Amazon plans to launch a constellation of 3,236 satellites into low Earth orbit to provide broadband internet to unserved and underserved communities around the world. This initiative is known as project Kuiper which represent the latest space ambition from Jeff Bezos. Previously, the company also announced its cloud business which will build a network of satellites facilities on earth and space venture Blue Origin continues to move closer to launching space tourists.
“Project Kuiper is a new initiative to launch a constellation of low Earth orbit satellites that will provide low-latency, high-speed broadband connectivity to unserved and underserved communities around the world,” said an Amazon spokesperson in an interview. “This is a long-term project that envisions serving tens of millions of people who lack basic access to broadband internet. We look forward to partnering on this initiative with companies that share this common vision.”
Amazon is the newest member to join the thread of companies with plans to deploy thousands of satellites that will provide broadband internet around the globe. SpaceX has plans to launch as many as 12,000 satellites as part of its Starlink constellation, OneWeb wants to launch 650 satellites, and Facebook is also developing an internet satellite of its own.
However, Project Kuiper will place satellites at three different altitudes, there will be 784 satellites at 367 miles, 1,296 satellites at 379 miles, and 1,156 satellites at 391 miles. These satellites will offer internet in areas ranging from 56 degrees north down to 56 degrees south. All this area, theoretically, covers over 95 percent of Earth’s population.
This project will also requires a network of Earth stations for the satellites to communicate with. Last year, Amazon launched AWS ground station which is a cloud computing service that will enable space-to-ground communications. Also, more importantly, Amazon satellites plan first have to approve by FCC whereas FCC might raise issues about the orbital congestion. Orbital debris has become the major concern, NASA said that 99 out of every 100 satellites from these major constellations will need to be deorbited, when their missions are over to stop the space around the Earth from filling up with junk.