SpaceX, Microsoft partner in global satellite Internet project

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launches at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. File Photo by Joe Marino-Bill Cantrell/UPI
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launches at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. File Photo by Joe Marino-Bill Cantrell/UPI | License Photo

Oct. 20 (UPI) -- Microsoft and SpaceX announced a partnership Tuesday that would marry the tech leader's Azure computing system with space company's Starlink satellite Internet service.

Through Starlink, SpaceX plans to use thousands of satellites that would provide high-speed Internet anywhere on Earth. Microsoft's Azure would connect those satellite to the cloud storage.


"The collaboration that we're announcing today will allow us to work together to deliver new offerings for both the public and the private sector to deliver connectivity through Starlink for use on Azure," SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell said in a video. "Where it makes sense, we will work with [Microsoft]: co-selling to our mutual customers, co-selling to new enterprise and future customers."

Tom Keane, corporate vice president of Microsoft's Azure Global, said with the space community rapidly growing, new technologies have made connectivity and computing in space more attainable for private and public entities. He said such innovations can be used to benefit a wide range of fields from agriculture, energy, telecommunications and government.

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A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket is bolted to Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on September 17, carrying dozens of Starlink satellites. File Photo by Joe Marino/UPI

The partnership allows Microsoft to go head-to-head with Amazon and Starlink challenger Kuiper. That pairing would allow the e-commerce giant's AWS cloud to use satellites, as well.

The Microsoft-SpaceX partnership will connect Starlink's network to Microsoft data centers around the world. Microsoft said it will mostly be used for customers "who need cloud computing capabilities in hybrid or challenging environments, including remote areas."

"Resilient satellite communications, coupled with Azure's ability to provide high-performance computing, machine learning and data analytics opens many new opportunities for both public- and private-sector organizations," Keane said.

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"Our partnership approach to satellite communication solutions helps us bring these capabilities to customers faster to help solve their mission-critical space needs," he said.

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