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SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket is ready to launch 10 Iridium Next satellites into orbit. (Iridium Photo)

Iridium, the satellite communications network, announced Thursday that it intends to work with Amazon Web Services to connect the leading cloud-provider’s internet-of-things services with Iridium’s satellite network in 2019.

This new service will be called CloudConnect. It builds on an existing IoT satellite network operated by Iridium to allow companies using AWS IoT services to reach places where the physical internet does not reach, which even in 2018 is a lot more places than you might imagine. Iridium is joining the AWS Partner Network along with this announcement, which will present Iridium’s satellite network as a deployment choice for AWS customers using its IoT services.

More and more Iridium customers are using cloud services as the basis of their IT infrastructure, and wanted a method for delivering cloud-based workloads to Iridium devices, said Tim Last, vice president and general manager of the IoT Line of Business at Iridium. That’s especially true for its small-and-medium size customers, but it extends up into larger equipment companies like Caterpillar that are using Iridium for vehicle maintenance diagnostics around the world.

AWS has shown a fair amount of interest in this area as well. Recent job postings (now deleted) suggested that AWS is hiring engineers with satellite experience to help develop its own space-based IoT system. Given Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos keen interest in space through his Blue Origin company and Amazon’s obsession with logistics, it’s not hard to imagine the company operating its own satellite-based network of services some day.

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