Amazon to launch ground stations to process satellite data on cloud service

Amazon's Cloud arm AWS enters lucrative satellite data market

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"At this year's AWS re:Invent we're not only announcing the availability of our HERE platform on AWS Marketplace, but also that HERE location services are now accessible via an integration with Amazon Connect, giving businesses the tools they need to provide outstanding customer service at an optimal cost", said Rohan Thomas, director of strategic alliances at HERE Technologies. "AWS Ground Station allows us to expand that in an elastic fashion and lets us get into the cloud much faster".

AWS Ground Station will enable customers to schedule antenna time using standard AWS tools; downlink or uplink data; move data into AWS compute nodes for processing. This is particularly pertinent as executive vice president of Lockheed Martin Space, Rick Ambrose, said he expects to have 16,000 satellites in the sky over the next decade. Short for Virtual Resilient Ground, Verge is a network of low-priced ground antennas about a cubic foot in size that can communicate with the exploding number of small satellites many companies are sending into space for many applications.

With plans for a network of 12 antenna ground stations in AWS regions around the world, AWS says its customers will be able to download, process, store, analyse and act upon satellite data quicker with substantial cost savings. "And it is also expensive", he said, adding "space is hard, and getting data to and from orbiting satellites can be even harder".

"Customers tell us they want to spend less time on the undifferentiated heavy lifting of getting different devices and services to work together and more time innovating on full-featured IoT applications", said Dirk Didascalou, vice president of IoT at AWS.

According to a statement, AWS Robomaker extends the most widely used robotics software framework, Robot Operating System (ROS), by providing connectivity to AWS services such as machine learning, monitoring and analytics.

The data retrieved from satellites will be stored in Amazon's private cloud, and Amazon is partnering with some satellite companies including DigitalGlobe, Spire Global, HawkEye360 and BlackSky to boost the growing market of satellite-related business. "Our collaboration with AWS allows us to deliver robust ground communications that will unlock new benefits for environmental research, scientific studies, security operations, and real-time news media".

Lockheed Martin Verge is now available in private beta for customers with satellites that support S-band frequencies and can downlink in the Denver, Colorado area. Once Lockheed Martin Verge receives and processes satellite data, customers can access it directly in their virtual private cloud (VPC) in AWS Regions. This covers AWS' GovCloud and Secret Regions across almost every data classification. The systems are now piloting in Denver area.

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