With Azure Orbital, a managed ground station service, customers can communicate with their satellite directly in Microsoft Azure, control it, process data and scale operations. Because our Azure Orbital announcementWe quickly built and deployed ground stations in our data centers. We currently have multiple satellite ground stations in our data centers that enable a variety of scenarios, including earth observation, remote sensing, and global communication.

Update to the Azure Orbital Ground Station

With Azure Orbital, we are building satellite ground stations in our data centers so that customers can take data from their satellites directly into Azure for large-scale processing and storage. Below is a sneak peek into our first satellite ground station in our data center in Quincy, Washington:

We continue to build ground stations in other locations and integrate them with partner ground stations to improve our customers’ ability to communicate with their satellites for data acquisition.

In cooperation with several customers and partners, we have created several scenarios for signal processing, data processing and spatial data analysis. Today we are happy to welcome another partner to our orbital ecosystem –Thales Alenia Space (TAS). TAS Deeper Vision and Microsoft Azure Orbital offer our customers excellent functions for data processing, inference and analysis.

Thales Alenia Space partnership

Together with Thales Alenia Space, we offer our customers almost real-time functions for processing geospatial data. The ability to process data in the cloud with Azure Orbital, combined with the application of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning technology, helps our customers analyze environmental changes captured with satellite imagery.

Thales Alenia Space, a joint venture between Thales (67 percent) and Leonardo (33 percent), draws on over 40 years of experience and a unique combination of skills, expertise and cultures and offers cost-effective solutions for telecommunications, navigation and earth observation, Environmental management, exploration, science and orbital infrastructures. Governments, institutions, space agencies and telecommunications operators rely on Thales Alenia Space to develop satellite-based systems that provide connections and positioning anytime, anywhere, monitor our planet, improve the management of its resources, and explore our solar system and beyond.

“Thales Alenia Space and Microsoft work together to innovate by combining their expertise in space and cloud technologies. Customers can now combine all the functions of Thales Alenia Space’s DeeperVision solution for processing data flows and generating timely information with the cloud functions of Azure Orbital. This information is enriched by high speed, high volume artificial intelligence and machine learning to create an unprecedented impact on and off the planet! “- Clarence Duflocq, Vice President Strategy & Innovation, Thales Alenia Space

Use case: geospatial value chain

Customers can use Azure Orbital and Orbital Ground Stations to get geospatial data from their satellites. The raw satellite data can then be processed in the cloud on a large scale for analysis with various Azure services to achieve goals such as change detection, location monitoring, situation awareness and entity recognition.

Value chain for geospatial data from satellites with Azure Orbital

Deeper Vision performs an automated extraction of content from images and enriches image data. The user can request images of specific content, causing Deeper Vision to automate and allowing the user to focus on tasks where human expertise is critical. This ability becomes critical for scenarios like change detection and location monitoring. As new images come in from specific areas, Deeper Vision can compare them to previously captured images to highlight places that have changed.

Two images from the European Space Agency Satellite Sentinel 2

In the example above we have two images taken by the European Space Agency Satellite Sentinel 2 – one from 2016 and one from 2018. We can see that chunks of earth have been removed from the desert and a neighborhood has been built. The image on the far right highlights the detected change.

Demo: Deeper Vision and Azure Orbital

In three simple steps, geospatial data tied down with Azure Orbital can be processed in near real-time in the cloud for insights into business transformation:

The earth observation process shows real-time signal processing, data processing and analysis with Azure Orbital

Step 1: The earth images are tied down from a customer satellite. In September 2020 with a live downlink from AQUAWe have shown that it is a NASA public satellite that stores downlink data in an Azure storage account How customers can link down data from the satellite using Azure Orbital.

Step 2: The satellite operator can process raw data from the Azure Storage Blob using its satellite imagery data processing pipeline to turn it into final assets. If necessary, these assets can be stored back in Azure Storage.

Step 3: With Deeper Vision, customers can draw conclusions about this spatial data – a function of our partner TAS, which offers services such as change detection and entity detection.

Learn more

Deeper Vision and TAS are coming to the Azure Marketplace soon. Find a demo of Azure Orbital and Deeper Vision in action.


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