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Satellites as a Service: Amazon AWS Pushes the Envelope of Utility Computing to Space

By Dick Weisinger

Amazon AWS brings new meaning to SaaS.  It’s Satellite as a Service, actually named AWS Ground Service.

Ground Station attempts to make the world of satellite data capture and processing into a utility service, something that can be easily turned on and off without up-front capital expenditures.  Their target audience are businesses, researchers, governments and space agencies.  The goal is to make the upload and download of data from satellites simpler and cost effective.

As part of the new initiative, Amazon has already set up a half dozen ground service locations and plans to bring on another ten early this year.  To date, it had been necessary to build ground locations, often in  multiple geographic locations around the world, to be able to monitor and capture satellite data.  Often, setting up ground stations cost millions of dollars.

It’s a great innovative idea.  While given the current progress and success of cloud services, applying the same model to satellite data seems like a straightforward and obvious extension, but no one until now has done it.  It’s likely that once the service is active, it will spawn a new industry of startups, enabling sophisticated apps for tracking, mapping and presenting geospatial data..

Holger Mueller, an analyst at Constellation Research, said that “To rule real-world application use cases you need to make maps and real-time spatial data available in an easy-to-consume, real-time and affordable way.”


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  1. […] Why is Amazon embracing satellites? One answer may be is that cloud computing can reach into the great beyond. According to Formtek: […]

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