Everything in space, from rocket ships to satellites, generates enormous volumes of data. Every hour of every day, organizations like NASA gather millions of data points from their missions. In 2020 alone 2,666 operational satellites were in orbit, each capturing thousands upon thousands of terabytes of data daily, adding up to petabytes a year.
To put this into perspective, 1 petabyte is 1,000 terabytes, and 1 terabyte is around 1,000 gigabytes, which is enough storage for roughly 250 feature-length movies. By 2030, an estimated 50,000 satellites will zoom through our night sky. The amount of aerospace data that must be stored, managed, and protected is immense and ever-increasing.
Because storage is the foundation on which this wealth of information is accessed and analyzed, it has a direct impact on data’s usefulness. Simply put, insights cannot be unearthed without it. Taking advantage of the data coming in and out of space requires innovative storage solutions that can meet the needs and solve the challenges that come with meteoric data growth.
Object storage is fundamentally and uniquely designed to accommodate huge amounts of unstructured data. And because it was built on scalable cloud principles, it can scale to petabytes, exabytes and beyond.
At Scality, we partner with organizations throughout the aerospace and aeronautical ecosystem to store, protect, and leverage the vast amounts of data they need for everything from weather forecasting to searching for distant galaxies.
Here are just a few examples of our work in this rapidly developing…yes, pun intended…space.
Modernizing data storage for France’s government space agency
Through our work with French telecommunications company, Orange Business Services, Scality is helping the French government space agency Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales (CNES) secure and store its spatial data.
An industry consortium including Orange, HPE, Tealenium and Scality is designing, deploying and maintaining a new storage solution for its scientific and spatial data. The goal is to modernize the CNES storage infrastructure to make better use of huge data volumes coming from its satellites — including making it simple, secure and fast for users to access the data collection and archives.
This data is truly priceless. Let’s say an event like a solar flare is captured — that’s footage that cannot be replaced. The information must be stored securely but in an accessible way. And that means also having the right permissions in place so that only the right people can access it.
For CNES (known in English as the National Center for Space Studies), having tremendous amounts of warm and cold storage is critical, and they need fine-grained rights access.
Object storage not only satisfies these requirements, it also offers well-defined APIs and workflows to move data between storage tiers. REST-based APIs offer significant advantages for sharing data with remote sites and defining permanent Uniform Resource Identifiers (URIs) that will accompany images for as long as they are stored no matter what media they are stored on: flash media, disks or tape. A URI is a sequence of characters that identifies a physical resource usually (but not always) connected to the internet — it distinguishes one resource from another.
Scality ARTESCA is a key element of a massive-scale content repository for the agency, enabling storage and sharing of satellite imagery across international agencies.
Making rapidly growing satellite imaging data secure and accessible
The global commercial satellite imaging market is skyrocketing. Growing at a compound annual growth rate of nearly 12%, analysts expect it to reach a valuation of $5.42 billion by 2026. Images of the earth are captured by satellites and then used for a variety of commercial purposes — everything from mapping and acquisition to disaster management, urban planning and development, and more.
For the most part, commercial satellite imaging companies are selling these images to governments for important applications like environmental protection, agriculture, forestry, urban and rural development. Satellite images are, of course, also critical for services we use every day such as Google and Apple Maps. And as you might imagine, these are data-intensive images — some companies collect as much as 100 terabytes a day or more. The images must then be processed into usable formats and cataloged in a searchable fashion for delivery to users. This need presents a significant data storage challenge.
For the past several years, Scality has worked with Germany’s Earth Observation Center (EOC) to solve the organization’s challenge of exponential data growth. When EOC first selected Scality RING to host its archive of high-definition satellite images, its photogrammetry and image analysis department was working with over six million files — many exceeding one terabyte — and they needed to access those files on up to 40 client workstations at once. Each scheduled imaging mission was expected to increase the volume of files by multiple terabytes.
As the organization’s needs — and data volumes — have grown, we’ve been able to help them further scale their storage solutions and keep these valuable files secure and accessible for their research teams.
Object storage up in the air
Closer to the atmosphere, airplane manufacturers are also grappling with their own big data storage needs. These companies must manage massive amounts of data — and this information must be stored indefinitely.
What does “massive amounts of data” mean in this context? For example, an average commercial aircraft is estimated to generate as much as 20 terabytes of engine information per hour.
Data generated by the newest aircraft can be used for everything from optimizing fuel consumption and crew deployment, to anticipating when parts will need to be maintained or replaced, and even potentially reducing air congestion.
But airlines and airplane manufacturers need to not only store the data safely, they also need a better way to be able to find it and access it. At Scality, we’re proud to be working with companies in this sector — including a major European multinational aerospace corporation — to provide them with solutions for managing petabyte-scale data on-prem and in the cloud.
Cloud storage — to infinity and beyond!
Data storage needs will continue to soar as aerospace technology increases in sophistication, more missions launch, and new companies enter the sector.
To drive innovation and stay competitive, IT leaders working in these rapidly growing fields are investing in infinitely scalable, highly secure solutions with Scality to help them maximize the potential of their mission-critical data — data that affects our daily lives and may ultimately shape the future of human life on Earth and beyond.