AWS Ground Station offers a global network of ground stations near AWS’ global network of infrastructure regions. With AWS Ground Station, customers need not think about buying, leasing, building, scaling or managing their own satellite ground stations. They can downlink their satellite data directly into an AWS data center for immediate processing at a fraction of the cost. Now, Microsoft is working on a similar service to take on AWS Ground Station.
According to recent FCC filings, Microsoft is planning to connect a Spanish imaging satellite to two ground stations at its data center in Quincy in Washington. Microsoft wants to demonstrate that it can directly download satellite data to the Azure Cloud for immediate processing. Early this month, FCC approved Microsoft’s request to do proof-of-concept demonstrations of the service. As per the approval, Microsoft has a six-month license that allows for communications and imagery data downloads. Microsoft is expected to use this approval to demonstrate its ground station service at its Ignite 2020 conference later this month.
“If the demonstrations result in significant market interest, Microsoft will file an application for regular earth station authority with the International Bureau (IB) to support future commercial operations, and that application will include a request for U.S. market access for DEIMOS-2,” the company mentioned in its FCC application.