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Photo: AaronP/Bauer-Griffin via Getty Images

Microsoft is getting into the space game.

Why it matters: Huge amounts of data pour in from space to Earth each day, and the tech heavyweight sees an opportunity to capitalize on that big data and the growing markets for it.

Details: Microsoft announced today that the company is launching Azure Space to help its customers in a variety of industries and the government make use of space data through cloud computing and connectivity even in remote parts of Earth.

  • The company has penned a deal with SpaceX to deliver broadband via Starlink satellites to new Azure Modular Datacenters that can be used to connect to the internet from remote locales for disaster relief, agriculture and other uses.
  • Farmers "can now make use of space connectivity to be doing those decisions in the field," Tom Keane, corporate vice president of Azure Global, told me.
  • Azure is designed to be an "ecosystem" of partner satellites, ground stations and data centers that will make it more efficient to use data sent from space.

The big picture: Microsoft isn't the only company playing at the intersection of computing and space.

  • Amazon Web Services just launched a space-focused division of its business to help companies use their cloud and other services to efficiently do their work.

The bottom line: The space industry isn't just about what happens in orbit. Companies focused on data processing and usage on Earth are just as integral to the everyday work of satellite operators and data analyzers as the hardware in space.

Go deeper

Miriam Kramer, author of Space
Jan 26, 2021 - Science

The coming land rush in space

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Space is the new Wild West. Nations and space companies are racing to come to a consensus on what they can own, mine and take possession of in outer space before competitors stake ground first.

Why it matters: Private companies are building their businesses on sending spacecraft to the Moon, asteroids and other objects in the coming years to eventually extract resources that will be used or sold.

Miriam Kramer, author of Space
Jan 26, 2021 - Science

Axiom announces the crew for its first private ISS mission

Earth from space. Photo: NASA

An American entrepreneur, Canadian investor and Israeli investor, along with a former NASA astronaut, are set to make up the first fully private mission to the International Space Station.

Why it matters: The flight — expected to launch in January 2022 — represents part of NASA's bid to create an economy in low-Earth orbit supported by private companies.

Updated 26 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Tech: "Fludemic" model accurately maps COVID hotspotsVirtual doctor's visits and digital health tools take off.
  2. Politics: Schumer says Senate will stay through weekend to vote on COVID relief — Republican governor of West Virginia says there's no plan to lift mask mandate.
  3. World: Canada vaccine panel recommends 4 months between doses.
  4. Business: Firms develop new ways to inoculate the public.
  5. Local: Ultra-rich Florida community got vaccinations in January.