Clinton Crosier, a retired US Air Force major general who assisted in the formation of the US Space Force, recently marked his one-year anniversary with cloud giant AWS as the leader of the company’s newly formed Aerospace and Satellite business division. Crosier spoke with SpaceNews at the Space Symposium in Colorado about AWS’ intentions for the global space sector.
I’m sure you have spent a lot of effort this year putting together the team for Aerospace and Satellite, as well as all the paperwork that comes with starting a new company division.
What’s the status of that, and what’s remaining to do?
We’ve made incredible progress since AWS is such a well-founded firm with established methods and processes that all of the administrative work was done for us. We were free to concentrate on developing a space firm that provides cloud services to space companies. Unlike when I launched the United States Space Force two years ago when we had to start from the ground up, AWS already had a lot of the elements in place.
So, the task at hand was to put together a team of space specialists. AWS has cloud specialists in every room, and I believe they are the top cloud professionals in the world, but AWS aimed to fill a new niche sector, the space cloud business, with individuals who deeply understand both the space mission and the cloud. There’s a lot of synergy between what cloud can provide the space sector when you put them together.
We devoted the first 6 months of the year employing personnel who had previously worked on rockets, satellites, ground stations, and space exploration. We have now established a multinational firm that operates in every part of the globe. I have teams throughout Asia, Europe, and the United States, and we’re still growing and expanding, both in terms of our personnel and the number of consumers we serve.
What are some of the most interesting new use applications that the cloud is providing in space?
High-performance computing excites me because it expands the capabilities of digital modeling, simulation, and engineering. We hear a lot about the need to shift to digital engineering in the acquisition sector, but there are many different technologies out there that don’t work together or interact.
And if you can do digital modeling, you won’t be able to transfer the data to digital engineering as well as vice versa. We know that AWS has the potential to deliver that environment and bring it all together. Boom [Supersonic] built their complete plane on AWS, making use of our high-performance computing as well as digital modeling capabilities. They have completed 6,000 years of high-performance computing in the last three years. How are they able to achieve that? They can spin up 10,000 servers at the same time and enhance productivity by six times using some of the world’s fastest computers. I believe that rockets and satellites will be built in the digital modeling engineering environment in the near future.