The Federal Communications Commission awarded Microsoft an experimental license in early September to download data from Urthecast’s Deimos-2 Earth observation satellite.
FREMONT, CA: Tech giant Microsoft unveiled Azure Orbital, a service to aid customers in moving data from satellites directly into the Azure cloud for processing and storage. “With Azure Orbital, we’re taking our infrastructure to space, enabling anyone to access satellite data and capabilities from Azure,” CEO Satya Nadella said during the Microsoft Ignite 2020 conference. The announcement marks the latest chapter between Microsoft and Amazon to connect satellite communications networks with cloud infrastructure.
In June, Amazon Web Services announced a dedicated business unit, Aerospace, and Satellite Solutions, to offer cloud services to support space and launch operations. Meanwhile, Microsoft has been expanding its network of partners supporting Azure Orbital to include KSAT’s network of more than 200 satellite antennas. Intelsat, SES, Inmarsat, and Viasat have already worked with Microsoft to send customer data to Microsoft’s Azure network of fiber-linked data centers.
“Microsoft is taking a very partner-centric approach, working with space companies to bring a product to market with them,” said Katherine Monson, KSAT USA head. The company is also working with Amergint Technologies, Kratos, Kubos, and teleport operator U.S. Electrodynamics Inc. “Azure Orbital is a fully managed ground station as a service that lets you communicate with, control your satellite, process data and scale your operations directly in Microsoft Azure,” Hrishi Shelar, Azure Networking senior program manager, said during the virtual Ignite conference.
Shelar stated that Amergint and Kratos developed satellite modems for Azure Orbital customers. The Federal Communications Commission awarded Microsoft an experimental license in early September to download data from Urthecast’s Deimos-2 Earth observation satellite. “Contact scheduling will be available for Microsoft owned and operated ground stations in X, S and UHF band frequencies via shared high gain antennas,” stated Microsoft in a blog post. “Microsoft also is connecting its global network of data centers with our partner’s ground station networks for easy scheduling with your preferred teleport operators.”
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