The Thunderbird mission is a planned constellation of six CubeSats in low Earth orbit (LEO) that will provide a very high update rate of moderate resolution expanded spectrum images of Earth. This large collection of data will also be stored in a revolutionary attempt to use neural networks and other artificial intelligence algorithms to identify trends and relationships between events around the world normally beyond the ability of humans to perceive.
So what does this mean? It means we can monitor macro-phenomenons like fires, droughts and storms multiple times per day virtually anywhere on Earth, permitting early warning and prevention. The results of the data collection could be used to predict and mitigate the results of natural disasters as well as monitor global warming and other global trends.
To maximize the utility and benefit of the mission, multiple complementary goals have been assigned to the Thunderbird mission. They range in importance from primary goals which are expected to deem the mission a success, and secondary goals, which while likely, are not required.
- Forest fire detection and prevention by identifying areas of risk and early smoke blooms too small for space-based thermal imaging
- Store all collected imagery data from the entire mission for later analysis
- Demonstrate Trillium radiation resistant processor module architecture
- Evaluate the utility of on-board data pre-processing for satellite imagery