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Amazon Starts Satellite Download, Cloud Storage Service With 12 Antenna Ground Stations

Amazon Web Services (AWS) has started a new cloud service that simplifies the download and storage of data from satellites. The announcement was made at the company’s AWS re:Invent event. With its new AWS Ground Station, Amazon is inviting space and other companies to use a managed network of 12 ground station antennas stationed around the world. The antennas will let users download satellite data to a ground station and then process it at an Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) centre. The data can then be stored with Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3) and AWS analytics and machine learning services can be applied to gain insights. Users can also use Amazon’s network to move the data to other regions and processing facilities. TechCrunch calls the product “satellites as a service.”

Amazon said customers can with a few clicks in the AWS Management Console schedule antenna access time and launch an Amazon EC2 instance to communicate with the satellite. There are no up-front payments or long-term commitments, no ground infrastructure to build or manage, and customers pay-by-the-minute for antenna access time used.

With the AWS Ground Station’s self-service graphical interface, users can easily see where antennas are located, identify communications windows, and schedule antenna time. The antennas are all located at AWS Regions, meaning customers will benefit from low-latency and local access to other AWS services to process and store their data.

Specifically, clients can use Amazon EC2 to control satellites and downlink data, store and share the data in Amazon Elastic Block Store (Amazon EBS), Amazon Elastic File System (Amazon EFS), or Amazon S3, use Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (Amazon VPC) for secure communications between Amazon EC2 instances and the AWS Ground Station antenna gateway, look for real-time business insights with Amazon Kinesis Data Streams and Amazon Elastic Map Reduce, apply machine learning algorithms and models with Amazon SageMaker, add image analysis with Amazon Rekognition, and improve data sets by combining satellite data with IoT sensor data from AWS IoT Greengrass.

Customers can combine these capabilities to build new applications that might use image recognition to identify and protect endangered animals, machine learning to predict faulty construction or industrial systems, or analytics to estimate oil production or assess agriculture yields in real time.

DigitalGlobe, a provider of high-resolution Earth imagery, data and analysis, is already using the new system, as is BlackSky, an intelligence platform for data on the earth, and Spire Globa, a space to cloud analytics company. – Telecom Paper

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