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Amazon launches AWS Ground Station to ingest and process satellite data

Amazon Web Services has launched a fully-managed ground-station offering for satellite operators, as it looks to bring its Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) model to the satellite industry.

AWS Ground Station can be used by customers on an as-needed, pay-as-you-go basis as an alternative to building their own ground station or taking out long-term contracts with other ground station providers.

“Amazon EC2 made compute power accessible on a cost-effective, pay-as-you-go basis. AWS Ground Station does the same for satellite ground stations,” said AWS chief evangelist, Jeff Barr, in a blog post announcing the launch.

“If you need access to a ground station on a regular basis to capture Earth observations or distribute content world-wide, you can reserve capacity ahead of time and pay even less. AWS Ground Station is a fully managed service. You don’t need to build or maintain antennas, and can focus on your work or research.”

AWS will launch with two ground stations and expects to have 12 in operation by mid-2019. Each ground station will be associated with a particular AWS Region and AWS will process raw analogue satellite data into a digitised data stream.

“Your entire workflow, from the ground stations all the way through to processing, storage, reporting, and delivery, can now be done on elastic, pay-as-you-go infrastructure,” said Barr.