A critical priority for the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) is accelerating the speed at which information is collected, analyzed and delivered to where it is needed to support mission goals. Satellites are increasingly playing an important role in this ability to harness and move data around the world, but limitations in the current government architecture can still present challenges to getting information where it’s needed, when it’s needed. To solve this, the DoD’s Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) has partnered with the U.S. Space Force in developing a Hybrid Space Architecture (HSA), designed to rapidly scale available space resources and bring together the best capabilities across government and commercial industry to establish ubiquitous, resilient connectivity and insights for mission leaders.
Today, DIU announced that Microsoft has been selected to bring our advanced, trusted cloud and innovative Azure Space capabilities, alongside a space partner ecosystem, to serve as a foundation to realize their Hybrid Space Architecture vision.
The HSA is essentially DoD’s effort to build an internet in space and will support the Department’s goal of establishing information advantage for national security. By collaborating with commercial partners, HSA vastly expands its range of satellite and space systems across diverse orbits, ground stations and communication paths to provide “secure, assured and low-latency data communications anywhere on and off Earth.”
The HSA will be built in part upon Microsoft Azure and will leverage key capabilities from our suite of Azure Space solutions, including Azure Orbital Cloud Access and Azure Orbital Ground Station. This will be supported by Microsoft’s private global wide area network, which provides resilient global data transport from ground stations to the appropriate cloud destinations. Combined, these capabilities bring together key functions of the HSA including remote sensing, multi-path communications and cloud computing.
Beyond accelerating the flow of data, a key innovation of the hybrid space architecture is accelerating the speed to insights of that data. Space is one of the largest untapped data lakes (central repositories of data) in the world and mission owners will benefit from making sense of massive volumes of data to better inform decision making, beyond what they have the power to do today. With Azure, the DIU will be able bring the best practices in commercial innovation to the HSA to utilize AI and machine learning to harness data at speed and scale for operational advantage and increased efficiency — at all security classification levels.
Underpinning this effort is our focus on cybersecurity, building on Microsoft’s commitment to advance cybersecurity in space. With a broad view of the threat landscape — informed by 43 trillion threat signals analyzed daily, combined with cutting-edge AI and the human intelligence of our more than 8,500 experts, including threat hunters, forensics investigators, malware engineers and researchers — we see firsthand what organizations are facing and we’re committed to protecting our nation from rapidly evolving cyberthreats. Microsoft deploys these industry leading cybersecurity solutions across all devices, clouds, apps and platforms that are continuously updated with the latest threat intelligence insights to provide advanced, timely defenses. Our goal is to ensure that not only Microsoft, but also our partners, can adhere to the same high security standards, and can meet and exceed the U.S. government’s security requirements while keeping pace with the evolving cyberthreat landscape.
Another key enabler in our approach to HSA is tapping into our extensive Azure Space partner ecosystem. We have developed partnerships with leading space industry companies to support the goals of HSA. Developing relationships with these partners helps the industry and government further establish a standardized approach to connectivity and ensure system interoperability across the platform. We are bringing this wide-ranging connected ecosystem to bear to support the HSA vision.
The Hybrid Space Architecture program is a demonstration of what’s possible when government and industry work closely to tackle the biggest challenges in the universe — crafting a transformational platform to support space-based national security missions. By bringing the latest Azure Space capabilities to this project, establishing consistent standards across industry, and collaborating with numerous industry partners, we’re demonstrating the art of possible to support advanced and secure space-based data connectivity and analytics.
Learn more about how Azure Space is combining the possibilities of space with the power of the cloud.