After Self-Driving Cars, Amazon Now Aims For Space

It was only recently that Amazon had acquired Robo-taxi maker Zoox to announce its interest in the autonomous vehicle industry. Now AWS, the cloud-computing branch of the e-commerce giant has unveiled a new space business segment. 

Called the Aerospace and Satellite Solutions business segment, it aims to bring AWS services and solutions into the space enterprise. With a dedicated unit to accelerate innovation in the global aerospace and satellite industry, the company has proclaimed its interest in driving innovation in space. 

With an intent to serve customers, whether, on Earth or space, the tech giant is making a smooth transition into this area by onboarding Retired Air Force Major General Clint Crosier, who is the former director of Space Force Planning at the U.S. Space Force. He has more than 33 years of experience in driving transformation across space enterprises. He said he has seen AWS transform the IT industry and is looking forward to joining AWS in transforming the space industry. 

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Setting An Ambitious Foot Into Space

While AWS has significant experience in supporting commercial and government customers that design satellites and conduct spaceflight operations, this is the first time that they have set up a completely different unit for it. Their reliable global infrastructure and an unmatched portfolio of cloud services play to their advantage. It will help them quickly process and transform massive collections of data from space and quickly analyse it to help make quicker decisions and redefine the speed of the research. 

Having proven their mettle in the areas such as data lakes, edge computing, image processing, artificial intelligence and more, AWS’ venture into space will help enterprises redefine what is possible. It aims to solve some of the world’s toughest challenges in space missions. “Together, we share a vision to help our customers access data faster, and gain new insights from sensors in space that make data even more accessible,” said Rick Ambrose, Executive Vice President, Lockheed Martin Space, with which AWS has been fostering collaborations. 

Apart from this, AWS has also collaborated with space companies such as Capella Space, Geollect and Maxar Technologies. 

What Does AWS Aim To Accomplish With Its New Space Unit?

With its newly unveiled space segment, AWS aims to: 

  • Reimagine space system architectures
  • Transform space enterprises
  • Launch new services that process space data on Earth and in orbit
  • Provide secure, flexible, scalable, and cost-efficient cloud solutions to support government missions and companies advancing space around the world

Being one of the most comprehensive cloud platforms, AWS is uniquely positioned to help make the flow of space data more accessible, cost-effective and actionable. For instance, working with AWS, companies can provide near real-time geospatial maritime intelligence, drive the rapid growth of the geospatial industry, increase the scalability of operations, and more. 

AWS’ Earlier Stint With Space

Before setting up a dedicated unit for their work with space enterprises, Amazon has had few stints with the space industry. With its satellite internet venture, Project Kuiper, the tech giant reportedly spent billions of dollars to offer broadband access from orbit. Through this initiative, it launched a constellation of low Earth orbit satellites to provide low-latency and high-speed broadband connectivity to communities around the world. It would provide data coverage for spots on Earth ranging in latitude from 56 degrees north to 56 degrees south. 

Another venture called the AWS Ground Station is a fully managed service that allows to control satellite communications, process data and scale operations without having to worry about building or managing ground station infrastructure. Used for weather forecasting, surface imaging, communications, and video broadcasts, it helps in saving up to 80% on the cost of ground station operations. It already serves customers such as NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. 

Talking about their partnership with AWS on AWS Ground Station, Payam Banazadeh, CEO of Capella Space said that they are working on redefining what is possible in the space industry and benefit from satellite data.

Blue Origin, an independent entity run by Jeff Bezos, is developing next-gen rockets and reusable launch vehicles to launch into space. Competing with Elon Musk’s SpaceX, it is currently developing orbital vehicles such as New Glenn to take people to Earth orbits and beyond. 

Wrapping up

Space has become the new area of interest as more and more private companies are venturing into this diverse segment. Companies like Microsoft are also working on space-related services with its Azure cloud computing platform. Amazon’s recent move into the space business assures that in the coming future, space will be a more accessible and cost-effective industry. As the company notes, they are excited to help reimagine how organisations around the world access, operate, explore and further discover space in order to build a better world.

Srishti Deoras
Srishti currently works as Associate Editor at Analytics India Magazine. When not covering the analytics news, editing and writing articles, she could be found reading or capturing thoughts into pictures.

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