Microsoft Azure is transforming its cloud into space

Microsoft Azure is transforming its cloud into space ...

Microsofts plans to expand its cloud operations into space are well underway, with the company having recently announced a noticeable new start on its extra-terrestrial mission.

The company''s latest announcement includes a preview of Azure Orbital Cloud Access, which, according to the company, serves as a foundation for the future of integrated 5G and satellite communications.

The low-latency cloud access, which works in conjunction with SpaceXs Starlink, is intended to be accessible from anywhere on the planet, which will be particularly beneficial to businesses outside of major cities where standard cellular signal is limited.

Microsoft Azure Orbital Cloud

Microsoft revealed the general availability of the Azure Orbital Ground Station, which is a fully-management ground station as-a-service as part of the announcement.

Microsoft has stated that it is partnering with a broad network of ground station partner networks to allow our customers to deliver data to an Azure region of choice at a reduced cost, thus reducing their total operational costs and ensuring data is available in the Azure tenant for further processing.

The ground station became available to all satellite operators, including Pixxel, Muon Space, and Loft Orbital on September 14, 2022.

SES, the company''s Medium Earth Orbit (MEO) network partner for Microsoft orbital, will collaborate with Microsoft to develop a virtualized satellite communications ground network, which is believed to be a world first. Software-defined hubs, customer edge terminals, and new virtual network capabilities will be among the most likely drivers behind the joint venture''s expansion.

Microsoft is not the only company with intentions to expand its cloud-based operations beyond the physical clouds. According to a study from The Register, Segment leader AWS has its in-house Aerospace and Satellite program, while Google follows behind having reached a deal with SpaceX last year.

For the time being, the Azure Orbital Cloud Access preview is only available to Azure Government customers, but if nothing else, it gives a clue to what might improve productivity in the future.