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Ball Aerospace and Microsoft Demonstrate Satellite-to-Cloud Data Processing

By Rachel Jewett | May 19, 2021
      Photo: Via Satellite

      Photo: Via Satellite

      Ball Aerospace and Microsoft have demonstrated satellite-to-cloud data processing in recent tests for the U.S. Department of Defense, that also involved Telesat’s Low-Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites. 

      In the tests, announced by Ball Aerospace on Wednesday, simulated data from Overhead Persistent Infrared (OPIR) was pushed to Microsoft’s Azure cloud where it was processed using Ball-developed event-driven architecture. The data was then disseminated to multiple endpoints. In the final demonstration, Telesat joined completed a direct downlink of data from its network of LEO satellites to a Ball-built electronically steerable Ka-Band phased array affixed to a tactical vehicle 

      The companies said these tests proved commercial cloud computing can process and securely deliver actionable information quickly, to a ground station, command center, or the battlefield. The demonstrations were enabled by the Defense Innovation Unit (DIU), and support the U.S. Space Force Space and Missile Systems Center’s (SMC) CASINO program office, which stands for Commercially Augmented Space Inter-Networked Operations. 

      “Our tests showed that the cloud is, in fact, a viable solution for data processing, exploitation and dissemination of data that is not only fast, but also flexible, secure, scalable and resilient,” said Steve Smith, vice president and general manager of Systems Engineering Solutions for Ball Aerospace. “The CASINO team proved that we are ready to field low-latency links today.” 

      Tom Keane, corporate vice president of Azure Global commented as well: “By combining satellite data with other sources directly in Azure, the Microsoft-Ball Aerospace team has demonstrated an innovative approach for ground processing which also opens the possibilities for a huge range of commercial applications.”