Amazon Web Services and Lockheed Martin Make Downlinking Satellite Data Easier and Less Expensive

Amazon Web Services and Lockheed Martin have entered into a strategic collaboration to integrate the new AWS Ground Station service with Lockheed Martin’s new Verge antenna network. AWS and Lockheed Martin are bringing these two highly capable systems together to provide a solution that addresses customer needs for resilient satellite uplinks and downlinks. Through this integration, customers using AWS Ground Station gain the ability to download data from multiple satellites at the same time and to continue downloading data even when unplanned outages like a weather event impact parts of the network.

Lockheed Martin Verge customers benefit from being able to upload satellite commands and data through AWS Ground Station and to quickly download large amounts of data over the high-speed AWS Ground Station network. Both Lockheed Martin Verge and AWS Ground Station customers can now integrate satellite data with the rich portfolio of AWS services, including compute, storage, analytics, and machine learning.

Immediate and continuous access to the latest satellite data is critical in use cases such as public safety, military missions in fast-evolving threat environments, and real-time weather observations for cargo ships and airlines. Today, there are thousands of satellites orbiting the earth and collecting data, including Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites, which are ideal for collecting data for Earth observation and currently comprise about 63 percent of the active satellites now in orbit (according to United Nations data). Traditionally, government organizations or enterprises who have required access to satellite data needed to build or lease ground antennas to communicate with the satellites at significant cost and effort. Further, customers often require antennas in multiple countries and U.S. locations to download data when and where they need it without waiting for the satellite to pass over a desired location. All of this requires significant capital investments and operational costs to build, manage, and maintain antennas, compute infrastructure, and business logic at each antenna location. By combining Lockheed Martin’s distributed network of satellite receivers with direct AWS Ground Station access, the two companies are delivering a next-generation space solution that will help address the growing need for satellite ground communications and data management while reducing capacity constraints and enabling satellite customers to scale their satellite data downlinks in real-time to meet unanticipated demand across a broad variety of situations.

Because many AWS Ground Station antennas are co-located with AWS Regions, both AWS and Lockheed Martin customers gain low-latency, local access to other AWS services to process and store this data. For example, they can use Amazon EC2 to control satellites and downlink data, store and share the data in Amazon Elastic Block Store, Amazon Elastic File System, or Amazon S3, use AWS Virtual Private Cloud for secure communications between Amazon EC2 instances and the AWS Ground Station antenna gateway, hunt for real-time business insights with Amazon Kinesis Data Streams and Amazon Elastic Map Reduce, apply machine learning algorithms and models with Amazon SageMaker, add image analysis with Amazon Rekognition, and improve data sets by combining satellite data with IoT sensor data from AWS IoT Greengrass. AWS customers can combine these capabilities to build exciting applications that might use image recognition to identify and protect endangered animals, machine learning to predict faulty construction or industrial systems, or analytics to estimate oil production or assess agriculture yields in real time.

Customers can easily request Lockheed Martin Verge as their preferred downlink directly through the AWS Ground Station console or from the Verge management console. Once Lockheed Martin Verge receives and processes satellite data, customers can access it directly in their virtual private cloud (VPC) in AWS Regions. For AWS customers in the government or regulated industries, this includes the AWS GovCloud and Secret Regions that carry the full range of data classifications, including Unclassified, Sensitive, Secret, and Top Secret. Lockheed Martin Verge will be available in private beta today for customers with satellites that support S-band frequencies and can downlink in the Denver, Colorado area. General availability and expansion to the higher frequency X-band will be announced in the future. To learn more, click here.