Air Force selects Ball Aerospace and Microsoft for LEO satellite constellation cloud processing

Ball Aerospace and Microsoft were 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, Boulder, CO-based Ball Aerospace announced September 17. The demonstration will show how simultaneous, worldwide data streams from large, distributed constellations of small satellites 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.

“Together with Microsoft, we 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,” said Steve Smith, vice president and general manager, Systems Engineering Solutions, Ball Aerospace. “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. 

“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,” said Tom Keane, Corporate Vice President, Azure Global, Microsoft. “This partnership with Ball Aerospace enables us to bring satellite data to ground and cloud faster than ever, leapfrogging other solutions on the market. Our joint innovation in direct satellite-to-cloud communication and accelerated data processing provides the Department of Defense, including the Air Force, with entirely new capabilities to explore as they continue to advance their mission.”

Source: Ball Aerospace