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Ball Aerospace and Loft leverage Azure in new federal contract on satellite ground stations

by MSCN Reporter
Staff Writer,

The US Space Development Agency awarded a contract on October 10 for the experimental testbed NeXT as it prepares to launch a new satellite constellation. Ball Aerospace is now working with Loft Federal on spacecraft integration, payload optimization, and testing for 10 satellites with experimental payloads, leveraging Azure Government and Orbital Ground Station to support the initiative.

“Our continuing relationships with trailblazers like the SDA, Ball and Loft gives the U.S. Space Force secure options for resilient and high-bandwidth satellite ground stations to support their mission. Our Azure Government cloud will enable SDA to extract spaceborne data insights from the cloud to the ultimate edge and to scale innovation faster and better meet the critical needs of the Guardians and strengthen national security,” stated Stephen Kitay, senior director, Azure Space at Microsoft, in a blog post that also discussed a similar partnership with Viasat.

Microsoft shared details about how its Azure Space offerings are being used to support federal government digital transformation. Currently, it is supporting the US Space Force Hybrid Space Architecture. In 2023, Microsoft completed its first demonstration of the program including multi-orbit edge-to-cloud connectivity and SpatioTemporal Asset Catalogs to operate a Planetary Computer managing geospatial datasets. Recently, the Space Information Sharing and Analysis Center—an organization that Microsoft is a part of—trialed watcher center operational capabilities in Azure. This newly created watch center is primed to assess space weather events.

“With the rapid advancements in space technologies and cloud computing, Azure Space is proud to work with an industry ecosystem team and committed to support these government agencies to innovate and address their hardest missions,” Kitay wrote.

Together with its primary Azure Space capabilities, Microsoft is also supporting the ...

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