Microsoft is advancing cloud datacenters where no cloud datacenter has gone before; into Space! They have brought together a team of renowned space industry veterans to work along-side Microsoft product engineers and scientists to build cloud capabilities that meet the needs for space. These efforts with Microsoft Azure Space bring innovations that include space mission simulation, insights from satellite data, as well as innovations applied to areas on both on and off planet Earth.

Azure Space – Powering innovation on Earth and beyond

The Azure Space ecosystem will be providing new networking capabilities that meet the needs of the world’s growing network needs. These are the result of partnerships with industry leaders:

  • SpaceX Starlink – a partnership that will provide high-speed, low-latency satellite broadband for the new Azure Modular Datacenter (MDC).
  • Azure Orbital partnership with SES – will support its O3B Medium Earth Orbit (MEO) constellation O2b MEO, that extends connectivity between Azure cloud datacenter regions and cloud edge devices.
Microsoft Azure Space - Innovation on Earth and Beyond 1
Diagram: Azure Space – Source: Microsoft

The approach of Microsoft Azure Space is to supply multi-orbit, multi-band, multi-vendor, cloud-enabled capability that brings satellite connectivity solutions to meet the needs of Microsoft’s customers. This will be done by coupling resilient satellite communications with Microsoft Azure’s ability to provide high performance compute, machine learning and data analytics solutions.

These new capabilities provided by Microsoft Azure Space will bring new opportunities to many organizations that are already partnering with Azure to innovate for space missions. Some of these partners specifically called out by Microsoft include the U.S. Defense and Innovation Unit (DIU), Lockheed Martin, Airbus, Seequent, and Land O’Lakes (one of the largest farmer-owned cooperatives.)

The new space-based networking capabilities of Microsoft Azur Space will provide new, innovation solutions for building and connecting solutions in the cloud. This also adds new possibilities that weren’t possible with traditional, terrestrial-based networking alone. This should be ushering a new era in the cloud as Microsoft Azure begins to reach beyond terrestrial-based solutions on-planet. Today it begins with networking, and in the future it very well may include compute, storage or other resources running in space as part of future space missions.

We continue to see great innovations and growth for the cloud, and Microsoft Azure Space is certainly included in some of the most fascinating advances in recent time. In the future, just imagine, what could be done with a potential Azure region built on the Moon or in a space station orbiting the earth?

Microsoft MVP

Chris Pietschmann is a Microsoft MVP, HashiCorp Ambassador, and Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT) with 20+ years of experience designing and building Cloud & Enterprise systems. He has worked with companies of all sizes from startups to large enterprises. He has a passion for technology and sharing what he learns with others to help enable them to learn faster and be more productive.
HashiCorp Ambassador Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT) Microsoft Certified: Azure Solutions Architect