Tech giant Amazon is a direct competitor to SpaceX’s Starlink satellite internet service. Amazon’s Kuiper satellites will soon be launched into orbit and testing will officially begin.
Amazon’s Kuiper satellites will soon begin their journey into orbit. The company is preparing to deploy its first two satellites, KuiperSat-1 and KuiperSat-2, into orbit with the Protoflight mission scheduled to launch on October 6. The Kuiper project will be a direct competitor to Amazon’s Starlink service from SpaceX.
Amazon’s rival to Starlink
Amazon Kuiper plans to launch 3,200 satellites over the next six years to create a constellation that can provide internet connectivity even to remote places that are currently beyond the reach of traditional providers. KuiperSat-1 and KuiperSat-2 are the first versions of Amazon’s satellites, and the company aims to learn a lot from them. These satellites will enable correlation between lab data and real-world data, opening the pandora’s box for a series of tests.
As the Protoflight mission will test the satellites’ connectivity to Kuiper’s ground-based network and customer terminals, Project Kuiper’s ground team will also have the chance to observe how the network works. In addition, valuable information will be gathered for future satellite launches. “We have done extensive testing here in our lab and have a high degree of confidence in our satellite design, but there is no substitute for orbital testing,” said Rajeev Badyal, Kuiper’s vice president of technology, in a statement. This is Amazon’s first time sending a satellite into space and we will learn an incredible amount regardless of how the mission turns out.”
Critical step for Amazon Kuiper
The first two Kuiper satellites, however, will be carried into orbit by United Launch Alliance’s Atlas V rocket. ULA will place the satellites at an altitude of 500 km and then the Kuiper team will start testing the systems on board. Once all the electronics are confirmed to work, first contact will be made and the satellites’ solar panels will be switched on. After that, the team will perform data transfers to test the network. Amazon says both satellites will be de-orbited at the end of the mission.
The first satellites will be deployed in the first half of 2024 and will begin beta testing with commercial consumers, Amazon says. Presumably, it could make changes to its plans based on what it learns from this launch. The launch of the Kuiper satellites will take place on October 6 at 21:00 Turkish time. You can watch the live broadcast below.