A rendering of the ION Satellite Carrier, a platform from D-Orbit to accommodate a batch of small satellites and release each one into a custom orbital position. Credit: D-orbit

WASHINGTON — Amazon Web Services announced June 10 it selected 10 U.S. and European space startups for a four-week accelerator program where companies learn how they can grow their business using cloud computing and analytics technologies.

The companies selected are Cognitive Space, D-Orbit, Descartes Labs, Edgybees, HawkEye 360, LeoLabs, Lunar Outpost, Orbital Sidekick, Satellite VU and Ursa Space.

“We selected them out of more than 190 proposals from 44 countries,” Werner Hans Peter Vogels, Amazon’s chief technology officer, said in a news release.

The accelerator program is run by AWS Aerospace and Satellite Solutions and the U.K.-based venture investment firm Seraphim Capital. AWS Aerospace and Satellite is a new business Amazon formed in 2020 to work with government agencies and the space industry. Startups are a significant portion of AWS’s cloud and ground station services.

“The newer space industry players face similar challenges to their public sector counterparts,” said Vogels. “Data is at the center of everything.” Commercial satellite operators are “adopting technologies like machine learning that help automate enrichment and analysis of vast amounts of data,” he added.

  • Cognitive Space, based in Houston, provides constellation management  services for satellite operators.
  • D-Orbit, based in Italy, is a space logistics and transportation services company. 
  • Descartes Labs, based in New Mexico, is a geospatial intelligence and analytics company.
  • Edgybees, based in Maryland, uses augmented reality software to enhance aerial video and imagery.
  • HawkEye 360, based in Virginia, is a commercial satellite operator and data analytics company that uses radio-frequency signals to track activities such as maritime security and crisis response.
  • LeoLabs, based in California, tracks space debris in low Earth orbit using advanced machine learning analytics and a network of ground-based, phased array radars. 
  • Lunar Outpost, based in Colorado, develops autonomous robots to enable extended human presence on the surface of the moon and Mars. 
  • Orbital Sidekick, based in San Francisco, is developing space-based monitoring services using hyperspectral satellite imagery and machine learning algorithms.
  • Satellite VU, of the United Kingdom, is working to monitor the thermal emissions of man-made structures around the globe to help track climate change.
  • Ursa Space, based in Ithaca, New York, provides space-based geospatial intelligence and earth observation data.

Sandra Erwin writes about military space programs, policy, technology and the industry that supports this sector. She has covered the military, the Pentagon, Congress and the defense industry for nearly two decades as editor of NDIA’s National Defense...