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SDA Director Derek Tournear: Military May Need Different Approach to Implement Space Machine Learning

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Derek Tournear
Derek Tournear SDA Director

Derek Tournear, director of the Space Development Agency, said the military will need to consider certain technical limits before implementing machine learning technology across space systems.

He spoke at a Defense One webinar about space-based ML's potential to augment the military's data operations and situational awareness in the future, as well as factors that make the technology difficult to achieve, Nextgov reported Friday.

ML and artificial intelligence in space would require supercomputers in low Earth orbit to generate the needed amount of computing power. However, the space environment presents a physical limit to how much heat can be produced in orbital systems.

Tournear said to address this issue, he plans to test ground-based target-recognition systems that would then port into a space network. This testing would happen in four years.

“It’s really got to be done on the ground first and then ported to space where you’re power- and thermal- constrained," he stated.