"The service, called AWS Ground Station, works in much the same way as Amazon's well-established business for tapping computing capacity via the cloud", reports MIT Technology Review.
Writing in its bog, AWS said businesses with a large number of satellites typically build and operate their own ground stations at a cost of a million dollars or more for each one. Smaller companies that can't afford their own often end up signing inflexible, long-term contracts with third parties that own and run such stations.
The new service will let satellite operators get access to a ground station at short notice on a pay-as-you-go basis. Those who know how much capacity they will need well in advance can book ahead and pay less for downlink time. AWS is kicking off with a pair of ground stations and says it will have a total of a dozen up and running by the middle of next year. It will monitor how demand develops before deciding how many more stations to add.
"We’re starting out with a pair of ground stations today, and will have 12 in operation by mid-2019. Each ground station is associated with a particular AWS Region; the raw analog data from the satellite is processed by our modem digitizer into a data stream (in what is formally known as VITA 49 baseband or VITA 49 RF over IP data streams) and routed to an EC2 instance that is responsible for doing the signal processing to turn it into a byte stream."