Jul 7, 2020 - Science

Amazon Web Services pushes into the final frontier with new space division

Earth as seen from orbit. Photo: NASA
Earth as seen from orbit. Photo: NASA

Amazon Web Services announced last week it is forming a business division focused on helping government and commercial space entities become more agile and flexible by making use of the cloud.

The big picture: The new division — called the Aerospace and Satellite Solutions business segment — further solidifies Amazon's push into the space sector.

What's happening: AWS' Aerospace and Satellite Solutions will work with space companies to find more efficient ways of going about their everyday work.

  • For space companies, cloud services could allow for shortcuts in analyzing the extreme quantities of data beamed back from space each day.
  • AWS hopes the new division will help companies and governments move faster when it comes to finding new ways to use space-based assets and applications using machine learning and other tools.
  • "The Earth and space-based systems that we build now will inform nearly every decision we make in the years to come," Teresa Carlson, AWS vice president, said during a keynote address.
  • Companies like Capella Space, Maxar and Lockheed Martin are partnering with AWS.

Yes, but: Amazon isn't alone in trying to capture this market in the space industry.

  • Microsoft is also courting space companies looking to use cloud-based services.
  • Microsoft Azure beat out Amazon last year for a $10 billion Pentagon cloud computing contract.

The big picture: In recent years, Amazon has launched AWS' Ground Station, which focuses on providing space companies with ground station bandwidth to bring data back from orbit and analyze it quickly.

  • Amazon is also developing Project Kuiper, a constellation of internet-beaming satellites expected to potentially rival SpaceX's Starlink.
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