On Tuesday 20th October 2020, it was announced that Microsoft is partnering with SpaceX to connect the Azure cloud network with Musk’s Starlink satellite internet service. If you don’t know what these terms mean then let me make it easier for you to understand.
What is Starlink?
Starlink is a broad program initiated by SpaceX, Elon Musk’s company. The main goal of this program is to create an interconnected network with hundreds and thousands of satellites which will be designed in an exclusive way to deliver fast internet all over the planet.
What is Azure Cloud?
Azure Cloud is the latest service that is developed by Microsoft. Through the Azure cloud, they can easily connect satellites directly with the Cloud. This service has deepened the roots of Microsoft into space technology.
A partnership between SpaceX and Microsoft:
Space X President and COO, Gwynne Shotwell in an interview said, “The collaboration that we’re announcing today will allow us to work together and deliver new offerings for both sectors of public and private to deliver connectivity through Starlink for use on Azure”
SpaceX has launched about 800 Starlink satellites. These satellites are not enough to provide global coverage but they are giving services to some regions of the world.
Giving tough competition to Amazon and Blue Origin:
This partnership came to being as both, Microsoft and SpaceX want to give tough competition to their rivals that is Jeff Bezo and Kuiper. Amazon is currently providing a service that can connect its AWS cloud to satellites and is also working with the Kuiper which is a big competitor of Starlink. Jeff Bezo’s who is the CEO of Amazon has also personally invested in Blue Origin to tests flight and different operations done for exploration of space.
The battle of space exploration is an ongoing battle between these giant companies. In recent months, SpaceX and Microsoft have been testing different software that was required to connect Azure and Starlink.
Azure Modular Data Center:
The azure modular data center is a product that is a mobile unit with the size of a semi-trailer. With the help of Starlink’s global coverage, these modular data centers can connect with it providing cloud computing capabilities for the customers who need it under challenging environments or in remote areas where network coverage is impossible.
Tom Keane, Vice President of Azure Global said, “SpaceX is the name which people think of when they think of innovation and the evolution that’s happening to bring space technology into the 21st century”.
Microsoft’s Business Growing in Space Technology:
In addition to collaborating with SpaceX, Microsoft is also partnering with Luxembourg satellite operator SES. The company is working to connect its O3b satellite to the Azure cloud. Microsoft plans to construct Azure Global a key platform for helping scientists in space expeditions and its missions.
As Keane said, “We intend to make Azure a platform and ecosystem of choice for the mission needs of space community”.