Amazon plans to launch two internet satellites in 2022, for the first time


After sending people including its founder and others for a short ride to space, competing with Virgin Galactica and others, Amazon is planning to launch two satellites in space next year. This time around it is in direct competition with SpaceX, OneWeb and other internet service providers. The e-commerce giant will send internet satellites on small rockets.

On Monday, Amazon announced that its first two prototype satellites would be launched in space in the last quarter of 2022. The e-commerce giant has started Project Kuiper to compete in the internet space. It plans to beam high-speed internet connections from low earth orbits to customers on earth. This launch would be its debut and would be a test of its design, so that Amazon can launch thousands of satellites into orbit in future.

Two prototypes satellites named KuiperSat-1 and KuiperSat-2 will be launched separately. They will be carried on rockets developed by ABL Space. ABL Space is a startup that has developed an RS1 rocket that will take off from Cape Canaveral in Florida. The company has signed a five launch contract with Amazon.

The satellites will test the internet connectivity between space and Amazon’s flat, square antennas on the ground. This will be the first time that the internet connection will be tested from space in the Kuiper program as earlier tests used flying drones that had satellite hardware attached.

Amazon has filed a request with the Federal Communications Commission(FCC) to launch these satellites. The future plan, after the initial two satellite launch, is to build a network of satellites in low Earth orbit, something that its rival SpaceX has launched with its Starlink network, quite a while ago,

The FCC has authorized Amazon’s system and the tech giant said that it would invest $10 billion in the Kuiper project. It plans to put 3,236 satellites in orbit. Last week, the company said that it had formed a partnership with telecom giant Verizon. Both the companies will collaborate to provide high-speed satellite internet to consumers.

Source The New York Times, CNBC

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