Amazon is getting ready to venture into space with plans of launching its first internet satellites in late 2022. From dominating online retail, it now wants to set foot on the internet-from-space venture. The e-commerce giant will launch the first satellites for Project Kuiper, a broadband service that will beam internet down from space, Amazon said on Monday.
This will bring the e-commerce giant in direct competition with Elon Musk-owned space company SpaceX. Amazon says it plans to send two prototype satellites into orbit, to begin with. The initial launches will help Amazon fine-tune its satellite design and launch procedures.
This venture will help in providing high-speed internet connections to customers from low Earth orbit. Amazon first announced its goal of deploying a constellation of 3,236 satellites in low Earth orbit in 2019. For Amazon founder Jeff Bezos this is the second pursuit in space. He also owns the rocket company Blue Origin.
What is Amazon’s Project Kuiper?
Like SpaceX, Amazon plans to spend USD 10 billion on the project, which sits within its devices unit.
Amazon unveiled a customer antenna concept in 2020 and has been testing prototype satellites on the ground for years.
The first two prototype satellites – KuiperSat-1 and KuiperSat-2 will launch separately on rockets from ABL Space Systems.
The prototype satellites will test internet connections between space and the company’s flat, square antennas for consumers.
Amazon has contracted ABL Space Systems, a rocket startup, to launch the prototype satellites into low Earth orbit.
Amazon has said that the Project Kuiper constellation will eventually comprise 3,236 satellites.
Satellite internet providers like Project Kuiper aim to provide high-speed internet to places poorly served by current infrastructure.
Customers can connect to satellite internet from anywhere in the world, making the services especially valuable for remote communities.
Regions for the test include parts of South America, the Asia-Pacific region and Central Texas.