Cloud computing has revolutionized all kinds of business environments and workplaces, but one of the biggest players in the industry now hopes to help accelerate the next big breakthroughs in space as well.
Speaking at the recent AWS re:Invent 2022 event, Clint Crosier, the company’s director of aerospace and satellite, outlined how the company strongly supports the use of cloud computing in space.
In a panel session with Peggy Whitson, an astronaut and director of spaceflight at Axiom, Crosier described “what we at AWS call making the world a better place with a space mission.”
The race for space
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos was famous for funding many space-related projects through his company Blue Origin, but his former company’s cloud division clearly sees space as the next big tech frontier.
Recently, AWS revealed that it has conducted a positive trial of its software suite on a Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite for the first time this year. The trial involved successfully uploading image data from the satellite, and the software automatically screened the images to decide which ones were most useful to send back to Earth.
Crosier explained that NASA’s recent handover of other LEO activities to private companies like Blue Origin could be a good thing for scientific discovery, with companies like Whitson’s Axiom taking over the “mundane” tasks that will allow NASA to move on to its next big project.
Crosier, who admitted to becoming a “cloud fanatic” while at AWS, described how future space activities such as satellite repair, asteroid mining, and even tourism and space exploration will require greater computing power as well as more processing speed and energy that the cloud can provide.
“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.
“What’s really exciting about using technology for me is that every year it seems like we’re coming up with a new way to use space that we didn’t know before that actually improves lives, and in some cases, saves lives. I love that the advanced technical capabilities of the cloud support this mission to do it faster and more efficiently than ever before.”
“Just as Earth has benefited from the terrestrial cloud … all new space missions that come into space will require the same advanced cloud-based technology,” he said, “so our goal at AWS is to push this to wherever they need it customers”.