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Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) Azure partners with SpaceX to offer cloud computing in space

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This article was originally published on All figures quoted in US dollars unless otherwise stated.

Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ: MSFT) announced today that it would partner with Elon Musk's SpaceX and others to bring cloud computing to the "final frontier." The initiative, dubbed Azure Space, will use the services of a combined fleet of low-orbit spacecraft and traditional satellites to better connect the evolving space industry with the cloud. 

The service will target both commercial and government space agencies, providing a system of integrated, secure links connecting a variety of cloud, space, and ground capabilities. Microsoft will also provide mobile cloud data centers that can be deployed anywhere across the planet, particularly in challenging environments with little or no infrastructure, which will connect to and communicate with the partner satellites. 

SpaceX, which has gained a name for itself with the use of reusable two-stage rocket and astronaut capsules, is working on a constellation of internet-beaming satellites called Starlink, with plans to bring internet service to virtually anywhere on Earth.

The news follows Microsoft's announcement last month of the launch of Azure Orbital, a service designed to enable satellite operators to communicate with and control their satellites, as well as "gathering, transporting, and processing of geospatial data." Orbital will also enable operators to directly downlink data to their virtual network in Azure.

Microsoft will compete directly with Inc (NASDAQ: AMZN) Web Services (AWS) Ground Station, which offers a similar suite of technology services, allowing users to communicate with, downlink, and process satellite data directly to the cloud. CEO Jeff Bezos also owns rocket company Blue Origin, which competes with SpaceX and is planning its own constellation of 3,236 satellites.  

Other collaborators on the Azure Space project include SES, one of the world's largest satellite operators, ground communication specialist KSAT, ground station provider ViaSat Inc (NASDAQ: VSAT), and aerospace and defense specialist Kratos Defense & Security Solutions Inc (NASDAQ: KTOS). Partners also include mission control software provider Kubos, ground communications provider Amergint, and US Electrodynamics, which provides satellite teleport services.

This article was originally published on All figures quoted in US dollars unless otherwise stated.

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Danny Vena owns shares of Amazon and Microsoft. John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Market, an Amazon subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool’s board of directors. Teresa Kersten, an employee of LinkedIn, a Microsoft subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool’s board of directors. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. owns shares of and recommends Amazon and Microsoft and recommends the following options: long January 2022 $1920 calls on Amazon, short January 2021 $115 calls on Microsoft, long January 2021 $85 calls on Microsoft, and short January 2022 $1940 calls on Amazon. The Motley Fool Australia has recommended Amazon. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.

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