Amazon.com mentioned Thursday that its two prototype satellites for its deliberate Kuiper web community have efficiently operated in orbit, with the venture on monitor to start launching operational satellites in mid-2024. Kuiper’s web community will compete towards billionaire Elon Musk’s Starlink, the world’s largest satellite tv for pc operator, to supply broadband web service globally to shoppers, companies and governments. Amazon mentioned it had achieved a 100% success price inside the first 30 days of launching the prototype satellites from Florida aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket.
Amazon mentioned it used the prototype satellites for brief two-way video calls, streaming a high-definition film on Prime Video and ordering items from Amazon’s web site. “We nonetheless have loads of onerous work forward of us, and scaling to mass manufacturing is not going to be simple,” mentioned Rajeev Badyal, vice chairman of expertise for Undertaking Kuiper. The US Federal Communications Fee has required Amazon to deploy half of its greater than 3,000 deliberate satellite tv for pc constellation by 2026.
On the heels of the profitable prototype exams, Amazon expects to start out constructing production-ready satellites subsequent month for a launch within the second quarter of 2024, Badyal advised Reuters. Badyal declined to say what number of satellites Amazon would launch per yr. rocket.
Badyal mentioned he expects the community to have the ability to present broadband protection in some elements of the world by late 2024, for an early beta part focused to start in early 2025.
Early companions resembling Vodafone and Verizon are set to be the primary telcos to beta take a look at the service.
Amazon final yr introduced a mass launch deal for 83 launches — the biggest business rocket buy ever — from varied rocket corporations, together with Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin, ULA and Europe’s Arianespace.
The Boeing-Lockheed three way partnership United Launch Alliance is about to launch the primary a number of batches of Kuiper satellites aboard its Atlas 5 and the corporate’s upcoming Vulcan rocket.
Rival Starlink makes use of its personal SpaceX Falcon 9 rockets to launch its community, which since 2019 has grown to round 5,000 low-Earth orbit satellites, enabling near-global broadband protection.
© Thomson Reuters 2023