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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
Nov 24, 2020 - Science

Inside a mission to send private astronauts to the space station

Photo Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Photo: Gregg Newton/Getty Images

If all goes according to plan, in about a year, former NASA astronaut Michael López-Alegría will board a SpaceX capsule and command a flight to orbit with three other private astronauts.

The big picture: The mission — flown by the company Axiom Space — will mark a major test of NASA's plans to open up commercial access to the space station in the name of creating a thriving private market in low-Earth orbit.

1 hour ago - Podcasts

Former Georgia Gov. Roy Barnes on the Senate runoffs

The future of U.S. politics, and all that flows from it, is in the hands of Georgia voters when they vote in two Senate runoffs on January 5.

Axios Re:Cap digs into the election dynamics with former Georgia Gov. Roy Barnes, a Democrat who served between 1999 and 2003.

2 hours ago - Health

Cuomo orders emergency hospital protocols as COVID capacity dwindles

Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D). Photo: Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said on Monday that struggling state hospital systems must transfer patients to sites that are not nearing capacity, as rising coronavirus cases and hospitalizations strain medical resources.

Why it matters: New York does not expect to get the same kind of help from thousands of out-of-state doctors and nurses that it got this spring, Cuomo acknowledged, as most of the country battles skyrocketing COVID hospitalizations and infections.