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Amazon Web Services unveils satellite service Ground Station

November 27, 2018  

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At AWS re:Invent today, Amazon Web Services, Inc. (AWS), released AWS Ground Station, a new service that it said makes it easy and cost-effective for customers to download data from satellites into AWS Global Infrastructure Regions using a managed network of 12 ground station antennas located around the world.

The company said in a release that once customers receive satellite data at a ground station, they can process it in an Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) instance, store it in Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3) apply AWS analytics and machine learning services to gain insights, and use Amazon’s network to move the data to other regions and processing facilities.

“Getting started with AWS Ground Station takes just a few clicks in the AWS Management Console to schedule antenna access time and launch an Amazon EC2 instance to communicate with the satellite,” the company said.

“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.

“Satellites are being used by more and more businesses, universities, and governments for a variety of applications, including weather forecasting, surface imaging, and communications,” the company said.

“To do this today, customers must build or lease ground antennas to communicate with the satellites. This is a significant undertaking and cost because customers often require antennas in multiple countries to download data when and where they need it without waiting for the satellite to pass over a desired location.”

AWS Ground Station allows customers to more easily and cost-effectively control satellite operations, ingest satellite data, and integrate the data with applications and other cloud services running in AWS, it added.

“Satellite data is incredibly useful for building a wide range of important applications, but it is complex and expensive to build and operate the infrastructure needed to do so,” said Charlie Bell, senior vice president at AWS.

“A few years back our customers asked us if we could remove that cost and complexity, and the more we thought about it, the more we realized that AWS with its global footprint was uniquely positioned to solve this challenge.”