Microsoft partners with SpaceX to create a cloud network based on space satellites

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Microsoft partners with SpaceX to create a cloud network based on space satellites

Microsoft has unveiled Azure Space, a global initiative that will bring space technology to companies across a variety of industries. “ We have assembled a team of renowned veterans of the space industry to work with our world-class engineers and scientists to create cloud capabilities that meet the unique needs of space, ” the company announced.

In accordance with the outlined program, Microsoft plans to develop cooperation with organizations in the space industry, including SpaceX. As part of the Azure Space initiative, the company introduced the Azure Modular Datacenter (MDC), an autonomous, transportable data center that provides access to the computing power of the Azure cloud in any environment.

AzureSpace_Still
AzureSpace_Still

It can work in difficult climatic conditions and even in the absence of a network connection. MDC will help ensure the smooth operation of critical infrastructures such as relief centers and mobile command posts. Thanks to cooperation with satellite operators, MDC will be provided with a reliable connection due to the possibility of using a backup channel in emergency situations.

The Microsoft and SpaceX partnership will enable reliable communications between ground-based assets (notably MDC) and the cloud, thanks to Starlink’s low-latency satellite broadband network. It is also planned to expand the use of Starlink with the global network of Microsoft – the integration of SpaceX ground stations with the network capabilities of Azure.

Other Microsoft partners participating in the Azure Space initiative include satellite operator SES, KSAT, Viasat, Kratos, Amergint, KubOS, and US Electrodynamics. Last month, Microsoft announced a partnership with SES for a new service, Azure Orbital, which will provide a platform for communicating with and processing data from spacecraft. The companies also plan to continue to work together to expand satellite communications with MDC, other regions, and cloud data center devices.

As part of the new initiative, the company also announced the Azure Orbital Emulator, an emulation environment for preparing satellite constellations for launch into orbit. Thanks to the power of Azure, the emulator will generate the operation of an entire network of satellites. It is mainly aimed at providing conditions as close to real conditions in space as possible on Earth, in order to prepare everything necessary for the coordination of large interconnected groups of automated satellites in low Earth orbit.

Using the Azure Orbital Emulator, it will be possible to create complex protocols and train AI algorithms to coordinate the operation of interconnected satellites, taking into account the available software and hardware, which will ensure optimal network coverage. According to a company spokesperson, the Azure Orbital Emulator is already being used by customers in the Microsoft Azure Government cloud.

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