Amazon deploys the first test satellites for the Kuiper internet network
Amazon a multinational technology and e-commerce company has shifted it's game to establishing a worldwide internet service. Amazon recent mission is to conquer the final frontier of global connectivity as they set on deploying a constellation of 3,236 satellites in the coming years, revolutionizing worldwide broadband internet access, a challenge that SpaceX's Starlink constellation also fervently pursues with nearly 5,000 satellites in orbit.
A United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket, proudly showcasing the Amazon emblem embarked on a celestial journey from Cape Canaveral, igniting the skies shortly after 2 p.m. Eastern time (1800 GMT). Its precious cargo: two Kuiper test satellites.
The Mystery of Kuiper
Amazon had kept its two Kuiper satellites in secret. Built at its satellite facility in Redmond, Washington, these enigmatic devices left the world guessing about their precise capabilities and functions.
Amazon's investment in the Kuiper project is nothing short of astronomical with a pledge of $10 billion announced back in 2019, the year when SpaceX was just embarking on its Starlink journey. To comply with U.S. regulatory requirements, Amazon is mandated to deploy half of its planned satellite constellation by 2026.
The low-Earth orbit satellite broadband market is to become a multi-billion-dollar industry in the next decade. As SpaceX's Starlink proves its dominance, Amazon faces competition from Canada's Telesat and OneWeb, a satellite firm backed by Eutelsat, primarily catering to governments and businesses.
Amazon's Consumer-Focused Strategy
Much like SpaceX, Amazon's Kuiper intends to serve individual consumers and enterprise customers. Amazon is plans to deploy consumer terminals, mirroring its device-centric approach, though pricing details which are yet to be revealed. SpaceX offers its consumer Starlink terminals at $599 each.
Amazon's ambition extends beyond rocketing its satellites into orbit. Last year, the company announced a monumental launch deal involving 83 launches marking the largest commercial rocket procurement ever.
The collaboration launches with Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin, ULA, and Europe's Arianespace. However, the deal sparked a lawsuit, alleging Amazon's failure to conduct proper due diligence and consider potentially cheaper alternatives from SpaceX, known for its cost-effective Falcon 9 rocket that has played a role in Starlink's rapid deployment.
As Amazon's Kuiper project takes us further into the age of global satellite internet, the tech titans' battle for supremacy as they continue to reshape the digital landscape.