Amazon's Kuiper Internet Satellite Project Advances with Successful Prototype Tests
Amazon.com announced the successful operation of its two prototype satellites for the Kuiper internet network.
The project, aimed at providing global broadband internet service, is set to compete with Elon Musk's Starlink.
The prototype satellites, launched aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket from Florida, achieved a 100% success rate within the first 30 days.
Amazon utilized the prototypes for various tests, including two-way video calls, streaming high-definition content on Prime Video, and placing orders on the Amazon website.
The company plans to commence the production of operational satellites in the coming month, targeting a launch in mid-2024.
Rajeev Badyal, VP of Technology for Project Kuiper, acknowledged the challenges ahead, emphasizing the complexity of scaling for mass production.
As per the US Federal Communications Commission's mandate, Amazon is required to deploy half of its planned 3,000-plus satellite constellation by 2026.
Following the successful prototype phase, Amazon anticipates initiating the launch of production-ready satellites next month, with the goal of achieving broadband coverage in select regions by late 2024.
The early beta phase is slated to commence in early 2025, with telecom giants like Vodafone and Verizon participating as early partners.
Amazon secured a significant launch deal for 83 launches, involving rocket companies such as Blue Origin, United Launch Alliance (ULA), and Arianespace.
United Launch Alliance is set to deploy the initial batches of Kuiper satellites using its Atlas 5 and upcoming Vulcan rockets.
The Kuiper network's expansion aligns with Amazon's vision to offer widespread broadband access globally, a goal that puts it in direct competition with Starlink, which has rapidly grown its satellite count to around 5,000 in low-Earth orbit since 2019.