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Amazon activates ground station business with first two of 12 stations

Some six months after announcing plans to disrupt the satellite ground station business, Amazon has started service at its first two sites.

Ground stations in Ohio and Oregon mark the first two of a planned 12 stations spread out globally to enable communication with satellites, allowing operators to downlink data such as imagery and weather. The stations also enable operators to control their satellites.

Shayn Hawthorne, general manager of AWS Ground Station, said customer demand drove the decision to start service with two stations. The next 10 are under construction now and will be completed by the end of the year, he said.

Hawthorne, in an interview, said that each ground station will have two antennas. Following this year, AWS plans to increase the number of ground stations beyond 12, as well as the number of antennas at each location, he said.

AWS is locating ground stations near its data storage centers, which provides customers with quick access to Amazon’s cloud services, should they choose to use them. AWS ground station customers can process their data, run analytics and leverage machine learning algorithms through the Amazon cloud.

Over the next 10 years, AWS plans to expand to the “equivalent” of dish 200 antennas, Hawthorne said, so it can provide communication services to more spacecraft. Like other ground station companies, AWS is evaluating new technologies more advanced than today’s dish antennas, which can only connect to one satellite at a time.

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Media contact: Shoma Ferrari, shoma@globalsatellite.us, socialmedia@globalsatellite.us

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