Amazon announced Project Kuiper last spring to build a low earth orbit (LEO) satellite constellation capable of providing reliable, affordable broadband service to unserved and underserved communities around the world.
The FCC this week unanimously voted to approve Amazon's plan to deploy 3,236 satellites as part of its Project Kuiper to deliver satellite-based broadband services across the U.S. Amazon has earmarked more than $10 billion for the project, inspired by "customers in every corner of the world", a company blog post said, citing the COVID-19 pandemic-and the families, researchers, first responders, and companies it's affected-as the driving force.
Once complete, Kuiper will be in direct competition with Starlink, a similar but larger fleet from Elon Musk's SpaceX of 12,000 to 42,000 satellites - several times more spacecraft than ever launched by humankind before.
Project Kuiper seeks to deliver high-speed broadband service to places beyond the reach of traditional fiber or wireless networks, including disaster relief. Limp said. "We're off to the races", he said.
Details of Amazon's satellite offerings-including a deployment timeline-have not yet been revealed.
The FCC said Amazon has until July 30, 2026, to launch at least 50% of its satellites in order to maintain its authorization, and until July 30, 2029, to orbit the full constellation.
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Amazon plans to invest $10 billion to build the infrastructure to make and launch the satellites.
Project Kuiper is meant to deliver high-speed, low-latency broadband service to places beyond the reach of traditional fiber or wireless networks.
The approval, among other things, is conditioned on Kuiper's final orbital debris mitigation plan. Kuiper will change that.
SpaceX's Starlink project, which is expected to power the company's bottom line, initially secured FCC approval to operate about 4,400 satellites at about 715 miles up, previous year got approval to operate about 1,500 of those satellites at about 342 miles. The company plans to send almost 12,000 satellites into low Earth orbit and after launching its first 60 satellites back in May, hundreds more have followed.
The investment will create jobs and infrastructure around the United States, build and scale ground networks, accelerate satellite testing and manufacturing, and deliver "an affordable customer terminal that will make fast, reliable broadband accessible to communities around the world".