Microsoft propels startups into orbit

Microsoft propels startups into orbit

Promoted by Microsoft

Cloud-based enterprises accelerate into space via a ground breaking new incentive

Space innovation is growing exponentially. From startups to established companies, the number of commercial players setting up in this sector is increasing at speed. 

To support this emerging industry, Microsoft has developed Space Startups Australia, an initiative that empowers young, cloud-enabled companies to amplify their impact and join the thriving home-grown sector. 

A launchpad for Australia’s up-and-coming space innovators, the program provides recipients with up to US$150K in Azure credits, one-to-one technical advisory sessions, free access to collaborative tools, business mentoring and co-selling opportunities, along with an array of other benefits.

Microsoft has a longstanding commitment to space innovation. 

For years, we have brought together a team of renowned space industry experts to work alongside our world-class product engineers and scientists to build cloud capabilities that meet the unique needs of space. Our innovation areas include simulating missions, discovering insights from satellite data and supporting high-intensity, secure cloud computing in challenging environments.  

By integrating the Azure cloud platform with technology from a broad ecosystem of our
space partners, Azure Space is a comprehensive set of capabilities designed to empower the space community – on and off the planet. 

We are driven to help our customers overcome any hurdles that developing satellite communication can present, and coupled with our partners, we’re making it easier for them to find new insights and connections. 

With the launch of our Space Startups Australia program, we are thrilled to empower young organisations that are using AI, edge computing and satellite technology to democratise access to data, address climate change issues, and much more. 

One of our in-program startups, Spiral Blue, for instance, discovered that while organisations in a range of industries are keen to use satellite-obtained data, it’s unaffordable for many. Taofiq Huq, Spiral Blue’s founder and CEO, is determined to change that. 

To make space-sourced data more accessible, Huq’s company is building the Space Edge Computer – an onboard machine for Earth observation satellites that processes images on the satellite as they are collected.

That’s not all this emerging player is doing. As US- and UK-owned satellites don’t meet the requirements of most Australian industries, Spiral Blue is creating a solution for homegrown enterprises here too. Huq is collaborating with new satellite companies to collect more locally focused insights, process that data at the edge, and deliver it to organisations in Australia in more logical figurations.

With the support of Microsoft and their partner SatRevolution, Spiral Blue has also launched its first satellites. These will allow Huq to achieve what his startup set out to do – deliver affordable space data insights directly into the hands of the people on the ground.

Thomas Gooch of The Office of Planetary Observations (OPO), is another founder in the Microsoft Space Startup program, and one who shares Microsoft’s goal to design a more sustainable future. 

OPO’s mission is to provide satellite data that sheds light on the climate resilience of urban areas. Data insights might include details about vegetation cover and health, land surface temperatures, or tree canopies in specific locations. This information can then be used by architects and town planners to design ecologically sound environments. 

The Melbourne-based firm is not only providing knowledge on urban green infrastructure to businesses, but also to individuals. It is currently building a tool into its website that will allow people to ask the question ‘how green is my suburb?’ by clicking on their council area or postcode.

Utilising Copernicus capabilities, Maxar imagery and Microsoft Azure, OPO maps the Earth every five days to provide the most up-to-date and relevant insights to users.

Microsoft is always looking for new innovators to join our community, and we look forward to supporting more visionary developers like the teams at OPO and Spiral Blue in the coming months. 

If your space-focused startup is ready to take the next step, please reach out today. Our application process is simple, and we aim to have companies signed up and active within our program in just a week. You can find out more about the program at Microsoft for Space Startups Australia



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