Amazon adds antenna service for satellite data; courts space industry

Partners with Lockheed Martin

Amazon.com has announced a new antenna service for uploading and downloading data from satellites, in a bid to lure space industry and other customers to the cloud.

The world's no.1 cloud computing company said it was aiming to make data transfers from space cheaper and easier through 12 antennas that will allow direct transmission to its data centres across the globe.

The company also announced a partnership with Lockheed Martin, whose satellite receivers would connect directly to AWS Ground Stations to help manage data downloads in real time and meet unanticipated demand.

Amazon said the capability would be available to AWS customers in the government or regulated industries, a key area for the company as it bids for a US$10 billion contract with the U.S. Department of Defense.

"It’s not so simple dealing with satellites if you actually want to be able to upload and download data," said Andy Jassy, CEO of Amazon Web Services.

He was in Las Vegas to announce the service, which he called a "total game changer for how people can interact with satellites."

Amazon's founder and largest shareholder, Jeff Bezos, is well known for his interest in the final frontier, and he privately owns space company Blue Origin.

In September, Reuters reported that AWS was in talks with Chile to house and mine massive amounts of data generated by the country's telescopes.

The company already provides a cloud platform for the Hubble Telescope's data and the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research in Australia.

(Reporting By Jeffrey Dastin; Additional reporting by Cassandra Garrison and Mike Stone; Editing by David Gregorio and Dan Grebler)

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