Microsoft announced the start of a private preview for Azure Orbital Cloud Access, which lets users link up with the cloud in a single hop from virtually anywhere via SpaceX’s Starlink constellation.

For now, the preview is limited to Microsoft Azure’s government customers.

But Jason Zander, executive vice president of Microsoft strategic missions and technologies, said we are currently working toward general availability and commercial expansion.

Starlink’s low-latency global connectivity, in conjunction with Azure infrastructure, will enable users to access fiber-like cloud computing access anywhere SpaceX’s president, said in a statement.

He said Microsoft Azure will work with industry partners to enable satellite operators to focus on their satellites and operate from the cloud more reliably at lower cost and latency.

Following up on that demonstration, Microsoft and SES, a Luxembourg-based satellite network operator, will join forces to create the architecture for fully virtualized ground stations.

In the years ahead, Amazon’s broadband satellite effort, known as Project Kuiper, is likely to play a role for AWS that’s similar to the role SpaceX is playing for Microsoft Azure.

When asked via email about the differences between Azure’s approach and the approach taken by its competitors, Zander emphasized the partnerships that Microsoft has forged with leading companies.