In early October, Amazon launched its first prototype satellites for its low Earth orbit (LEO) satellite broadband initiative, Project Kuiper. This launch marked the beginning of the project’s “Protoflight mission.”
These two prototype satellites are the first of over 3,200 satellites Project Kuiper plans to manufacture and deploy in the coming years. This Protoflight mission is imperative to providing real-world data throughout Project Kuiper’s development.
“We’ve done extensive testing here in our lab and have a high degree of confidence in our satellite design, but there’s no substitute for on-orbit testing,” said Rajeev Badyal, Project Kuiper’s vice president of technology.
“This is Amazon’s first time putting satellites into space, and we’re going to learn an incredible amount regardless of how the mission unfolds.”
During the prototype testing phase, Project Kuiper will be testing in space and on the ground, and eventually testing the network by sending data back and forth between the internet, ground gateways, the satellites and customer terminals.
Since the Oct. 6 launch, Amazon reports that its satellites are “fully activated, generating power independently, and communicating with our mission operations center.” You can expect periodic updates about the Kuiper satellites over the coming months.
Amazon has secured 77 launches from Arianespace, Blue Origin and United Launch Alliance to deploy most of its satellites, which Amazon calls the biggest corporate rocket launch deal in industry history.
With these launches, Amazon progressed in the internet space race against SpaceX and its Starlink satellite internet service. Starlink has already launched more than 5,000 satellites and provides internet to over 1.5 million customers.
Amazon is required by its Federal Communications Commission (FCC) license to deploy at least half of its satellite constellation by July 2026, but its first production satellites are on track for launch in the first half of 2024. Amazon expects to provide internet service to the first Project Kuiper customers by the end of 2024.
Written by:Camryn Smith
Cammy is a writer with Allconnect, growing her broadband industry knowledge for over a year on the internet marketplace. Her expertise lies in home internet and broadband service with a focus on providers, plans… Read more
Edited by:Robin Layton
Editor, Broadband Content
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