AWS launches a base station for satellites as a service

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Amazon Web Services (AWS) has announced three new instance offerings for Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2): A1 instances powered by custom-designed AWS Graviton processors for scale-out workloads; P3dn GPU instances ideal for distributed machine learning and high performance computing applications; and C5n instances that deliver increased network bandwidth for running advanced compute-intensive workloads. With AWS Ground Station, AWS handles every aspect of the satellite data retrieval and processing operation for the company, greatly reducing the cost and complexity associated with it. "Ellie Mae is able to use the breadth and depth of the world's leading cloud to be more efficient and innovative, refocusing their manpower and capital on ways to automate the mortgage lending process instead of infrastructure procurement and management". It also offers additional ROS packages that connect to AWS services, making it easier to build robots, add intelligent functions, simulate and test robotics applications, and manage and update fleets of robots. They can rely on AWS's global footprint of ground stations to downlink data when and where they need it, says AWS. "To take the data and do something with it, you need some kind of infrastructure", AWS Chief Executive Officer Andy Jassy said at the re:Invent here.

He has been a technology writer since more than five years. "Spire has built one of the world's largest ground station networks ... and now imagine that Amazon does all of that and the only thing that Spire does is rents capacity on the ground station".

AWS will kick off the new service by opening its first two ground stations this week.

According to United Nations data, Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites are ideal for collecting data for Earth Observation and they make up about 63 percent of the active satellites now in orbit.

In a recent report, BCC Research estimated that the satellite communications global market will reach almost $7.5 billion by 2022, up from almost $4.6 billion in 2017 - indicatingn a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10.5 per cent.

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Ground stations are used by satellite operators to communicate with satellites using specialised antennas, computing network and other infrastructure.

At present, AWS Ground Station has space firms and satellite imaging companies like Lockheed Martin, BlackSky and Open Cosmos as part of its clientele. The company will be using Lockheed Martin's low-priced, ground-based antennas to capture satellite data.

For space agencies and companies, AWS Ground Station will be "a game changer in how people can interact with satellites", Jassy said.

Meanwhile, Lockheed Martin Space has already firmed up plans to integrate AWS Ground Station with its new Verge antenna network.

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