Image taken by the ION Elysian Eleonora satellite in January 2022.
of Amazon The cloud computing division has successfully run a software suite on an orbiting satellite, in a “first-of-its-kind” test, the company announced Tuesday.
AWS, or Amazon Web Services, conducted a prototype satellite software demonstration in collaboration with Italian company D-Orbit and Swedish venture Unibap. The experiment has been conducted in low Earth orbit for the past 10 months, using the T-Orbit satellite as the test platform.
The success of the AWS demo has implications for the space industry, meaning that spacecraft — from space stations to satellites — experience disruptions in both data storage and communications while in orbit.
A “downlink”, the process of transferring data from orbit, requires a spacecraft to connect to a ground station, with limitations such as the speed of the connection or the window of time the spacecraft is above the ground station.
AWS’s software is very useful for automatically reviewing images and sending them to the ground. It reduced the size of images by up to 42%.
“We demonstrated the ability to scale up [satellite’s] Productivity,” AWS Vice President Max Peterson told CNBC.
“This test also shows that AWS can help companies perform intelligence operations on a satellite, rather than waiting for you to return to Earth,” Peterson said.
“We can train models to recognize practically anything… [giving] “The ability to optimize the use of the most expensive asset in the space, and to be able to take large amounts of data and gain insights and quickly translate that into action,” said Peterson.
AWS has steadily built out its Aerospace and Satellite Solutions unit Its establishment in 2020The company provides cloud services to various customers and partners in the aerospace industry.