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Amazon Buys 83 Launches for Project Kuiper LEO Broadband Satellites

Tuesday, April 5th, 2022 (4:32 pm) - Score 912
Amazon-Project-Kuiper-Rockets

Internet shopping giant Amazon has managed to secure up to 83 Launches aboard rockets from Arianespace, Blue Origin, and United Launch Alliance (ULA) to support their plans for a new global low-latency ultrafast broadband service via a new mega constellation of satellites in Low Earth Orbit (LEO).

The idea of using LEOs is that they orbit significantly closer to Earth – in Amazon’s case it’s around 600km versus 35,000km for a large GSO / GEO Satellite – and are comparatively small. Sadly, this means you need a lot more of them for good coverage, but that quantity also delivers lots of data capacity and relatively low latency (often c.20-40ms) – provided it’s all matched by plenty of Ground Stations.

NOTE: Project Kuiper’s LEOs will communicate with ground stations using the 17.8-18.6GHz and 28.6-29.1GHz bands.

Amazon currently has approval to deploy and operate their own constellation of 3,236 LEO satellites as part of Project Kuiper. At the last update, the company planned to launch half of its constellation no later than mid-2026 and the rest would then be completed by the middle of 2029 – well behind their rivals at SpaceX (Starlink) and UK based OneWeb.

Today’s deal is thus significant in that the contracts – across three launch providers (Arianespace – Ariane 6, Blue Origin – New Glenn, and ULA – Vulcan Centaur) – cover up to 83 launchers over a 5-year period and that will provide enough capacity to “deploy the majority of its 3,236-satellite constellation.” This is believed to be the largest commercial procurement of space launch vehicles in history.

We should point out that Blue Origin was founded by Jeff Bezos, who also owns Amazon (much like how Elon Musk founded both SpaceX and Starlink).

Dave Limp, Senior VP for Amazon Devices & Services, said:

“Project Kuiper will provide fast, affordable broadband to tens of millions of customers in unserved and underserved communities around the world. We still have lots of work ahead, but the team has continued to hit milestone after milestone across every aspect of our satellite system.

These launch agreements reflect our incredible commitment and belief in Project Kuiper, and we’re proud to be working with such an impressive lineup of partners to deliver on our mission.”

Project Kuiper aims to provide high-speed, low-latency broadband to a wide range of customers, including “individual households, schools, hospitals, businesses, government agencies, disaster relief operations, mobile operators, and other organizations working in places without reliable internet connectivity.”

In total, Amazon has today secured 18 Ariane 6 rockets, 12 launches using New Glenn from Blue Origin (inc. options for up to 15 additional launches) and 38 launches on Vulcan Centaur, the ULA’s newest heavy-lift launch vehicle.

All good news then, unless you happen to be worried about the growing problem of “space junk” in Earth’s orbit, which some fear may potentially hamper access to space in the future (i.e. through a cascade of collisions / damage), or the negative impacts on space-focused observational sciences.

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By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
Leave a Comment
4 Responses
  1. NeilM says:

    And not one of those rockets has been launched yet. With the majority of the engines coming from Blue Origin ….

    Buying work for Jeff’s engine plant, boy they are going to be busy. With no spare capacity in the mid range, given Russia’s self imposed absence from the launch business.

    It will be interesting to see what state Amazons project will start in. Straight into Live with little bit of Beta time.

    I am intrigued to see what speeds they offer and the pricing, which I hope will be good for consumers.

    You have to be concerned for OneWeb with the other two networks having owners which such deep pockets.

    1. Anonymouse says:

      Not sure I agree. Historically, we have found that speeds have had to increase to keep pace. The old proverb ‘build it and they will come’ is very true. Either that or dig out that 56K modem again as that’s all we’re gonna need?

    2. Danny says:

      Oneweb is targeting a totally different customer so it’s no problem for them

  2. Isaac says:

    Hi, it’s a nice post. Thanks for your post . Do you know?The project aims to provide broadband connections using a constellation of 3,236 satellites.

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