- Microsoft demonstrated its commitment to expanding its presence in the space industry by introducing new Azure Space products.
- Microsoft formed alliances with ESRI, Orbital Insight, and Blackshark.ai, a firm that blends satellite photography with artificial intelligence to build a digital doppelganger of Earth.
- Microsoft is also expanding its partnership with KSAT to include KSATlite ground stations.
Microsoft commits to expand space presence
Microsoft demonstrated its commitment to expanding its presence in the space industry by introducing new Azure Space products and establishing collaborations with Airbus, Kongsberg Satellite Services, STE iDirect, Orbital Insight, ESRI, and Blackshark.ai.
“Microsoft is serious about space, and we are increasing our partner ecosystem and innovation,” said Steve Kitay, senior director of Azure Space.
Airbus is one of the new collaboration agreements revealed on December 9th. Microsoft intends to include high-resolution satellite images and elevation data from Airbus into Azure Maps, the company’s geospatial services platform.
Airbus will provide data from its Spot 1.5-meter resolution, Pleiades 50-centimeter resolution, and Pleiades Neo 30-centimeter resolution satellite photography, as well as orthorectification-ready elevation data from WorldDEM4Ortho.
“What’s intriguing about this is that it’s not just about bringing data,” Kitay explained. “It’s then about interpreting the facts and drawing conclusions from it.”
Microsoft builds digital Earth doppelganger
With this purpose in mind, Microsoft formed alliances with ESRI, Orbital Insight, and Blackshark.ai, a firm that blends satellite photography with artificial intelligence to build a digital doppelganger of Earth.
“This is all about putting data, geospatial analytics, AI, and cloud performance together in one location, facilitating access and making it easier for space-borne data and AI to function in the cloud,” Kitay explained.
In 2020, Microsoft announced its interest in the space business by launching Azure Orbital, the company’s ground station as a service. Azure Orbital is a service that sends satellite data to the cloud for processing and storage.
Microsoft to release public samples of Azure Orbital
Microsoft is prepared to release public samples of Azure Orbital after thorough testing through private tests.
“Anyone may now communicate and operate satellites utilizing a worldwide network of ground stations controlled by Microsoft and our partners with no additional backhaul charges into Azure,” Kitay explained.
According to Kitay, Microsoft is also expanding its partnership with KSAT to include KSATlite ground stations. “This will be expanded with Viasat and [the U.S. Electrodynamics Inc.] next year.” This enables our clients to utilize a single application to command and operate this worldwide network, resulting in simplicity of use and efficiency.”
Furthermore, Azure Space is collaborating with ST Engineering iDirect “on satcom solutions for virtualized modems that can be simply deployed and utilized by our Azure Orbital clients,” according to Kitay.
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