On Tuesday Amazon announced its “first of its kind” experiment wherein the company’s cloud computing department successfully ran a software suite on a satellite in orbit in Las Vegas.
Amazon Web Services or AWS through a partnership with Italian company D-Orbit and Swedish venture Unibap conducted a demonstration of the prototype satellite. The experiment was conducted using a D-Orbit satellite as the test platform in low Earth orbit over the past 10 months.
The D-Orbit satellite was launched into space along with other satellites in January as part of a SpaceX mission.
The AWS demo has implications for the success of the experiment across the space industry, as spacecraft, which means that everything from satellites to space stations faced a bottleneck or delay in the process of both data storage and communication while in orbit.
The process of sending data from orbit to Earth requires a spacecraft to connect to a ground station but it has many limitations such as the speed of the connection or the time window in which the spacecraft is above the ground station.
But with the AWS software, it would be easier to send data and images where it will automatically review the images to decide whether they would be useful to send or not and the most useful images will be sent to the ground. Not only that, but it will also reduce the size of the images by up to 42%.
“We demonstrated the capability to increase the [satellite’s] productivity,” AWS vice president Max Peterson told CNBC.
The vice president added that the experiment also proved that Amazon Web Series can help different companies to perform “insight operations on the satellite, instead of having to wait until you can downlink back to Earth.”
“We can train models to recognize practically anything … [giving] the ability to both improve the utilization of a really expensive asset in space and be able to take huge amounts of data and get insights and translate it into action faster,” Peterson said.
“Using AWS software to perform real-time data analysis [on board] an orbiting satellite, and delivering that analysis directly to decision makers via the cloud, is a definite shift in existing approaches to space data management. It also helps push the boundaries of what we believe is possible for satellite operations.” He added.
About Amazon Web Series
AWS has built out its Aerospace and Satellite Solutions team since its establishment in 2020, with the firm delivering cloud services to a combination of customers and partners across the space sector.