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Microsoft unveils Australian Space Startup launchpad

Democratised access to space promotes innovation on and off the planet

Microsoft is delighted to announce the launch of Microsoft for Space Startups Australia designed to support emerging enterprises focussed on cloud-powered innovation on and off the planet.

Through this initiative, Microsoft will support and enable cutting-edge Australian space innovation to help solve tough problems, such as bush fire detection, climate change  and sustainable practices on Earth and in space.

Eligible space startups will receive Azure credits, have access to a broad range of Microsoft technologies, and have the opportunity to work with Microsoft technical specialists and mentors to support their development and rapid growth. Office of Planetary Observations and Spiral Blue are among the first Australian space startups to join the initiative.

Microsoft Azure Space is focussed on enabling our customers and partners in the Australian space industry and driving innovation. We are focussed on bringing together products and partnerships to provide comprehensive space connectivity and data services to our customers in the public and private sectors. An array of Azure technologies and services have been tailored to provide cloud-to-edge computing, streamlined access to space-sourced data and dramatically improved connectivity representing the next giant leap for cloud.

Analysis indicates the global space industry is worth $A450 billion today and is forecast to soar to $A1.3 trillion by 2040 as space-related missions accelerate and access to space is democratised by cheaper and more accessible technologies.

The Australian Space Agency’s goal is to triple the space sector’s contribution to GDP to $A12 billion and create an additional 20,000 jobs by 2030.

Lynn McDonald, Azure Space Lead, Microsoft Australia said, “We are focussed on enabling and building an ecosystem of companies committed to taking on some of the toughest issues in the advancement of space technology and exploring uses of this technology for the betterment of humanity and  continued exploration in space.

“Microsoft is innovating in space and we’re excited to work with startups creating new technologies and innovative capabilities.

We’re seeing important and cutting-edge innovation in Australian space startups and we want to enable, support and accelerate their journey.

Microsoft expects agriculture, energy, mining, resources, telecommunications and the public sector to be among the early terrestrial adopters of space-enabled solutions.”

Space Startups sign up

Portrait shot of Thomas
Thomas Gooch, founder of Office of Planetary Observations

Office of Planetary Observations (OPO) leverages satellite data to provide insights about local environments that can be used by non-spatial users, including developers and town planners to design climate resilient, smarter, greener cities. Office of Planetary Observations’ new web tool is deployed on Azure and provides citizens the opportunity to ask ‘how green is my suburb’ and receive an easy-to-understand response using space-sourced data.

According to Thomas Gooch, Founder of Office of Planetary Observations, “Access to satellite-sourced data regarding the environment allows real-time digital twins of cities or urban developments to be built and then used to create a healthier ecosystem by connecting the built environment with nature.

“As a Microsoft for Space Startup, we will have access to space-enabled compute and communications capability, as well as the opportunity to engage with Microsoft specialists who will play an important role in helping us to grow our business in Australia and globally.”

Spiral Blue meanwhile is building Space Edge – an onboard computer for Earth observation satellites that processes images on the satellite as they are collected.

Taofiq Huq, Founder and CEO of Spiral Blue said, “Satellite images offer enormous insights and opportunity to a broad range of industries – but only if they can be accessed and analysed accurately and rapidly. We are developing that capability.

Being part of Microsoft for Space Startups, Australia provides us with access to the best platforms, technologies and brains in the business helping us to accelerate our speed to market.

Microsoft is integrating the Azure cloud platform with an ecosystem of space partners to develop a multi-orbit, multi-vendor cloud-enabled capability, with a focus on bringing together products, partnerships, and innovation to provide comprehensive space connectivity and data services to our customers.

Microsoft is developing capabilities specifically focussed on enabling the space industry. Azure Orbital, now in private preview, enables customers to connect to satellites directly through Microsoft Azure. Microsoft is also developing digital technologies to help the space community launch faster and with mission assurance. The first of these digital tools is Azure Orbital Emulator—an emulation environment that conducts satellite constellation simulations at scale. Microsoft is focussed on cloud-powered innovation on and off the planet and is committed to supporting new Australian space businesses as they take space technology to the next level.


About Microsoft

Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT” @microsoft) enables digital transformation for the era of an intelligent cloud and an intelligent edge. Its mission is to empower every person and every organisation on – and off – the planet to achieve more.

For media enquiries, please contact:

Rudolf Wagenaar, Commercial Communications Lead, Microsoft Australia

Email: [email protected]

Mobile: 043 908 2550

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