Technologies from Cisco and Amazon will be used in the lunar mission Artemis I

Lockheed Martin, Cisco and Amazon talked about the Callisto joint project, under which the Orion unmanned spacecraft going into the moon’s orbit will receive support for space-adapted terrestrial solutions: Cisco WebEx video communication system and Amazon Alexa voice assistant.

Image source: webex.com

The launch of the unmanned mission Artemis I is scheduled for March, with the dispatch of the Orion spacecraft, which will carry the Callisto system payload. One of the system’s components will be an iPad with a Cisco WebEx video communication platform client and Amazon Alexa voice assistant installed on it – both solutions will be adapted to work in space, and their tests as part of Artemis I will prepare them for future missions with a crew.

Artemis I’s mission includes many projects with tests and simulations. Instead of astronauts, “virtual crew members” will contact the Lyndon Johnson Space Center in Houston. In the VIP room of the Center, the WebEx DeskPro and WebEx Board Pro terminals will be installed – the latter not only provides video communication, but also offers collaboration tools.

According to Cisco, the main difficulty in ensuring a stable connection will be the delay, which will inevitably arise, since the spacecraft will be at a distance of about 380 thousand km from the Earth. Traditional video communication systems usually do not take into account this problem, simply losing data packets, which is why entire parts of the image disappear from the screen, or even disconnect the connection. Cisco plans to address this issue with a buffering mechanism. Another important tool in the implementation of the project will be the modified AV1 codec, from which engineers will try to squeeze the maximum out of it, providing the best possible image with a channel width of only 128 kbps.

Image optimization will be carried out using artificial intelligence algorithms: the system will reconstruct sound and picture, deciding which data to send and which not. For example, instead of sending the full image in its original form, the system will lower the quality of the background and increase the quality of the face picture. “For us at Cisco, this is a critical issue. We want to be the leader in hybrid work. We can now take another step towards the final frontier by providing video communication and collaboration in space. “Aruna Ravichandran, vice president and director of marketing at Cisco WebEx, commented on the project.

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