Amazon launches first test satellites for Project Kuiper internet network

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Amazon has successfully launched the first two test internet satellites for the Project Kuiper network into low Earth orbit. More than 3,200 satellites for Amazon’s internet service are planned to be launched by 2029.

The two prototype satellites, KuiperSat-1 and KuiperSat-2, were launched into space from Florida on Friday evening by a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket. let the latter company know. They were deposited at an altitude of 500 kilometers above the Earth’s surface. Amazon writes that the company’s Mission Operations Center first contacted the satellites an hour after launch, but no further details were released.

Amazon wants With this Protoflight mission, we test the entire Internet network from start to finish by continuously sending data to and from the gateway satellites and customer terminals. Those terminals will eventually be loaned to customers and used to connect to the Internet via the Kuiper constellation. Once the test mission is complete, Amazon will perform a deorbit and the satellites will eventually burn up in the atmosphere.

Launch of the first two test satellites of Project Kuiper

Initially, the satellites were intended to be transported with the new RS1 rockets from ABL Space Systems. However, the development of these rockets was delayed, so it was decided to use ULA’s existing Atlas 5. Originally, the first satellites were supposed to be in the air at the end of last year.

Project Kuiper aims to bring broadband internet to millions of “unserved or underserved communities around the world.” This concerns both companies and consumers. To this end, the intention is to launch more than 3,200 satellites to low Earth orbit before 2029. Amazon already received permission for this from the FTC in 2020.

That organization requires Amazon to have launched at least half of the planned satellites by 2026. To achieve this, Amazon is currently working with Arianespace and Blue Origin, among others, in addition to ULA. There are already 83 KuiperSat launches planned. The first pilots with business customers should start in 2024. Amazon plans to invest ten billion dollars in Project Kuiper.

There are currently several companies working on internet satellite projects, of which SpaceX’s Starlink is by far the best known. This company also focuses on both consumers and companies and has already launched around 5,000 satellites. The Starlink internet network already has more than two million customers.

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