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Friday, 25 April 2008 05:45

NASA Ames and M2MI team up for nanosatellites

NASA’s Ames Research Center announces that it will be developing tiny space-based satellites with M2MI Corporation for fifth-generation telecommunications and networking systems for the Internet.

The April 24, 2008 announcement from NASA is only the third time in NASA’s history that it has teamed up with a company for research and development work.

Nanosatellites, or often shortened to “nanosats,” are satellites that will weigh on Earth from eleven to one hundred ten pounds (five to fifty kilograms).

They will often times be placed in low-Earth orbit (LEO) as a group (what is called a “constellation”) of satellites. A constellation will provide a global high-speed network for data storage, communications, and Earth observations.

Although not designed as nanotechnology, nanosatellite-class devices are smaller-in-size than normal spacecraft.

For instance, NASA’s new “Mini AFRCam” robotic cameras are small, free flying space vehicles that are capable of performing inspections and visual sightings outside of the International Space Station and other larger NASA spacecraft.

These spherical-shaped cameras, with a diameter of only 7.5 inches (19 centimeters) and a weight on Earth of only ten pounds, will allow astronauts to observe the exterior of their spacecraft without themselves going outside on EVAs (extravehicular activities).

M2MI Corp., headquartered in NASA Research Park in Moffett Field, California, is the shortened form for the company’s name: Machine-to-Machine Intelligence Corporation. Its purpose is to provide global networks of computers and networked equipment for its partners.

On its website, it describes its products as: “Machines in an M2Mi environment interoperate seamlessly, because each is augmented with knowledge of its own behavior and can communicate with all others. Information, communication and intelligence enables global system awareness and adaptive control.”

Read what the bosses of Ames and M2MI have to say about the partnership.

For the NASA partnership with Ames Research Center, M2MI will provide fifth Generation, or 5G, devices that involve Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP), video, data, wireless, and an integrated machine-to-machine intelligence layer, or m2mi, for seamless information exchange and use.

According to the NASA news release “NASA Ames Partners with M2MI for Small Satellite Development,” Ames director S. Pete Worden stated, "NASA wants to work with companies to develop a new economy in space,” and "m2mi has great technology that fits excellently with our goals, while enhancing the commercial use of NASA-developed technologies."

MIMI chief executive officer Geoff Brown stated, "Nanosatellites take advantage of the significant technological advances in microelectronics and will be produced using low-cost, mass-production techniques."

Two years ago, upon moving his company into NASA Research Park, Brown stated, “M2Mi is a partner-centric company, joining the NASA Research Park community enables M2Mi to benefit the entire entrepreneurial ecosystem, clearly we are delighted to be here. We provide Automated Intelligence for network facing applications that are life dependent and/or mission critical, which require autonomic intelligence to manage the balancing act between risk and complexity, a key factor in time and context sensitive environments” [NPR Post: “NASA Research Park Welcomes M2Mi.]

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