Amazon Web Services considers spatial opportunities from tourism to manufacturing
Amazon Web Services, the cloud computing unit of billionaire Jeff Bezos’ e-commerce company, Amazon, is studying space opportunities in asteroid mining, tourism, manufacturing, and digital services over the past five to four. next ten years.
It comes as an increasingly lucrative and competitive market unfolds beyond the 100-kilometer-high Karman Line – a definition of the boundary between Earth’s atmosphere and outer space.
With the emergence of new sectors in the space industry, the world’s largest cloud service provider seeks to reduce the costs of capturing, analyzing, storing and sharing valuable spatial data in a fraction of the time for businesses. clients from large governments to small start-ups.
âWe want to democratize spatial data. We want to deliver spatial data to more people in more places around the world, so innovative people can come up with all kinds of new ways to support climate, economic development or smart cities or environmental monitoring, âClint Croisier, director of Aerospace and Satellite Solutions Unit at AWS, Recount The National on the sidelines of the Dubai International Astronautical Congress.
âWe need to make data available in places where it is not available today and that is one of our real goals. At AWS, one of our mantras is to âmake the world a better place from spaceâ.
The global space industry could generate more than $ 1 trillion in revenues in 2040, up from $ 350 billion today, against a backdrop of high private funding, technological advancements and growing public sector interest in renewing space. the call for space exploration, according to a report by Morgan Stanley.
The potential opportunities lie in areas such as satellite broadband, high-speed product delivery and manned space travel, he said.
AWS’s aerospace unit envisions applications for its cloud computing services over the next decade and beyond in emerging industries.
âThere is a larger group of missions emerging in space that we don’t do today than we will, and I would put space tourism in that category, but manufacturing in orbit is one of the things that are really the most interesting, âsaid Mr. Croisier, a former US Air Force major general who recently led the creation of the US Space Force.
Building and assembling satellites on the ground before launching them into space is very expensive, leading companies to explore platforms similar to the International Space Station (ISS) that can be used for additive manufacturing and construction of pieces in space, he said.
This reduces costs and opens up possibilities such as the possibility of creating purer optical fibers in a zero gravity environment.
“It doesn’t sound so crazy to say that we’ll have people living and working on the Moon, so how do you go about sustaining their lives?” You have to be able to develop and manufacture things in space, âhe said.
For example, AWS works with Italy’s D orbit, which manages space logistics, including the maintenance of satellite parts in orbit. AWS is also working with a team that used a probe to extract a soil sample from a large asteroid and bring it back to Earth for analysis.
In terms of environmental monitoring, AWS has partnered with Descartes Laboratories, which uses geospatial data to address global challenges such as climate change, sustainability, food security and protection of natural resources.
He also partnered with Satellite Vu, an Earth observation company that uses thermal imaging to monitor the temperature of any building on the planet in near real time to gain insight into their energy efficiency, carbon footprint, and economic activity.
A growing trend is the use of digital design and engineering which can save space companies millions of dollars in design and testing costs, save years of testing and “will change the future,” declared Mr. Crosier.
“For each of these [uses], you need cloud computing technologies for speed, capacity and global infrastructure, âhe said. âYou just can’t do these missions without advanced cloud-based technology, so that’s what I see as really interesting going forward. “
With the number of satellites in space expected to increase tenfold to around 30,000 over the next 10 years, there is a need to effectively manage space traffic and avoid collisions in the low Earth orbit environment, Mr. Crosier.
AWS Aerospace Unit works with LeoLabs, which provides commercial radar tracking services for objects in low earth orbit. Its services include collision prevention, risk assessment, constellation monitoring and situational awareness in the retail space.
Using AWS’s capabilities allows the company to run satellite maneuver scenarios that used to take about eight hours in less than a minute, according to Croisier.
âYou can only do this in the cloud,â he said.
Another growing problem is the increasing volume of space debris, which increases the risk of collision with spacecraft and satellites.
“It will certainly become more of a challenge in the future,” said Mr. Croisier. âThe thousands of satellites for millions of trajectories that you need to be able to run in real time, you can only do it in the cloud. “
With the growing number of satellites in space, “we’ll have more data than we know what to do with it,” creating the need for faster ways to understand it.
Mr Crosier said cloud services allow space companies to save on investment in hardware, use AWS ground stations on a pay-per-minute system, and allow start-ups to scale up. their growth.
AWS and the UAE’s Mohammed bin Rashid Space Center (MBRSC) called on start-ups to participate in a space technology challenge to develop deep learning or machine learning models that automatically detect palm trees in the space that allow them to collect data and extract information that would help the date industry.
The finalists will be announced at the Dubai Airshow next month.
AWS has set up its aerospace and satellite unit in June 2020, in response to a growing global space economy.
Its clients include the MBRSC, Nasa, Lockheed Martin, and aerospace start-up Boom Supersonic.
Update: October 31, 2021, 7:14 a.m.