Bluestone is a satellite data management system developed by ÅAC Microtec and Spacemetric in cooperation and offers an alternative to increasing the bandwidth to address the problem handling the increasing volumes of data.
By storing data onboard and selectively downloading data that is if expressed interest to the user the downlink bandwidth can be utilized optimally.
Bluestone carries sufficient data storage capacity to store the generated data on board for a period of several days or weeks and by presenting an overview of data available on board to the user and only download data on request, it is estimated that the required downlink bandwidth can be reduced by up to 90% based of the fraction of data that is actually used from existing and past earth observation systems.
Bluestone is a system designed to optimise the use of downlink capability when the bandwidth is limited. The system exploits the circumstance that only a small fraction of the data collected at the sensor level is of any real interest the user.
Bluestone is built on an architecture where the data is stored in an archive on the satellite platform in space and the user operates on a virtual archive, embodied in a software package, on the ground. Metadata and an overview data product are generated automatically from the data in the onboard archive and pushed to the virtual archive on the ground. From the overview data, the user can select more detailed data content (zoom in) on specific geographic regions by pulling more data from the archive in orbit.
The system benefits from space avionics from ÅAC Microtec with heritage from the FMV/AFRL satellite SPARC-1 and the image management algorithms developed Spacemetric with 15 years of heritage from managing satellite earth observation data.