Microsoft Launches Azure Space to Expand Connectivity; Tom Keane Quoted

Microsoft’s Azure To Be Connected To SpaceX’s Starlink Satellite Internet

Microsoft aims to make Azure the platform and ecosystem of choice for the mission needs of the space community with its new Azure Space offering.

Microsoft this week introduced the Microsoft Azure Modular Datacenter as part of its overall Azure Space effort.

One of its most notable partners is SpaceX, which will provide the tech giant access to its Starlink satellite network for the Azure Modular Datacenter (MDC).

Microsoft said that the partnership with SpaceX will provide new communication capabilities to its customers, and many of them are now working remotely or in hard environmental conditions and find it hard to meet their growing need for access to data and the rapid transfer of it. This technology will also serve the huge public and private sector customer base of Microsoft. The idea is to enable storage, computation and analysis of data in places where fixed infrastructure can not be present to enable traditional high-speed communications.

This partnership will see Microsoft connect its Azure Cloud computing platform to SpaceX's network of low-Earth satellites.

SpaceX has FCC approval to launch some 12,000 Starlink satellites - and is seeking permission to launch another 30,000 after that - all to cover the world. The Azure Orbital Emulator aims to provide a computer emulated environment to test satellite operations in simulation.


Certainly all of that has been in the works for some time. But we also can not help but think back to how Microsoft's cloud rival in Amazon Web Services has also talked about its own space play.

AWS earlier this year unveiled a new division specifically focused on space and brought in one of the key architects of the new Space Force to lead that unit. Microsoft also noted that it plans to launch a new "Center of Digital Excellence" in Austria to "to modernize Austria's IT infrastructure, public governmental services and industry innovation".

Any conversation about the so-called Cloud Wars has to bring up the fact that AWS commands 45 percent of the overall market with Microsoft next at 18 percent, according to Gartner.

In total, Azure now features 65 cloud regions - though that number includes some that aren't online yet.

Microsoft also pointed to the efforts of geoscience company Seequent, which is using Azure computing power and satellite imagery to monitor water quality around the world.

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