Q. What is AWS Ground Station?
AWS Ground Station is a fully managed service that enables customers to easily command, control, and downlink data from satellites. You can schedule an AWS Ground Station antenna on a per-minute basis and pay for the time you use. With AWS Ground Station, you can deliver satellite data to Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) for real-time processing or store the data in Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) for asynchronous processing with other AWS services.

Q. What are the key benefits of AWS Ground Station?
Traditionally, you needed significant capital investment to build satellite ground stations and the operating center. This approach limits your ability to respond quickly to new business opportunities and requires you to operate and maintain a global network of ground antennas. With AWS Ground Station, AWS manages the ground station infrastructure, allowing you to focus on new applications for data processing and analysis. This data is easily integrated with other AWS services using Amazon’s global, low latency backbone network.

Q. How do I get started using AWS Ground Station?
To sign up for AWS Ground Station, select the “Complete Sign Up” button on the AWS Ground Station detail page. You must have an AWS account to access this service; if you do not already have one, you will be prompted to create one when you begin the Amazon Ground Station signup process. After signing up, please refer to the Amazon Ground Station documentation, which includes our Getting Started Guide. 

Q. Can I schedule time on an antenna in one location (e.g. Oregon) while I am working from another location (e.g. Dubbo)?
Yes, AWS Ground Station is a global network of antenna systems that are available to users around the world. In fact, it will be common for many users to schedule time on antennas at every location in the global network.

Q. Where are AWS Ground Station antennas located? 
AWS Ground Station continues to expand service locations around the world. To see a list of supported regions, see the AWS Ground Station Locations page.
Q: Do I need to obtain a ground station or spectrum license to use AWS Ground Station antennas?
No. Once you have completed the ITU filling and FCC filing, as appropriate, and obtained the satellite license to operate, AWS will obtain the ground station license so our antennas can uplink and downlink with your satellite. Once we obtain the license, we will onboard your satellite to the AWS Ground Station(s) with approved licenses. For planned and existing satellites, you complete the Onboarding Questionnaire, which includes the necessary data for obtaining licenses at the ground stations you select. AWS will provide you with a cost estimate for each location, and once you approve, we will submit and coordinate licensing. Once we obtain licenses we will onboard your satellite(s) to operate with our AWS Ground Stations.
Timelines vary across countries. AWS estimates are in the Spectrum Licensing Timeframe table. Once we submit an application we will not have updates until the license is approved, or the regulator asks for additional information.
Spectrum Licensing Timeframe            
Ground Station Australia Bahrain Chile Ireland South Africa Sweden Singapore United States
License Timeframe 9+ months 6+ months 3-6 months 45 days 3-6 months 3+ months   3+ months

* These timelines are subject to change at anytime due to a variety of factors, including but not limited to delays in obtaining relevant/additional information for licensing application, or changes in jurisdiction’s laws/policies. The timelines are non-binding and do not represent a commitment from AWS. Licensing is dependent on approval from government agencies.

To request spectrum licensing, reach out to your Account Manager or contact us.


Q. What is a Contact?
A Contact is a reservation to communicate with a specific satellite from an identified ground location between certain times.

Q. How do I prepare for a Contact?
Before scheduling a contact, use the Amazon EC2 AMI to launch the required instances to communicate with your satellite, and configure an EC2 instance or Amazon S3 Bucket to receive downlinked data.

Q. What happens when my scheduled Contact time arrives?
Just prior to the scheduled contact, your EC2 instance establishes a connection with the AWS Ground Station antenna gateway over an ENI connection. Once the contact begins, your EC2 instances begin receiving data from the satellite. A downlink instance is not needed if you choose to receive the data into your Amazon S3 bucket.

Q. What happens if my requested Contact cannot be reserved?
In the event your preferred Contact cannot be granted (for example, due to existing reservations for antenna time at the chosen location), the AWS Ground Station Management Console will provide available alternatives for your review.

Q. How far in advance can I schedule Contact?
AWS Ground Station has two contact types: On-Demand and Reserved. On-Demand contacts can be scheduled between 15 minutes to 7 days in advance. Reserved contact scheduling is dependent on your monthly reservation. For Ground Station pricing and scheduling information, visit the Amazon Ground Station pricing page.

Q. When can I cancel a Contact?
On-Demand may cancel contacts up to 15 minutes before contact start with a cancellation fee equal to the price of the contact. Reserved contact cancellation is dependent on your monthly reservation. For Ground Station pricing and scheduling information, visit the Amazon Ground Station pricing page.

Q. What transmit and receive operational frequencies does AWS Ground Station support?
AWS Ground Station antenna systems are capable of supporting the following frequencies:

  • S-Band transmit from 2025 to 2120 MHz 
  • S-Band receive from 2200 to 2300 MHz
  • X-Band receive from 7750 to 8400 MHz

Q. What types of satellites can AWS Ground Station communicate with?
Low Earth Orbit (LEO), Non-Geostationary Earth Orbit (NGSO), and Medium Earth Orbit (MEO).

Q: How does AWS Ground Station make sure nobody else commands my satellite?

When onboarding to AWS Ground Station, we identify and associate the satellite owner and their satellite with a designated customer account. The customer can then use this account, or authorize other AWS accounts, to schedule satellite contacts with AWS Ground Station. During a contact, access to the AWS Ground Station antenna gateway is limited to the dataflow endpoints you specify.  Customers have complete control of the encryption keys used to authorize and encrypt data to the satellite. Downlinked data sent to their Amazon S3 bucket and stored uses Server Side Encryption (SSE).

Q. Why should I use Wideband Digital Intermediate Frequency (DigIF)?
With Wideband DigIF, you can centralize your ground segment Software Defined Radio (SDR) in your Virtual Private Cloud (VPC). Wideband DigIF provides users the ability to downlink up to five channels, up to 400 MHz total, per polarity. Data is securely delivered to an AWS Elastic IP using Forward Error Correction (FEC) and AWS Key Management Service (AWS KMS).

Q. How do I get started using AWS Ground Station Wideband Digital Intermediate Frequency (DigIF)?
See the AWS Ground Station User Guide for more information on how to deploy AWS Ground Station resources. 

Q. What Software Defined Radios (SDR) can I use?
With Wideband DigIF, you host a SDR in your Amazon VPC that meets your mission needs. If you need an SDR, see your Account Team for support.

Q. What sites have WB DigIF?
Wideband DigIF is generally available from the following AWS Ground Station sites: North America (Hawaii, Ohio, Oregon), Africa (Cape Town), Europe (Ireland, Stockholm), Asia Pacific (Singapore, Dubbo), and the Middle East (Bahrain).

Learn more about AWS Ground Station

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