Amazon Will Help Lift Greece’s Space Program Above the Clouds

ATHENS  – Amazon Web Services (AWS,) which has opened a cloud center in Greece's capital, now is working with the government to help promote the country's space program, which hasn't gone anywhere.

Amazon wants to expand into global space efforts, said Space News in a reported adding that the agreement is also to promote a space economy and attract and train aerospace professionals.

This includes access to the AWS Activate program, which offers space and other startups tools and resources for using its cloud networking technology.

AWS is also launching a sponsorship program for Greek professionals and organizations looking to store and work with qualified space-related data, through the Registry of Open Data on AWS, it said.

“We are looking forward to working closely with the Ministries on these initiatives, designed to support the country’s ongoing focus on innovation in aerospace and technology,” Cameron Brooks, Director of the Public Sector in Europe at AWS, said in a statement.

“This agreement builds on our existing commitment to support Greece’s growing digital economy,” he said, with Greece also trying to attract digital nomads with computer skills who can work anywhere in the world and beef up an Internet service and speed rated among the lowest in the European Union.

Amazon has also committed an initial $10 billion to develop its own low-Earth-orbit constellation, Project Kuiper, which envisages 3,236 satellites for worldwide broadband services, the report added.

Although it has not said when it could start launches, it must deploy at least half its constellation by July 2026 to comply with its regulatory license.

The Hellenic Space Agency was formed in 2018 under the former ruling Radical Left SYRIZA and rebranded a year later as the Hellenic Space Center, the goal to develop a space program during a long-running economic crisis.

But it ran into trouble out of the gate when noted Greek-American scientist Stamatios Krimigis quit as chief, citing political interference and adding that he wouldn't let himself be used.

“Conditions are being created that undermine the three ‘As’,” as he said, using the first letter of the Greek words for evaluation, meritocracy and excellence, which other SYRIZA ministers have said don’t apply.

“I detected a clear intent to and an insistent persistence to promote actions without evaluation, without meritocracy, far removed from international models, ones that serve personal agendas and the full oversight of the general secretariat,” he wrote in his resignation letter.

He returned as an advisor to the New Democracy government which ousted SYRIZA easily in July 7. 2019 snap election although the space program hasn't been as visible during the COVID-19 pandemic.


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