Microsoft is introducing what it calls the next wave of product advancements to Azure Space designed to unlock connectivity and data with the Microsoft Cloud and help support the digital transformation of its customers and partners in the space industry.
The company’s Azure Space announcement is highlighted by Azure Orbital Cloud Access, a new service launched in preview that Microsoft says brings connectivity from the cloud wherever businesses and public sector organizations need it.
According to Microsoft, Azure Orbital Cloud Access helps meet new connectivity demands and brings a new approach that intelligently prioritizes traffic across fiber, cellular and satellite networks. The company says the service is a “step toward the future of integration 5G and satellite communications” that enables low-latency access to the cloud from anywhere on Earth, allowing enterprises to bring satellite-based communications into their operation.
Microsoft says the preview for Azure Government customers unlocks new scenarios and opportunities in areas with little or no connectivity, or where a failover option is needed. The service delivers prioritized network access through SpaceX’s Starlink connectivity and Azure edge devices to give customers access to Microsoft cloud services where Starlink operates.
In a statement, SpaceX President and CEO Gwynne Shotwell says combining Starlink and Azure will enable users to access fiber-like cloud computing at will.
“We’re excited to offer this solution to both the public and the private sector,” Shotwell says.
In addition, Azure Orbital Cloud Access is entirely managed for customers, operating on a monthly subscription basis and a pay-as-you-go satellite communications consumption model. The service also integrates natively with SD-WAN technology from Jupiter Networks so customers can prioritize connectivity between fiber, cellular and satellite networks.
To start, the service is only available for Azure Government customers.
The company also announced the general availability of Azure Orbital Ground Station, its first fully managed ground station-as-a-service offering that is designed to work with Microsoft’s partner ecosystem to enable satellite operators to focus on their satellites and operate from the cloud more reliably at lower cost and latency, allowing operators to get to market faster and achieve a higher level of security via Azure.
“Through Microsoft’s unique partner-focused approach, we are bringing together a deep integration of ground station partner networks to enable our customers’ data delivery to an Azure region of choice at zero cost, thus reducing their total operational costs and ensuring data is available in the customer’s Azure tenant for further processing,” Microsoft says.
Read Microsoft’s Azure blog to learn more about these offerings and partnerships.
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