SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell announced today the company will collaborate with Microsoft to connect Starlink broadband internet satellites with Microsoft's Azure cloud service. "Our new partnership with SpaceX Starlink will provide high-speed, low-latency satellite broadband for the new Azure Modular Datacenter (MDC)," Microsoft detailed in a press release. "SpaceX is of course the name that people immediately think of when they think of innovation and the evolution that's occurring to bring space technology into the 21st century," said Tom Keane, Microsoft's corporate vice president of Azure Global.
Starlink is SpaceX's plan to create an internet-beaming satellite constellation in low Earth orbit to provide service globally. Primarily focused in areas where internet connection is unreliable and nonexistent. To date, SpaceX has deployed a bit over 800 satellites to orbit out of the thousands that will comprise the Starlink network. --"The collaboration that we're announcing today will allow us to work together to deliver new offerings for both the public and the private sector to deliver connectivity through Starlink for use on Azure," Shotwell said in a video announcement (shown below). "Where it makes sense, we will work with [Microsoft]: co-selling to our mutual customers, co-selling to new enterprise and future customers."
Shotwell shared that over the last few months SpaceX and Microsoft have been testing the software and hardware needed to connect the Starlink satellites in orbit to the Azure cloud service. -"So, I think that's worked out really well," she said. The partnership will enable Microsoft to offer its cloud service in remote areas around the planet. "We can connect via satellite lengths any element on the Earth to another point on the Earth, which I think goes extremely well with the technologies you are trying to build out..." Shotwell told Keane.
"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. Our innovation areas include simulating space missions, discovering insights from satellite data, and fueling innovation both on the ground and in orbit," Microsoft representatives wrote in a press release. "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."
We’re joining forces with @SpaceX, @SES_Satellites, @KSAT_Kongsberg and others to address the greatest challenges in the space community. 🌌— Micros🎃ft (@Microsoft) October 20, 2020
With #Azure, our space customers will have better data and connectivity access and resources than ever before: https://t.co/P7w1KShq8E pic.twitter.com/RUW4sP9NPK
About the Author
Evelyn J. Arevalo joined Tesmanian in 2019 to cover news as a Space Journalist and SpaceX Starbase Texas Correspondent. Evelyn is specialized in rocketry and space exploration. The main topics she covers are SpaceX and NASA.