Microsoft is expanding its focus on space, working with SpaceX to combine the power of Azure with the latter’s Starlink internet.
Microsoft unveiled Azure Space nearly two years ago, partnering with SpaceX, among others. The company is expanding that collaboration with the goal of bringing Azure cloud computing to whether customers need it, thanks to Starlink satellite internet.
“Azure Orbital Cloud Access brings connectivity from the cloud wherever businesses and public sector organizations need it the most,” writes Jason Zander, EVP, Strategic Missions and Technologies. “Across the space ecosystem, we are seeing a proliferation of low-latency satellite communication networks. This massive new expansion of connectivity across fiber, cellular, and satellite networks demands a new approach to connectivity, one which intelligently prioritizes traffic across these options, and bridges resilient connectivity into a seamless cloud experience.
“Today, we are announcing the preview of Azure Orbital Cloud Access. Serving as a step toward the future of integrated 5G and satellite communications, Azure Orbital Cloud Access is a new service that enables low-latency (1-hop) access to the cloud—from anywhere on the planet—making it easier to bring satellite-based communications into your enterprise cloud operation.”
The service is currently only available to Azure Government customers. Microsoft is pitching it as an option where there is little to no connectivity or in applications that require a redundant fallback connection.
Microsoft says its Azure traffic will be prioritized on Starlink’s network, offering the speed and reliability its customers require.
“Starlink’s high-speed, low-latency global connectivity in conjunction with Azure infrastructure will enable users to access fiber-like cloud computing access anywhere, anytime. We’re excited to offer this solution to both the public and the private sector.”—Gwynne Shotwell, SpaceX President and Chief Operating Officer