C rowded orbits, fast-moving adversaries, the number of active satellites expected to grow to more than 60,000 by 2030—space leaders have a challenge only advanced AI can address. Space domain awareness, the practice of tracking and understanding factors that can affect U.S. space operations, requires integration and calculations beyond current capabilities. We find that a new approach, networking large language models (LLMs), can accelerate capabilities across an enterprise of global partners. The U.S. Needs to Move Faster in the New Space Race Once envisioned as a sanctuary for exploration and other peaceful pursuits, space is now increasingly “competitive, congested and contested.” Rival nations are developing anti-satellite tactics and weapons, militarizing the domain even as a new commercial space industry is booming— centered on initiatives from selling space data to building rockets to further NASA’s mission to Mars. Moreover, proliferated satellite constellations are being rapidly developed and launched in clusters. The first megaconstellation was launched in 2019; four years later, these groups already make up more than half of active satellites. A single network can contain hundreds or even thousands of satellites—most notably Starlink, which plans to expand its fleet to as many as 42,000. This significantly crowds a domain that has become critical for daily living. From national security to climate science, communications to traffic directions, we depend on satellite services to be there when we need them. All these dependencies create an urgency to adopt innovations and strategies that will ensure the U.S. and its allies stay at
Linking Large Language Models for Space Domain Awareness ADVANCING AI TO ENSURE FREEDOM AND SAFETY IN SPACE Ron Craig and Michelle Harper MISSION SPOTLIGHT: SPACE
As space capabilities continue to accelerate, risk will rise along with reward. Expected LAUNCHING AN ERA OF HIGHER RISK
satellite growth: The total number could top 60,000 by 2030. Estimated space junk : More than 100 trillion pieces may already be orbiting. Expanded risk : Even tiny paint flecks can damage a satellite.
the forefront of space—and knowing the location of space assets and their operators’ intent is foundational to that goal. Celestial Chess: A Life- or-Death Game Staggering as it is to contemplate a trillion objects traveling through space, the challenge isn’t just about the computational power required. It’s about transforming a process where operators manually track data on multiple screens into a system capable of integrating complex datasets, automating processes, and applying advanced algorithms to add a new level of precision—enabling predictive analytics and, ultimately, recommended courses of action.
SOURCES: Phys.org: “Scientists Call for Global Push to Eliminate Space Junk”; NASA.gov: "Space Debris and Human Spacecraft"
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