NTT plans to launch a data center into space.

The system, developed with Japan’s SKY Perfect JSAT Holdings, will consist of a number of compute and storage focused satellites, that form a single data center via optical communications. It will use NTT's IOWN optical communication technology to communicate.

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– Thales

Nikkei claims that the companies plan to launch the satellites in 2025, and begin operations in 2026. Early trials are expected to begin next year.

The plan is for the data center to collect satellite data, including imagery, and then locally process it.

Only useful data is sent down to Earth, saving on transfer costs and drastically reducing the speed of sending crucial data down.

Others are looking to shift processing to space for similar reasons. HPE's Spaceborne Computer-2 plans to run a 2U server in the International Space Station to crunch satellite data.

The European Space Agency is separately partnering with Intel and Ubotica for the PhiSat-1, a cubesat that does AI processing onboard. Startup LyteLoop hopes to fill the skies with light-based data storage satellites.

Even more ambitious is a plan to build a data center on the Moon, as part of NASA's plan to build a permanent Lunar base.