Air Force Selects Ball Aerospace, Microsoft to Demonstrate Cloud Processing for LEO Constellations

BOULDER, Colo., Sept. 17, 2019 (Ball Aerospace PR) — Ball Aerospace and Microsoft were selected to demonstrate agile cloud processing capabilities in support of the U.S. Air Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center’s Commercially Augmented Space Inter Networked Operations (CASINO) project. The demonstration will show how simultaneous, worldwide data streams from large, distributed constellations of small satellites can be processed quickly using Microsoft’s Azure cloud and Ball Aerospace algorithms.

Additionally, the demonstration will include a single downlink directly into a Microsoft data center using a Ball Aerospace phased array antenna.

“Together with Microsoft, we will show how this type of data processing system, which leverages Ball phased array technology and imagery exploitation algorithms in Azure, is flexible and scalable — designed to support additional satellites and processing capabilities in the future,” said Steve Smith, vice president and general manager, Systems Engineering Solutions, Ball Aerospace. “Overall, this type of data processing in the cloud can provide actionable, relevant information quickly and more cost-effectively to the end user.”

The prototype effort, facilitated by the Defense Innovation Unit, will evaluate Ball Aerospace’s use of Azure as the cloud platform for CASINO to leverage Microsoft’s deep expertise in data protection, security and privacy. 

“Essentially this is the ultimate intelligent edge scenario, where massive amounts of data must be processed at the edge, whether that edge is in space or on the ground,” said Tom Keane, Corporate Vice President, Azure Global, Microsoft. “This partnership with Ball Aerospace enables us to bring satellite data to ground and cloud faster than ever, leapfrogging other solutions on the market. Our joint innovation in direct satellite-to-cloud communication and accelerated data processing provides the Department of Defense, including the Air Force, with entirely new capabilities to explore as they continue to advance their mission.”

Microsoft Azure enables innovation with integrated cloud services, data processing and advanced analytics, and an open application platform that provides the building blocks to rapidly develop, deploy and manage intelligent solutions.

Ball Aerospace has more than 30 years of data processing experience, including developing unique and accurate exploitation algorithms for satellite systems. Ball is streamlining the integration of new features into operational systems, bringing essential mission capabilities into operations faster than before using an open architecture approach that eliminates the single-contractor integration bottleneck in traditional software development models. This modern software development practice succeeds by enabling external tool developers to rapidly design and test capabilities in an operations-like environment without risking system security or stability. Ball also has five decades of experience delivering electronically-steered flat panel, or phased array, antenna solutions for military and government customers, with two decades of experience delivering planar phased array terminals.

Powered by endlessly curious people with an unwavering mission focus, Ball Aerospace pioneers discoveries that enable our customers to perform beyond expectation and protect what matters most. We create innovative space solutions, enable more accurate weather forecasts, drive insightful observations of our planet, deliver actionable data and intelligence, and ensure those who defend our freedom go forward bravely and return home safely. Go Beyond with Ball.® For more information, visit www.ball.com/aerospace or connect with us on Facebook or Twitter.

About Ball Corporation

Ball Corporation supplies innovative, sustainable aluminum packaging solutions for beverage, personal care and household products customers, as well as aerospace and other technologies and services primarily for the U.S. government. Ball Corporation and its subsidiaries employ 17,500 people worldwide and reported 2018 net sales of $11.6 billion. For more information, visit www.ball.com, or connect with us on Facebook or Twitter.

About Microsoft 

Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT” @microsoft) enables digital transformation for the era of an intelligent cloud and an intelligent edge. Its mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more. Microsoft Azure enables innovation with deeply integrated cloud services, data and advanced analytics, and an open application platform that provides the building blocks to rapidly develop, deploy and manage intelligent solutions. Microsoft is committed to supporting the full spectrum of government data to help agencies quickly and easily achieve their necessary requirements. With the choice of using Azure and Azure Government, U.S. government agencies can leverage the compliance coverage they need across regulatory standards.