In a significant development, Microsoft on Tuesday announced a partnership with Elon Musk-run SpaceX to take on Amazon Web Services (AWS) which is the Cloud arm of the ecommerce behemoth, in the lucrative space Cloud business.
Unveiling the Azure Space cloud computing platform, Microsoft said it is taking the next giant leap in cloud computing -- to space.
"With Azure Space, we have ambition to make space connectivity and compute increasingly attainable across industries including agriculture, energy, telecommunications, and government," said Tom Keane, Corporate Vice President, Azure Global.
Microsoft last month introduced Azure Orbital to process satellite data at Cloud scale.
It came after Amazon's Cloud arm AWS launched the 'Aerospace and Satellite Solutions' business segment in July, dedicated to accelerating innovation in the global aerospace and satellite industry.
"Our new partnership with SpaceX Starlink will provide high-speed, low-latency satellite broadband for the new Azure Modular Datacenter (MDC)," Keane informed.
"We have brought together a team of renowned space industry veterans to work alongside our world-class product engineers and scientists to build cloud capabilities that meet the unique needs of space," Microsoft said.
The innovation areas include simulating space missions, discovering insights from satellite data, and fueling innovation both on the ground and in orbit.
"By partnering with leaders in the space community, we will extend the utility of our Azure capabilities with worldwide satellite connectivity, unblock cloud computing in more scenarios, and empower our partners and customers to achieve more," the tech giant said.
Resilient satellite communications, coupled with Azure's ability to provide high performance computing, machine learning, and data analytics opens many new opportunities for both public- and private-sector organisations.
"These new connectivity partnerships bring more satellite capabilities alongside Azure Orbital ground station service and existing ExpressRoute satellite provider partnerships with SES, Intelsat and ViaSat to help bring valuable customer data from geosynchronous orbit (GEO) satellites directly into Azure," Keane announced.
Data collected from space to observe Earth is instrumental in helping address global challenges such as climate change and furthering of scientific discovery and innovation.
Azure Orbital enables satellite operators to schedule contacts with their spacecrafts and directly downlink data into their virtual network (VNet) in Azure.
"Azure Virtual Networks are isolated, highly secure, and governed by Microsoft's more than 90 compliance certifications covering applications and datasets," the company said.