design enables both high-performance and power-efficient computing for AI applications. To address these challenging considerations for space deployment, this research introduces the design and capabilities of a CubeSat-sized Edge TPU-based co-processor card, known as the SpaceCube Low-power Edge Artificial Intelligence Resilient Node (SC-LEARN). This design conforms to NASA’s CubeSat Card Specification (CS2) for integration into next-generation SmallSat and CubeSat systems. This paper describes the overarching architecture and design of the SC-LEARN, as well as, the supporting test card designed for rapid prototyping and evaluation. The SC-LEARN was developed with three operational modes: (1) a high-performance parallel-processing mode,(2)a fault-tolerant mode for onboard resilience, and (3) a power-saving mode with cold spares. Importantly, this research also elaborates on both training and quantization of TensorFlow models for the SC-LEARN for use onboard with representative, open-source datasets. Lastly, we describe future research plans, including radiation-beam testing and flight demonstration.