Why Amazon Is Now Giving AWS Users Access to Its Satellites

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Satellites are being used by more and more businesses, universities and governments for a variety of applications, and Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) is looking to expand this service to its users.

So Amazon has announced the general availability of AWS Ground Station. This new service makes it easy and cost-effective for customers to control satellites from AWS and download data from these satellites. Despite this monumental announcement, Amazon’s shares dipped on Thursday.

Ultimately, the data is downloaded into the AWS Global Infrastructure Regions platform that uses a fully managed network of ground station antennas located around the world. Once customers upload satellite commands and data through AWS Ground Station, they can quickly download large amounts of data over the high-speed AWS Ground Station network, immediately process it in an Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud instance, store it in Amazon Simple Storage Service, apply AWS analytics and machine learning services to gain insights and use Amazon’s network to move the data to other regions and processing facilities.

This is a significant undertaking and cost because customers often require antennas in multiple countries to download data when and where they need it without waiting for the satellite to pass over a desired location.

Using AWS Ground Station, customers can save up to 80% of their ground station costs by paying for antenna access time on demand, and they can rely on AWS Ground Station’s growing global footprint of ground stations to downlink data when and where they need it.

Shayn Hawthorne, general manager of AWS Ground Station, commented:

Satellite data offers customers a profound way to build applications that help humans explore space and improve life on Earth, but the cost and difficulty of building and maintaining the infrastructure necessary to downlink and process the data has historically been prohibitive for all but the most well-funded organizations. The goal of AWS Ground Station is to make space communications ubiquitous and to make ground stations simple and easy to use, so that more organizations can derive insights from satellite data to help improve life on Earth and embark on deeper exploration and discovery in space.

Shares of Amazon were last seen down about 2% at $1,818.49, in a 52-week range of $1,307.00 to $2,050.50. The consensus price target is $2,170.21.


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