Amazon Satellites to Rival SpaceX, Launching in SeptemberAmazon Satellites to Rival SpaceX, Launching in September
The launch marks the beginning of project Kupier, Amazon’s internet satellite constellation
August 8, 2023
Amazon is set to launch the initial phase of its satellite broadband project Kupier on Sept. 26, although it has changed how the internet satellites will get there.
Amazon has changed the rocket set to carry its first pair of prototype satellites to space. They will now be carried aboard an Atlas V rocket from Boeing-Lockheed joint venture United Launch Alliance (ULA).
It’s the second time Amazon has changed plans for the rockets. Last year the company said it would launch its satellites on ULA’s Vulcan Rocket instead of the previously-decided ABL Space’s rockets.
The change is reportedly due to ongoing delays with Vulcan’s rocket, with Amazon working to meet a 2026 deadline to deploy half of its 3,236 satellites for its Kuiper network constellation.
The network combines low Earth orbit satellites with customer terminals, a global network of ground stations and communications infrastructure powered by Amazon Web Services.
The two prototype satellites – Kuipersat-1 and Kuipersat-2 – will be used as test subjects to monitor the efficacy of the systems, processes and infrastructure before launching the thousands of satellites that make up the rest of the constellation.
According to Amazon, project Kuiper will “close the digital divide” by providing accessible, affordable broadband to customers around the world, competing with Elon Musk’s SpaceX internet constellation.
Amazon has pledged $10 billion for the project, and said it has secured 83 launches from three commercial space companies; Arianespace, Blue Origin and ULA to carry its satellites into orbit.
“Together, they represent the largest commercial procurement of space launch services in history and our investments will support thousands of suppliers and highly skilled jobs in the space industry across the U.S. and Europe,” Amazon said.
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