SAN FRANCISCO – Microsoft is expanding its relationships with space companies through the Azure Space Partner Community, an initiative unveiled July 19 at the Microsoft Inspire 2022 conference.
“By launching the Azure Space Partner Community, we can enable our partners to deliver the most comprehensive and innovative offerings to our joint customers, and help shape the future of space technologies and services,” Stephen Kitay, Microsoft Azure Space senior director, told SpaceNews. “This is an ecosystem of space partners with exclusive access to technical support and scaling solutions.”
Microsoft’s inaugural cohort of space-related partners are Airbus, Amergint, Ball Aerospace, blackshark.ai, Esri, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, iDirect, Intelsat, Kratos, KSAT, Loft Orbital, Nokia, Omnispace, Orbital Insight, SES, SkyWatch, SpaceX, Thales Alenia Space, US Electrodynamics, Viasat and Xplore.
“We look forward to welcoming new partners in the days to come,” Kitay said.
Microsoft has played a growing role in the space sector since announcing plans in 2020 to help customers move data directly from satellites into the Azure cloud for processing and storage.
“We’ve increasingly seen an opportunity for this community to benefit from Microsoft engineering and go-to-market resources,” Kitay said.
Azure Space Community partners will have access to Microsoft sales and engineering specialists, go-to-market scale and support, and guidance related to marketing and community involvement. In addition, Azure Space Partners will be eligible for incentives like Azure credits, sponsored accounts and volume discounts.
By establishing the Azure Space Community, Microsoft is “creating more of a structure” to clearly convey the benefits of membership and enable the tech giant to “efficiently onboard” new partners, Kitay said.
Through the Azure Space Community, which falls under the broader Microsoft Partner Program, Microsoft also is acknowledging the growing importance of the space sector.
“It is absolutely representative of the value and importance that Microsoft is placing on this industry and our excitement about growing alongside these partners,” Kitay said. “Space is a big data domain, where massive amounts of data are either moving through space with connectivity solutions or being collected from space and transmitted to the Earth. The need to process that, understand it and then connect it with customers is vitally important.”