Axiom Space Announces Partners For World's 1st Orbital Data Center

Axiom Space has entered into agreements with Kepler Communications US Inc. and Skyloom Global Corp. to integrate and showcase high data rate Optical Intersatellite Links (OISLs) on the first module of Axiom Space's commercial space station as Axiom strives to crate of the world's first scalable, cloud technology-enabled commercial orbital data center.

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Zac Aubert

Zac Aubert

Published: 20th Dec 2023 01:53 GMT
Written by: Zac Aubert

Axiom Space has entered into agreements with Kepler Communications US Inc. and Skyloom Global Corp. to integrate and showcase high data rate Optical Intersatellite Links (OISLs) on the first module of Axiom Space's commercial space station as Axiom strives to crate of the world's first scalable, cloud technology-enabled commercial orbital data center.

The development of this initial phase of the orbital data center, known as ODC T1, holds the key to transforming low-Earth orbit (LEO) into a global space marketplace.

The goal is to mature the necessary technologies and infrastructure for large-scale and secure space-based data processing. A unique feature of the orbital data center is its "Earth independence," allowing it to provide in-space cloud services without relying on terrestrial cloud infrastructure.

"This is a pivotal moment for in-space data processing infrastructure and capabilities." - Jason Aspiotis, Axiom Space’s Director of In-Space Infrastructure & Logistics

The integration of OISLs in collaboration with Kepler and Skyloom is a crucial aspect of this venture. These intersatellite links will allow data to be transmitted to and from the orbital data center via Kepler and Skyloom relay constellations. Operating at up to 10 gigabits-per-second data throughput, the OISLs will adhere to Space Development Agency (SDA) interoperability standards.

Axiom Space has ambitious plans for ODC T1, which will serve microgravity researchers, Axiom Station users, and satellites in various orbits through optical communications relays and an extended mesh network.

The orbital data center will play a vital role in supporting exploration and economic development beyond Earth's orbit, including lunar and Mars use cases.

2024 ISS Prototype

In preparation for the ODC T1 deployment, Axiom Space intends to install a smaller data processing prototype aboard the International Space Station (ISS) for testing and initial capability demonstrations. 

The prototype is scheduled for launch in 2024 and will focus on applications in artificial intelligence, machine learning, data fusion, and space cybersecurity.

"We will work to validate use cases at a sub scale and, at the same time, obtain flight heritage on the underlying data center hardware," - Jason Aspiotis, Axiom Space’s Director of In-Space Infrastructure & Logistics

The prototype on the ISS will serve as a foundational step toward the larger data server rack planned for launch by 2027.

Axiom Space is actively conducting demonstrations on the AWS Snowcone aboard the ISS, showcasing the basic utility of a data center in space and establishing processes and procedures for future orbital data center operations.

“Kepler’s SDA-compatible space relay network leverages the latest technological advances in optical communications...We are pleased to partner with Axiom Space to provide 24-7 on-orbit capabilities to demonstrate the benefits our low latency, high-throughput data relay network can provide Axiom Space’s orbital data center. With the proliferation of spacecraft in LEO, the demand for continuous, high-capacity connectivity on orbit continues to grow. The Kepler Network is designed to help close the business case for commercial space stations, Earth observation companies, and other space operators requiring low latency and high bandwidth connectivity.” - Steve Bennett, Chief Operating Officer for Kepler.

“Skyloom is excited to partner with Axiom Space...This demonstration will prove the competitive advantages of our SkyCompass-1 optical communications network, which we are jointly developing and deploying with Space Compass and which will offer services beginning in 2025. This project with Axiom Space will illustrate SkyCompass-1's low latency, high bandwidth network capabilities." - Eric Moltzau, Skyloom’s Chief Commercial Officer. 

ISS To Axiom Station Transfer

Once Axiom Station Hab One (AxH1) is connected to the ISS, the data center hardware and optical communications terminals will be integrated into AxH1 for initial testing. 

The launch of ODC T1 is planned for 2027, with testing expected to validate a range of capabilities including 24/7 high-bandwidth data connectivity, real-time voice and video capabilities, high-speed data transport from experiments and payloads, and interoperability between LEO and GEO satellites.

The commercialization of low Earth orbit is anticipated to stimulate new markets and drive innovation. The development of space-based data centers, equipped with cloud technology and advanced cybersecurity, is a pivotal step toward creating a sustainable communications ecosystem to support human spaceflight, exploration, and commerce in space, ultimately generating economic and social value for the world.

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