Cloud computing has revolutionized all kinds of business and workplace environments, but one of the industry’s biggest players is now hoping it can also help accelerate the next big space breakthroughs.
At the recent AWS re:Invent 2022 event, Clint Crosier, the company’s director of aerospace and satellite, outlined how the company heavily supports the use of cloud computing in space.
During a panel session with Peggy Whitson, astronaut and director of human spaceflight at Axiom, Crosier described, “what we at AWS call making the world a better place from the space mission.”
The race for space
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has funded multiple space-based projects through his company Blue Origin, but the cloud arm of his former company clearly sees space as the technology’s next big frontier.
AWS recently revealed that it had conducted a first positive trial of its software suite on a low Earth orbit (LEO) satellite earlier this year. The trial involved successful downlinks of image data from the satellite, with the software automatically reviewing images to decide which were most useful to send back to Earth.
Crosier explained that NASA’s recent transfer of other LEO businesses to private companies like Blue Origin could be a good thing for scientific discovery, with companies like Whitson’s Axiom taking over “mundane” tasks that allow NASA to move on to the next big project.
The Crosiers, who admitted he had become “a cloud fanatic” during his time at AWS, outlined how future space activities, such as satellite repair, asteroid mining, and even space tourism and exploration, will all require more computing capabilities, as well as more processing speed and power, which the cloud can help provide.
“What you can do with the cloud is create infrastructure, tinker with it (tinker with it) to get to optimal designs…” he noted.
“What really excites me about the application of technology is that it seems like every year we come up with a new way to use space capacity that we didn’t know before that actually improves lives and in some cases saves lives. I am thrilled that the advanced technical capabilities of the cloud support this mission to do this faster and more effectively than ever before.”
“Just as Earth has benefited from the terrestrial cloud…any new missions we see emerging into space will require the same advanced cloud-based technology,” he said, “so our goal at AWS is to bring that to where customers need it. to have.”