SpaceX has decided to partner up with Azure, the massive cloud-computing service built by Microsoft, to abet it develop and operate experimental satellites that are able to detect missile launches all over the world.
The multinational technology company revealed its partnership with SpaceX on Tuesday as part of its larger announcement of new modular data centres, or shipping-container-like platforms crammed with cloud-computing resources that can be deployed to remote areas of the world.
The Space Exploration Technologies Corp. plans to flawlessly link Microsoft’s new devices through Starlink, the rocket company’s increasing fleet of internet-beaming satellites. (SpaceX plans to launch up to 42,000 spacecraft and link them with lasers to ostensibly provide a faster, space-based alternative to fibreoptic networks.)
“The collaboration includes connecting Starlink’s high speed, low-latency satellite broadband with Azure’s new Modular Datacenter (MDC),” Microsoft wrote in an announcement about the partnership. “The two companies also plan to further connect Starlink with Microsoft’s global network — including Azure edge devices — integrating SpaceX’s ground stations with Azure networking capabilities.”
Scenarios for the use of MDCs “range from mobile command centers, humanitarian assistance, military mission needs, mineral exploration, and other use cases requiring high intensity, secure computing on Azure,” Microsoft wrote in a blog post.
Microsoft also announced that it’s helping SpaceX as a subcontractor for the new Pentagon project, which aims to improve and expand the American Department of Défense’s ability to detect missile launches. For that $149 million (R2.5 billion) contract, which the US Space Development Agency recently awarded to SpaceX, the company will use its Starlink satellite factory in Redmond, Washington, to build four experimental satellites outfitted with an undisclosed company’s infrared sensors, Reuters reported.
“We will be delivering to the government a number of satellites that host a capability to protect against ballistic weapons, and we were really proud to have Microsoft on our team there,” Gwynne Shotwell, SpaceX’s COO and president, said in a video published by Microsoft on Tuesday.
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