Microsoft has launched Azure Space to store space-based data, as well as enable ground-based consumers to expand connectivity. Azure Space will link Azure’s existing cloud platform with new data centers and a network of privately owned satellites to provide high-speed internet across the globe.
“Our approach helps to address some of the toughest technology challenges that our customers face in space: dealing with the vast amount of data generated from satellites, bringing cloud services and bandwidth to the most remote locations, and designing highly complex space systems,” Tom Keane, corporate vice president for Azure Global, wrote in a blog post published Tuesday.
Azure Space will support Microsoft’s expansion across the Department of Defense (DoD). The offering follows Microsoft’s launch of Azure Orbital, the company’s ground-stations-as-a-service program, in Sept. 2020. The two programs will enable customers to manage data in Azure while using the company’s ground stations to down- and up-link data between space and Earth.
Microsoft’s Azure Space could benefit the DoD, after the company secured the DoD Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) cloud contract. Azure also recently earned high-level security certifications to handle sensitive DoD data.
Additionally, the U.S. Space Force has the potential to leverage Azure Space, since Microsoft currently supports the U.S. Air Force‘s Commercially Augmented Space Inter Networked Operations (CASINO) project. Under CASINO, Microsoft has worked to store and manage space data collected by satellites.
In order to launch Azure Space, Microsoft partnered with SpaceX Starlink, who will provide high-speed, low-latency satellite broadband for the new Azure Modular Datacenter (MDC). Microsoft has also built on its existing Azure Orbital partnership with SES, under the launch of Azure space.
Microsoft will support SES’ O3B Medium Earth Orbit (MEO) constellation O3b MEO, to extend connectivity between our cloud datacenter regions and cloud edge devices.