Amazon Bringing Cloud-Based Data to Space and It Is Named… Snowcone?

By Gabrielle Haag

Image courtesy of: AWS

To start, It is the size of a backpack. Amazon has created a Cloud storage and computing platform system, Snowcone, that can easily travel aboard spacecraft to streamline data services without having to beam anything down to the Earth. And these systems are small enough and light enough to fit into a backpack! We have space wi-fi a la NASA's Deep Space Network and soon we will have space Cloud storage.

As a proof of concept, Amazon (AWS) partnered with Axiom Space aboard the Axiom Mission 1 to deliver and utilize a Snowcone system aboard the International Space Station (ISS). Since April 8th, 2022 the Snowcone has been put to the test to provide computation, storage, and networking capabilities on board and away from any ground facilities, allowing researchers to do their work without the need to transfer data to the ground.

Bandwidth for data is limited in scope aboard space stations due to the ongoing limitations of available infrastructure, this makes sending data and research back to the Earth for processing arduous on computing systems. As heavy of a process as it is on the ISS, it only gets more difficult on systems the further away from Earth missions and facilities are. These Snowcone systems can create Cloud computing and storage solutions which can streamline, expand and improve all of these processes.

One of the aims of the system and the efforts to send more devices into space is to create steadfast data connections between modules of space stations that do not have to be in proximity of one another. Research projects could send and store data across a Cloud network including Earth-based systems making data a real-time living process much like Google Docs. It's funny to think that our astronauts have the most cutting-edge technology in our known existence and they still have to save to a local drive like it's Windows 97.

So what's the big push behind being a data service in space? With privatized space efforts on the rise, astro-tourism and increased missions into the galaxy, there is expected to be a 10x increase in data coming from space in the next half-decade. As we learn more, create more, research more and go further, data is now the new gold. And all gold needs someplace to be stored. Those chrome-domed billionaires hungry to stake their claim in a rising market are making big moves to further these computational data solutions and provide increasing access aboard future missions.

The partnership with Axiom is just the beginning and we hope to learn more in the coming weeks regarding the success and tested capabilities of Snowcome aboard the ISS.

But seriously… why Snowcone?