Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) is working with several companies to demonstrate new use cases for the Microsoft Azure space cloud service, Azure Orbital.
Microsoft and space connectivity provider Omnispace today announced they are working together to use a Microsoft Azure-centric hybrid 5G non-terrestrial network (5G NTN) to connect to Omnispace’s low Earth orbit (LEO) constellation via Omnispace’s licensed 2 GHz spectrum in 3GPP band n256, also known as “S band.”
The demonstration network will use Azure Orbital, Microsoft’s ground-station-as-a-service offering to route voice and data traffic directly from mobile devices via Omnispace’s constellation. The project is not limited to consumer devices; it will also incorporate internet of things (IoT) and enterprise and government devices, a spokesperson confirmed to Connectivity Business News.
Omnispace’s IoT partners include ultra-low-cost sensor developer Lacuna Space and low power radio (LoRa) chip specialist Semtech (NASDAQ: SMTC).
In other 5G news today, Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) and Intel (NASDAQ: INTC) announced they have expanded their partnership to build 5G-enabled hardware and software solutions for the U.S. Department of Defense, as in Lockheed Martin’s 5G.MIL Hybrid Base Station for ubiquitous communications, as well as the use of Intel technology to power edge cloud computing.
Thales Alenia Space for on-orbit services
Thales Alenia Space, a joint venture between France-based Thales (Euronext Paris: HO) and Italy-based Leonardo (BIT: LDO), announced a partnership with Microsoft for on-orbit edge computing on the International Space Station (ISS) in 2023.
Additionally, Thales Alenia Space’s Earth observation data analytics software DeeperVision is being integrated into Azure Orbital for faster processing.
Hewlett Packard Enterprise for safety data
A Hewlett Packard Enterprise (NYSE: HPE) edge computing system, Spaceborne Computer-2, is on the ISS undergoing trial tests, analyzing the safety of astronauts’ gloves.
“After a spacewalk, crew members take pictures of astronauts’ gloves while they remove their spacesuits in the airlock,” wrote Tom Keane, Microsoft corporate vice president of mission engineering, in a blog post today. “These pictures are then immediately sent to HPE’s Spaceborne Computer-2 onboard the ISS, where the Glove Analyzer model rapidly looks for signs of damage live in space. If any damage is detected, a message is immediately sent to Earth, highlighting areas for further review by NASA engineers.”
The service “is in a trial stage – meaning it runs analyses on the gloves but is not used to make crucial safety decisions,” Keane added.