Azure Space has been growing in recent years as Microsoft acquires more customers. To appeal more to satellite operators and give them tools to focus on mission success, Microsoft has shown how Azure Orbital Ground Stations as-a-Service (GSaaS) can provide life extensions and a reduction in operating costs.

Microsoft says it collaborated with the National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration (NOAA) and its current partner Xplore. The goal was to see how it can use Azure commercial cloud services to enhance satellite missions for NOAA’s legacy polar satellites (NOAA-18).

The result was Microsoft’s cloud could extend the life of the mission while also helping NOAA to reduce costs. Through a year-long cooperative research and development agreement (CRADA) between Microsoft and NOAA, the partners were able to assess the qualities of the Azure Orbital Ground Stations platform:

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“This successful demonstration shows that the Azure Orbital GSaaS, and the partner network it brings together, enables sustainable outcomes for satellite operators. Our work with NOAA is just the beginning of the journey. We look forward to partnering with additional satellite operators to help them reduce their infrastructure management costs, lower latency, increase capacity and resiliency, and empower their missions through the power of Azure Orbital GSaaS and the Azure cloud.”

Azure Orbital

Microsoft launched Azure Orbital Ground Station as-a-service in 2021. Azure Orbital runs off its own datacenter located in Quincy, Washington.

Microsoft is also using its Azure Modular Datacenters as part of the Azure Space initiative. These are caravan-sized mobile datacenters for computing and storage that can deploy in remote locations. While Microsoft is leading Azure Orbital with its own datacenters, the company is also teaming with several partners. Among them a Kratos, Kubos, Viasat, and US Electrodynamics Inc.

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