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AWS targets space for the development of cloud capabilities in the future

One of the main participants in the cloud computing sector expects that the technology can speed up future discoveries in space as well as the many other industries it has already transformed.

When asked about AWS’s support for cloud computing in space, Clint Crosier, the company’s director of aerospace and satellite, spoke at the recent AWS re:Invent 2022 event.

Crosier, who spoke on a panel with Axiom’s director of human space flight Peggy Whitson, said, “what we at AWS call the making the world a better place from space mission.”

Competition in the space programme

Even though Jeff Bezos, creator of Amazon, has supported many space-related initiatives via his firm Blue Origin, the cloud division of Amazon still views space as the next great frontier for the industry.

AWS recently announced that earlier this year it successfully tested its software suite on a satellite in low-Earth orbit (LEO). Successful downlinks of satellite imaging data were part of the study, with the programme doing an automated evaluation to determine which photos would be most beneficial to transmit.

According to Crosier, the recent transfer of additional LEO activities by NASA to private businesses like Blue Origin might be beneficial to scientific discovery, since it will free up NASA’s resources to focus on the next major project by having companies like Whitson’s Axiom do “mundane” jobs.

Since joining AWS, Crosier has become something of a “cloud zealot,” and he recently gave a talk outlining how the expansion of cloud computing will be essential for future space endeavours like satellite maintenance, asteroid mining, and even space tourism and exploration.

“What the cloud allows you to do is create infrastructure, tinker (with it) to come up with optimal designs…and then with two or three clicks of a button you can upload it to the ISS – that’s a game-changer,” he noted.

“The thing that’s really exciting to me in the application of technology is it seems every year we come up with a new way to use space capability that we didn’t know before that actually improves lives, and in some cases, saves lives… I love that the advanced technical capabilities of cloud support this mission to do this faster and more effectively than ever before.”

“Just like the Earth has benefitted from the terrestrial cloud…all the new missions we see emerging in space are going to require the same advanced cloud-based technology,” he said, “so our goal at AWS is to push that to wherever customers need it.”