Jun 10 2024

Loft enters XPRIZE Wildfire to let anyone join the fight against wildfires

By the Loft team


Today, we’re proud to share that we’re entering XPRIZE Wildfire to provide our space infrastructure so that anyone can help fight destructive wildfires. 


We invite developers to develop and deploy applications in space and contribute to solving one of the greatest challenges of our time. We’re excited to let any developer become a space developer. Reach out to [email protected] to join our team!


Why we’re entering XPRIZE Wildfire


We started Loft to bring a unique space-based solution to the world’s largest existential threats. Wildfires are one such example. XPRIZE is an organization that designs and operates large-scale incentive competitions to solve humanity’s grand challenges. XPRIZE Wildfire calls for innovation from around the world to transform how fires are detected, managed, and fought. 


Loft’s mission is to make space simple by letting any organization simply and quickly deploy missions to orbit to unlock the value of space. In addition to flying physical missions, Loft now flies virtual missions, where a software application is deployed onto Loft’s space infrastructure and leverages onboard resources such as sensors, compute and connectivity. 


Today, anyone can deploy millions of virtual machines on the cloud. A single small team of developers can have an impact of global scale by leveraging the cloud infrastructure that others have built.


At Loft, we have the same vision for space. Developers can deploy their own AI applications to our space infrastructure, similar to deploying a virtual machine on cloud infrastructure. 


With this novel capability, any developer can run their applications on our satellites to rapidly detect and characterize the Earth’s greatest existential threats – such as wildfires – as they unfold, and inform operators on the ground in real-time. 


As part of our participation in the Space-Based Wildfire Detection & Intelligence track, we will make our space infrastructure available for XPRIZE Wildfire teams to:

  • Fly satellites with sensors onboard capable of detecting wildfires

  • Run partner-provided AI applications onboard that can detect a fire

  • Use real time satellite-relay links to make that infrastructure available continuously /always on


Loft’s satellite infrastructure has the onboard sensors and compute to fly a wide range of software applications. Our platform is available 24/7 with high uptime, in the same way that access to the cloud is ubiquitous. 


It’s important to note that we aren’t entering this competition alone. We are entering to enable everyone to have an impact, and together provide the winning solution. Loft lowers the barrier to entry for anyone to help solve humanity’s greatest challenges. 


Bringing the cloud computing model to space

Satellites are fantastic platforms for collecting useful data, but have traditionally been walled gardens to software developers. Satellite owners are focused on mitigating risk to their expensive assets, so the idea of a third party deploying software to run on a satellite is heretical to today’s satellite operations paradigm.


Enter Loft. We’re rethinking the utility of a satellite, inspired by the cloud computing revolution, which allowed any developer to access limitless compute resources over the web. We believe that satellites should be more than “dumb” platforms for data collection. They should be data centers in space that any developer can use to run workloads.


To enable this, we have developed a product that includes a solution akin to a CI/CD pipeline for space: giving developers the ability to test, validate, and deploy any software application to a Loft satellite, from their own cloud environment. We mitigate any risk to the core satellite by validating that customer software applications execute successfully in Loft’s dedicated validation pipelines, streamlining the deployment to orbit.


One of our publicly-released partners in realizing this vision at scale is Microsoft. Any developer using the Microsoft Azure Space SDK can easily deploy applications to a Loft satellite with our Loft-specific satellite APIs that give access to our onboard sensors and compute platforms.


Our platform is open to any XPRIZE developer who wants to partner with Loft by prototyping and testing their AI applications directly in space. 


Building an ecosystem of application developers

Taking on the challenge of detecting wildfires in real-time from space – as well as countless other detection and monitoring missions – requires an ecosystem of developers and companies who develop the apps that will run on Loft’s infrastructure.


Today, this ecosystem is small, but its growth is essential to unlocking the true value of space. Wildfire is just one important challenge that we are solving for with space. Let’s think about the innovation that is unlocked when a true space cloud is accessible to anyone.


If you are interested in building on Loft’s space infrastructure, we want to hear from you. Send us a note at [email protected]. We’re looking forward to building with you.

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