AWS sent a snowcon into space – Meczyki.Net

At its Re-Mars conference, Amazon today announced that it has quietly sent one of its aws snowcone Edge computing and storage devices in space on the Axiom mission to the International Space Station.

For the most part, it was an off-the-shelf snowcone, which AWS had already built rugged enough to be shipped by UPS, although it took months of testing for the company to be certified for this flight. .

“When you think about providing cloud computing at the edge in remote, disconnected, rugged environments after 35 years in the space industry – there is nothing more harsh, remote, or harsher environment or forgiving than the space environment,” said Aerospace at AWS And said satellite director Clint Crosier and a retired United States Air Force major general, who helped oversee the foundation of the US Space Force before retiring and then joining AWS last year. “With space today a $425 billion global industry projected by all leading analysts to be a $1 trillion industry by 2040 – tripling the number of satellites launched between 2018 and 2022 – for all those reasons, customers tell us. that they need the same cloud computing capabilities as their workloads are closer to the planet in space than they do on the ground.”

Prior to the AWS Snowcon SSD installation, the X-1 boarded the International Space Station during the mission. image credit: AWS

To certify Snowball, the smallest of the Snow family of edge computing and data transfer devices, AWS had to run it through five months of NASA thermal, vacuum, acoustic, and vibration testing (with no radiation testing required because The device was going to be used in a shielded ISS environment). Once it reached the space station, the team, led by Daryl Schuck of AWS, connected it, uploaded an ML model for object detection, and ran it throughout the duration of the Axiom mission.

Astronauts on the Axiom mission performed a total of 25 experiments, including the Snowball experiment. As Crosier noted, they had to take pictures and documents of all the equipment they brought on board and then be taken downstairs with them. The object detection model on Snowball helped him list all of these items (and flag those that were to be excluded from public distribution).

Crosier acknowledged that it was a relatively simple demonstration but that going through the certification process taught the company a lot and also set the stage for future missions. “Teahat was demo He We did In heyRBIT, But whole process, as We Thinking about Future Requirements For Cloud computing In space, he is what were really Excited about That’s why We Thinking This penetrant In One whole new Era In space Innovation – Wchicken you can do Now he, For first Time sometimes, bring corner computing Capabilities Feather class,” he said.

And that’s really what it is about. Because the goal here isn’t to take the current Snowball or its big brothers into space, but to take what the team learns from these missions (and Amazon is already working with Axiom on future missions) and then maybe more sophisticated. Edge can integrate computing capabilities. Satellites, too. What it will actually look like remains to be seen. As any Amazon exec going through the company’s media training will tell you in every interview, the company listens to its customers and works from there.

“We work with our customers to best meet their needs,” Crosier said. “It’s one of the things that I learned about AWS and joining the US military after 33 years. And so if customers see value and need to put in [edge] Computing capabilities on satellites, you can rightly expect that we’re listening to that and we’re figuring out how we can meet their needs. ,

Already, Amazon and AWS are working with Blue Origin to provide the computing capabilities of their commercial Orbital Reef space station.