Microsoft announces Azure Space and a new partnership with SpaceX Starlink

Yolanda Curtis
November 21, 2020

The company announced the launch of Azure Space on Tuesday with partnerships across the space industry targeting both private and public customers interested in the great beyond.

"Our new partnership with SpaceX Starlink will provide high-speed, low-latency satellite broadband for the new Azure Modular Datacenter (MDC)", Keane informed.

The Seattle-based company said in a blog post, "The space community is growing rapidly and innovation is lowering the barriers of access for public- and private-sector organizations".

Microsoft today announced Azure Space, a new initiative to make space connectivity and compute easily accessible across industries including agriculture, energy, telecommunications, and government.

Microsoft's space leadership team will include industry leaders like William Chappell, formerly of DARPA, and Chirag Parikh, former White House director of space policy on the National Security Council. The two companies will be partnering to integrate Microsoft Azure into Starlink's satellites.

"These new connectivity partnerships bring more satellite capabilities alongside Azure Orbital ground station service and existing ExpressRoute satellite provider partnerships with SES, Intelsat and ViaSat to help bring valuable customer data from geosynchronous orbit (GEO) satellites directly into Azure", Keane announced.

Moreover, to help space companies conduct launch missions faster and with complete assurance, Microsoft has introduced the new Azure Orbital Emulator. The new simulation environment has been created to allow space companies to conduct massive satellite constellation simulations before launching a satellite. Thanks to the power of Azure, the emulator will generate the operation of an entire network of satellites. Microsoft says the emulator will allow satellite developers to analyze and fix AI functions and satellite networking to perfection before launching it into space. According to a company spokesperson, the Azure Orbital Emulator is already being used by customers in the Microsoft Azure Government cloud.

Microsoft has taken its next giant leap in cloud computing - taking its Azure data centre business into space. Moreover, the technology does not require any specific infrastructural or power facilities.

Microsoft has a network that includes over 160,000 miles of subsea, terrestrial, and metro optical fiber cables.

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