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Microsoft and SpaceX partner in global satellite project

October 21, 2020

SpaceX and Microsoft have confirmed a partnership that will see Microsoft’s Azure cloud computing system link with SpaceX’s Starlink satellite internet service.

“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 release. “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 VP/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.

The partnership allows Microsoft to go head-to-head with Amazon and Starlink challenger Kuiper from Amazon’s Jeff Bezos.

The Microsoft-SpaceX partnership will connect Starlink’s network to Microsoft data centres around the planet. 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 organisations,” Keane added. “Our partnership approach to satellite communication solutions helps us bring these capabilities to customers faster to help solve their mission-critical space needs.”

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