Amazon’s Cloud arm ready to help India take giant space leap

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By Nishant Arora

New Delhi– As a billion-plus people wait with bated breath for the successful landing of India’s moon lander Vikram, Amazon’s Cloud arm Amazon Web Services (AWS) on Friday said that it is more than ready with satellite commands and data, to help the country realise its dream to send deep space missions.

Sending a man and other deep space missions into space will require crunching humongous data. And with AWS Ground Stations — a fully managed service that lets space scientists control satellite communications, uplink, downlink, process satellite data and scale satellite operations — the Jeff Bezos-owned company can steer the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) into the right orbit.

“We are very passionate about space and opportunities associated with it. It is exciting to know that India is going to land its first-ever rover on the Moon. We have key partnerships with Blue Origin, Lockheed Martin, Digital Globe and more and are seeing a lot of interest in space research and development globally. India is really a promising country owing to several firsts in space to its credit,” Teresa Carlson, Vice President, Worldwide Public Sector, Amazon Web Services (AWS), told IANS here.

Satellites are being used by more and more businesses, universities and governments for a variety of applications, including weather forecasting, surface imaging, and communications. To do this today, customers must build or lease ground antennas to communicate with the satellites.

Once customers upload satellite commands and data through AWS Ground Station, they can quickly download large amounts of data over the high-speed AWS Ground Station network, immediately process it in Amazon Cloud.

Amazon had, in May, announced that AWS Ground Station is now in general availability and open to any AWS user.

AWS Ground Station offers a network of antenna systems to communicate with Lower Earth Orbit (LEO) and Medium Earth Orbit (MEO) satellites using either reservation or on demand scheduling.

Using AWS Ground Station, customers can save up to 80 per cent of their ground station costs by paying for antenna access time on demand.

“These antenna systems are located in close proximity to AWS Regions and let you leverage AWS Cloud capabilities with minimal latency,” informed Carlson, who spearheaded AWS’s first “Public Sector Summit” in the country.

AWS is already helping companies democratise space data with its Machine Learning (ML) capabilities.

Capella Space, D-Orbit, Maxar Technologies, Myriota, NSLComm, Open Cosmos, Spire, and Thales Alenia Space are among the customers and partners using AWS Ground Station.

India’s space technology sector is also witnessing a new breed of startups. ISRO’s commercial arm Antrix Corporation is waiting for India Inc to enter the multi-billion dollar space business in a big way and invest in making and launching rockets and satellites for customers worldwide.

The market for small satellites is estimated to be $18 billion (Rs 1.27 lakh crore) over the next 10 years, with a potential to generate Rs 1,500-2,000 crore business per year for India alone.

Apart from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ambitious aim to send a manned Indian mission to space by 2022, the country is also planning to have its own space station.

“We have several companies with which we cross-pollinate in space research and we are keen to do the same with the Indian space startups,” said Carlson, who is keen to watch Indian rover’s landing on the Moon. (IANS)


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