When it comes to cloud computing, there are seemingly no limits to where the technology and infrastructure can improve the experience of a given organization or industry. That premise is literally being taken out of this world thanks to a new SpaceX project that will use cloud computing resources to bring internet access to space.
SpaceX, the company owned by Tesla’s Elon Musk, began seeking the ability to provide internet access to its space shuttles and projects last year. The task at hand is easier said than done. The data centers needed to connect Starlink Satellites to fast, high-speed internet is challenging for most cloud providers. Even the larger companies up for the bid SpaceX sought had to look into how to actually make this work. Google was announced this past week as the provider chosen to provide internet access via the cloud for SpaceX projects.
How the Cloud is Moving Above the Clouds and Into Space
The goal of achieving internet access in space isn’t like any project done within cloud computing to date. While similar technologies provide NASA the ability to access the internet in space, this was the first time a public or private company sought the technology. In order to achieve this, cloud providers must use some of the more technical aspects of cloud computing to deliver direct data to computers in space. Doing this requires an internal network that brings the power of major data centers directly to devices rather than outsourcing computing power and other cloud-related tasks to other sources.
Since 2012, Google has looked to enhance its cloud capabilities to compete with the ever-popular Amazon Web Services. While local small businesses fare well with local producers, major projects like the SpaceX internet project require the resources of the big dogs. SpaceX is looking to harness Google’s networking capabilities for other projects as well, not just the ones that will take us above the atmosphere. Google’s recent investment in fiber-optic network cables for its data centers surely came in handy while convincing SpaceX that they were the right team to take on this challenge.
How Cloud Computing is Impacting the Telecommunications Industry
The telecommunications industry is increasingly reliant on cloud technology and providers. The growth of 5G networks in America and around the world are proving to be a great incentive for these cloud providers to hop into the telecommunications industry. SpaceX and Musk’s other projects are a whole other world. Known well for pushing the boundaries of what he can accomplish, Musk and SpaceX sought a technology utility unlike anything else in history.
SpaceX is able to achieve this internet connectivity without the use of cell towers, as many space projects have used in the past. Customer devices in space will communicate with Starlink satellites that directly connect to Google’s data towers. The data centers will help customers who take trips to space via SpaceX’s ambitious project to run applications from space and send info back down to Earth with ease. Data is transmitted from devices back to the data centers via Starlink satellites.
The deal in place between SpaceX and Google is set to last for seven years or so, with no confirmation coming through about what the deal includes from either party. The real interesting aspect of all of this is going to be the ability of cloud computing to expand computing processes to places with limited access to cell towers. Should Google invest money into remote areas and connect them to Google data centers, the company could see cloud computing as its tool to expand internet connectivity for the United States.
The most unexpected projects are connecting cloud computing’s resources to new spaces and organizations. This is obviously a very unique instance, but more creativity around cloud computing can offer any business or organization willing to explore what this exciting technology has to offer.