Amazon has received approval from the FCC to launch a constellation of 3,236 satellites in low-Earth orbit.
Amazon is planning to launch a constellation of 3,236 satellites in low-Earth orbit. The first two prototype satellites are scheduled to be launched in 2023. Amazon’s satellite internet service, called Project Kuiper, will be available to customers in 2024.
Project Kuiper will offer speeds of up to 100 Mbps. The service will be available in rural and underserved areas. Amazon is targeting a price of less than $100 per month for its satellite internet service.
On July 21, 2023, Amazon announced the opening of a new satellite processing facility at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The facility will prepare and integrate Project Kuiper satellites for launch.
It’s considering using United Launch Alliance’s Atlas V rocket to launch its first two prototype Kuiper satellites. Initially, Amazon had planned to use its own New Glenn rocket for the launches, but New Glenn still needs to be ready to fly. The Atlas V is a more proven rocket than New Glenn, and it can carry more payload to orbit. This could make it a better choice for Amazon’s first two Kuiper satellites, which will be used to test the company’s satellite internet technology.
The opening of the new satellite processing facility in Florida is a sign that Amazon is moving forward with its plans to launch a constellation of satellites to provide high-speed internet access to people around the world.
Why is Amazon building Kuiper?
Amazon is building Kuiper for a number of reasons.
To provide fast, affordable broadband to underserved communities. There are millions of people around the world who do not have access to fast, reliable broadband. Kuiper has the potential to bridge the digital divide and provide these people with the same opportunities as those in urban areas.
To compete with SpaceX’s Starlink. SpaceX is another company that is developing a constellation of satellites to provide broadband internet. Kuiper is Amazon’s way of competing with Starlink and ensuring that it has a stake in the future of satellite broadband.
To expand Amazon’s reach into new markets. Kuiper could give Amazon a way to reach new markets and customers. For example, Kuiper could be used to provide broadband to remote areas or to countries that do not have a well-developed telecommunications infrastructure.
To generate new revenue streams. Kuiper could generate new revenue streams for Amazon. For example, Amazon could sell access to Kuiper’s broadband service to businesses and consumers.
How much will Project Kuiper cost?
Amazon has not yet released an official cost estimate for Project Kuiper. However, the company has said that it expects the project to cost billions of dollars to develop and launch.
In 2019, Amazon filed with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to launch a constellation of 3,236 satellites in LEO. The company estimated that the project would cost $10 billion to develop and launch.
Since then, the cost of launching satellites has increased. In 2022, SpaceX launched a Falcon 9 rocket that carried 53 Starlink satellites into orbit. The cost of the launch was estimated to be $100 million.
If Amazon follows SpaceX’s pricing model, then the cost of launching the full constellation of 3,236 Project Kuiper satellites would be around $32 billion.
In addition to the cost of launching the satellites, Amazon will also need to invest in developing the ground infrastructure for Project Kuiper. This includes building ground stations and developing the software that will manage the network.
The total cost of Project Kuiper could be as high as $50 billion. However, Amazon is likely to be able to negotiate discounts on the cost of launching satellites and building ground stations.
Overall, the cost of Project Kuiper is likely to be a major financial investment for Amazon. However, the company believes that the project will be a valuable investment in the future of broadband connectivity.
When will Project Kuiper be available?
Amazon has not yet announced a specific date for when Project Kuiper will be available to the public. However, the company has said that it expects to launch the first production satellites in the first half of 2024.
Once the first satellites are launched, Amazon will need to test the network and make sure it is working properly. This process could take several months or even years.
After the network is fully tested, Amazon will begin offering beta testing to a limited number of customers. This will allow the company to gather feedback and make sure the service is ready for a wider launch.
Amazon has said that it expects to offer Project Kuiper to the general public in 2025. However, this date could be subject to change.
Here is a timeline of key milestones for Project Kuiper:
2019: Amazon files with the FCC to launch a constellation of 3,236 satellites in LEO.
2021: Amazon begins development of a dedicated satellite production facility in Kirkland, Washington.
2022: Amazon launches two prototype satellites into orbit.
2023: Amazon launches the first production satellites.
2024: Amazon begins beta testing of Project Kuiper.
2025: Project Kuiper is available to the general public.
Amazon’s Project Kuiper is an ambitious project that has the potential to make a real difference in the world. The project aims to provide fast, affordable broadband to millions of people around the world who currently do not have access to it. By bridging the digital divide, Project Kuiper could help to improve education, healthcare, and economic opportunities in underserved communities.
Project Kuiper is still in the early stages of development, but Amazon has already made significant progress. The company has launched two prototype satellites and is in the process of developing a dedicated satellite production facility. Amazon has also said that it expects to launch the first production satellites in the first half of 2024.
If all goes according to plan, Project Kuiper could be available to the general public in 2025. This would be a major milestone for Amazon and a significant step towards bridging the digital divide.