Estimated reading time: 2 minutes, 31 seconds

An Introduction to AWS Ground Station-as-a-Service Featured

An Introduction to AWS Ground Station-as-a-Service Photo by Marat Gilyadzinov on Unsplash

At AWS re:Invent 2018 Amazon Web Services announced a fully managed service called AWS Ground Station that offers satellite ground stations as a service. This was offered as a response to customers who requested the service. AWS Ground Station allows users to control satellite communications, process data and scale ground stations based on their business requirements. Amazon wants to lower the barriers to entry of accessing satellites in much the same way they lowered the barriers to entry in cloud computing.

Companies that used satellite technology prior to this point were responsible for purchasing all ground station infrastructure. This includes buying the land, buildings, hardware and all additional expenses associated with constructing and deploying a ground station. In addition to the cost of the infrastructure, the satellite data has to be downloaded and forwarded on for further analysis. All of these costs can be greatly reduced with the use of AWS Ground Station. Companies can save up to 80% according to Amazon Web Services. This innovative AWS offering will greatly improve the efficiency and scalability for companies to manage satellite communications data.

There are 12 regional stations with two antennas per station . Each station is in close proximity to current AWS infrastructure regions. There is the option of conducting all data operations in the AWS cloud or data can be downloaded and processed in your own data center. The AWS Ground Station console can identify satellites to communicate with and contact can be established. After contacts are scheduled, EC2 instances can be launched to process the data. A Downlink EC2 instance can also be launched to receive bulk data transmissions.

The ease of using the Ground Station console is another major selling point of AWS Ground Station. The interface is a graphical console that identifies satellites and their locations. Communicating with and scheduling satellites is easy. Reservations and schedule revisions can be made directly from the console interface. The possibility of direct access drastically reduces the time to process data from what may have been hours before to minutes or seconds now. In a similar model to AWS services, scheduled access to antennas is paid for by the minute and only for the scheduled time of use. Any of the antennas can be accessed and there are no long-term contracts required. 

Supported Orbits & Frequencies

  • Low Earth Orbit (LEO), Medium Earth Orbit (MEO)
  • Simultaneous narrowband S-band, X-band, UHF downlink and uplink
  • 12 regional ground station with global coverage

Case Examples

During re:Invent 2018 there were several case examples presented and below are summaries of two cases:

Natural Disasters

Data processed prior to and during a natural disaster can be immediately analyzed and used by rescue personnel and medical facilities to take quicker action.

 product page diagram astra use case natural disaster

Weather Prediction

Downlinked weather data from all over the world can be used to make more accurate weather predictions. The more accurate data can then be used to improve logistics in the affected areas. Ships, airplanes, carrier trucks and people will be able to make safety and scheduling decisions based on the information.

product page diagram astra use case weather prediction

Read 2229 times
Rate this item
(0 votes)
Craig Gehrig

Craig Gehrig is a systems administrator with Rainbow Resource Center, an online retailer of educational materials in Peoria, IL. He is also the founder of Vanova IT, a security research and IT solutions provider. In his spare time, he can be found on the golf course and spending time with his wife Vanessa and their two children- Sasha and Craig.

Visit other PMG Sites:

PMG360 is committed to protecting the privacy of the personal data we collect from our subscribers/agents/customers/exhibitors and sponsors. On May 25th, the European's GDPR policy will be enforced. Nothing is changing about your current settings or how your information is processed, however, we have made a few changes. We have updated our Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy to make it easier for you to understand what information we collect, how and why we collect it.