COMPANIES

AWS unveils new space business

Amazon’s cloud computing segment is standing up a new division to focus on space projects from government customers such as NASA and the U.S. military along with other commercial players in the field.

Called Aerospace and Satellite Solutions, this new shop of Amazon Web Services will provide cloud hosting and other services to customers and partners in the space sector. AWS has also brought on board a new leader for that division in retired Air Force Maj. Gen. Clint Crosier, former director of space planning for U.S. Space Force who is credited as leading efforts to stand up the service branch.

AWS announced the new division’s formal launch during its Public Sector Summit held virtually on Tuesday. This comes just shy of two years after AWS’ initial entry into the space market through a partnership with Lockheed Martin to integrate ground station and antenna networks into one managed service offering hosted in a cloud infrastructure.

Since then, AWS has built out its Ground Station Network to help users make data transfers from space and conduct downloads from more than one satellite at a time.

“The aerospace and satellite team is already supporting customers around the world. Many of these customers are leveraging AWS Ground Station to downlink, process, analyze and distribute data in a cost-effective way,” Teresa Carlson, vice president of the AWS worldwide public sector business, said in her keynote for the summit. “Large and established organizations can use AWS Ground Station to rapidly scale their satellite communications operations and space startups are growing faster by using AWS Ground Station to avoid major capital expenditures that would be required to build satellite ground infrastructures.”

AWS’ belief is that as government agencies and other space companies alike need stronger data downlink and communication capabilities. Cloud computing infrastructures can help make that happen at scale.

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory uses the AWS ground station network, as do commercial satellite operators Iridium Communications and Spire Global. Lockheed, Geollect, Maxar Technologies and Capella Space are customers of AWS when it comes to the private sector.

About the Author

Ross Wilkers is a senior staff writer for Washington Technology. He can be reached at rwilkers@washingtontechnology.com. Follow him on Twitter: @rosswilkers. Also find and connect with him on LinkedIn.

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