New report explores the benefits of digital twins in the satellite industry

In a newly released report, Digital twins: Thought leadership in the satellite industry, Dr Veronica Martinez and Nicolai Huss consider the design, implementation and potential benefits of digital twins in the satellite industry.


Following on from previous work on the importance of digital twins to digital transformation in the aerospace industry, this briefing now considers their application in space, building the first roadmap for both strategic design and technology management in the space industry.


The results represent a significant advance in the understanding of the potential for digital twin applications in the satellite sector, bridging the gap between company strategy and technology. The report establishes a strategic need for digital twin implementations and presents market drivers, different digital-twin based services, the implementation process, the resources needed and the potential risks.


‘There is a strong strategic desire to provide value-added services in the space industry, driven by changing market conditions towards flexibility and digitalisation,’ says Dr Veronica Martinez, co-author of the report. ‘Digital twins offer value on an operational level, through things like predictive maintenance, on a communication network and security level, for example through modelling threat management, and on an integrated systems level, combining different satellite constellations into one network.’


The report also defines the challenges to implementing and realising the benefits of satellite digital twins, including a lack of cultural acceptance and cyber security challenges. Skills also present a challenge: in the future, firms seeking to compete by developing digital twins will require a digitally enabled workforce equipped with both technical expertise and a strategic, data-driven mindset.


‘We’re working in an era where digital and data technologies are having a real impact on so many areas of our business and lives – digital twins being one,’ says Dr Jon Hall, Chief Technology and Innovation Officer of Babcock International Group, who contributed to the report. ‘This means it is less about the twin creation and more about adoption of digital twins in businesses to create real value in better asset performance.’


The report and accompanying roadmap were completed with helpful contributions from Babcock International Group, the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, and the UK National Space Agency.


The full report is now available to download.


More on digital twins


Read more about Veronica’s work on digital twins in her list of publications

Date published

8 March 2022

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