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In a first, Amazon to let companies download satellite data using its ground stations

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Andy Jassy, CEO of Amazon Web Services (AWS), launched his company’s latest service, AWS Ground Station. The service, Jassy hopes, will allow customers to download data from satellites into AWS Global Infrastructure Regions more easily and inexpensively.

In a first, Amazon to let companies download satellite data using its ground stations
You’ve heard of SaaS (Software as a Service), now say hello to GSaaS — Ground Stations as a Service — courtesy of Amazon.
Andy Jassy, CEO of Amazon Web Services (AWS), launched his company’s latest service, AWS Ground Station. The service, Jassy hopes, will allow customers to download data from satellites into AWS Global Infrastructure Regions more easily and inexpensively.
Amazon Web Services, which is Amazon’s cloud business, in a press release on Monday said it currently manages a network of 12 ground station antennas, which will be deployed for the company’s GSaaS venture.
“We have a really broad footprint in our 19 regions across the world, for the service,” said Jassy, while addressing the media at the company’s annual conference, Re:Invent, in Las Vegas.
Cheaper Satellite Data
Uplinking and downlinking satellite data, AWS says, is bound to get cheaper. AWS Ground Station, the company believes, could aid timely downlink without the need to buy or maintain expensive infrastructure.
At present, companies that use satellite data invest large sums in building ground stations, to receive and process satellite data. This significant capital investment also involves operational costs to manage and maintain antennas, computing infrastructure and business logistics. Add to this, costs involved in setting up servers, storage and networking in close proximity to these antennas.
“Now, all that these companies will need to do is schedule ground station time, downlink and uplink satellite data and immediately start data-processing,” said Jassy, “Our pay-per-use ground stations now mean that customers save up to 80 percent of their ground station costs.”
Strategic Tie-ups
At present, AWS Ground Station has space firms and satellite imaging companies like Lockheed Martin, BlackSky and Open Cosmos as part of its clientele. These firms have reportedly signed up for AWS Ground Station.
Meanwhile, Lockheed Martin Space has already firmed up plans to integrate AWS Ground Station with its new Verge antenna network. The resulting product, Lockheed Martin Space EVP Rick Ambrose said, would be a “low-cost, resilient solution” for customers to downlink satellite data.
At present, customers wait for satellites to pass over a certain location, with existing ground infrastructure. Lockheed Martin’s satellite receiver is the size of a shoebox, and lets customers have them in multiple locations, to download satellite data whenever required. “At present, two-thirds of industry’s investments in satellite downlinks is spent on ground stations,” said Ambrose.
Integrating the hardware with AWS Ground Station, Ambrose said, would “increase customer capabilities and experiences.”
“We have ten antennas at present in the Denver area,” he added.
Lockheed Martin said that with nearly 16,000 new satellites expected to be launched in the next decade, the solution could exponentially decrease costs attached to the data processed from them.
 
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