USAF Selects Ball Aerospace and Microsoft for LEO Constellation Cloud Processing Demo

Ball Aerospace and Microsoft have been selected to demonstrate agile cloud processing capabilities in support of the U.S. Air Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center’s Commercially Augmented Space Inter Networked Operations (CASINO) project.

The demonstration will show how simultaneous, worldwide data streams from large, distributed constellations of smallsats can be processed quickly using Microsoft’s Azure cloud and Ball Aerospace algorithms. Additionally, the demonstration will include a single downlink directly into a Microsoft data center using a Ball Aerospace phased array antenna.

Steve Smith, VP and GM, Systems Engineering Solutions, Ball Aerospace, said that together with Microsoft, the company will show how this type of data processing system, which leverages Ball phased array technology and imagery exploitation algorithms in Azure, is flexible and scalable — designed to support additional satellites and processing capabilities in the future. Overall, this type of data processing in the cloud can provide actionable, relevant information quickly and more cost-effectively to the end user.

The prototype effort, facilitated by the Defense Innovation Unit, will evaluate Ball Aerospace’s use of Azure as the cloud platform for CASINO to leverage Microsoft’s deep expertise in data protection, security and privacy. 

Tom Keane, Corporate VP, Azure Global, Microsoft, added that, essentially, this is the ultimate intelligent edge scenario, where massive amounts of data must be processed at the edge, whether that edge is in space or on the ground. This partnership with Ball Aerospace enables Microsoft to bring satellite data to ground and cloud faster than ever, leapfrogging other solutions on the market. This joint innovation in direct satellite-to-cloud communication and accelerated data processing provides the Department of Defense, including the U.S. Air Force, with entirely new capabilities to explore as they continue to advance their mission.

Microsoft Azure enables innovation with integrated cloud services, data processing and advanced analytics, and an open application platform that provides the building blocks to rapidly develop, deploy and manage intelligent solutions.

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