- Amazon wants to launch 3,236 internet-beaming satellites in an effort called Project Kuiper, which will directly compete with SpaceX’s growing fleet of StarLink spacecraft.
- Despite the heated competition, Amazon managed to win the approval of the US Federal Communications Commission to reduce opposition to its rivals and deploy Kuiper in space.
- SpaceX’s Starlink project appears to be a few years ahead of Amazon’s Kuiper, which has already launched hundreds of satellites and launched a beta testing program for consumers.
- However, Amazon has committed to investing “more than $ 10 billion” to realize Kuiper and Pebble Earth with affordable web access.
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Amazon, founded by Jeff Bezos in 1995, claimed a major victory by gaining regulatory approval to build Cooper, a planned fleet of 3,236 or constellations of Internet-beaming satellites.
If realized, Kuiper would compete with Starlink, a similar yet potentially much larger fleet of 12,000 to 42,000 satellites – many times the number of spacecraft humanity has ever launched – being built by SpaceX, which Aloe Musk Is an aerospace company founded by.
On Wednesday, the FCC’s five commissioners unanimously voted to allow Amazon to launch its Cooper fleet into space and to communicate with Earth-based antennas, forcing the project off the ground for paperwork.
The FCC wrote in its order issued on July 30, “We conclude that Cooper’s application will advance the public interest by authorizing a system designed to increase the availability of high-speed broadband service to consumers, the government and businesses.” . “
In a later announcement by Amazon on Thursday, the company promised to invest more than $ 10 billion “in its effort to provide reliable, affordable broadband service”.
“A project of this scale requires significant effort and resources, and, due to the nature of [low-Earth orbit] Constellations, this is not the kind of initiative that can start small. You have to be committed, ”Amazon said.
This amount, coincidentally, was estimated by SpaceX COO Gwen Shotwell in May 2018 as cash to complete Starlink.
A hot competition to dominate the space-based Internet
In its description of StarLink to journalists in May 2019, Elon Musk has stated that SpaceX is attempting to claim just 1-3% of the one-year trillion-dollar-a-year global telecommunications business. He also said that the project could net SpaceX between $ 30 billion to $ 50 billion per year – about 10 times the rocket launch. (This has prompted some analysts to value the company more than $ 100 billion.)
The same market reach and occupation is right for Amazon, which has prompted heated regulatory battles with SpaceX and other companies, at one point even prompting Musk to call Bezos a copycat. However, with Amazon’s growing and lucrative digital entertainment divisions, the aim is to expand its customer base and bottom line to bring affordable high-speed Internet to the population and remote areas alike.
Like SpaceX, however, Amazon first had to go through the FCC.
The federal regulator is in charge of splitting the wireless spectrum and allowing certain frequencies to be used for specific purposes – in the case of Kuiper, Starlink, OneWeb and other employed providers, web data from space to Blanket America (and) In other parts of the world) high-speed, low-end broadband. Amazon asked for FCC permission in 2019, entangling the company in a heated competition with similar providers.
Now, with the authority of the FCC, Amazon can launch its planned satellites, which will orbit the planet in an area of approximately 367 miles (590 kilometers) to 391 miles (630 kilometers), an area known as low-Earth orbit ( LEO) or even called. Very Low-Earth Orbit (VLEO). Such distances are 50 times longer than traditional geospatial Internet satellites, enabling them to shuttle data to places such as fiber-optic.
The FCC order states that Amazon plans to launch Kuiper in five phases and that it does not yet have an online Internet service after 578 satellites.
How large those satellites will be, what they will look like and which rockets or rockets will bring them into orbit is not yet clear. But in 2000 Bezos established an aerospace company called Blue Origin, which is working – as SpaceX has successfully done – to develop reusable rockets. The upcoming planned heavy-weight rocket from Blue Origin is called New Glen, and may have the capability to deploy dozens or hundreds of satellites at once.
SpaceX, for its part, seems to be years ahead of Amazon, has already deployed more than 500 StarLink satellites, built-in user terminals and ground stations, and even launched a private beta that May lead the first public service at the end of the year.
The FCC order did not give everything to Amazon, but the company stressed its importance by announcing its largely planned investment in the plan.
Dave Limp, a senior vice president at Amazon, previously developed the Kindle product and has now heard the story of many people who are unable to complete their jobs or school, as they do not have reliable Internet at home. . Kuper oversees. “There are still a lot of places where broadband access is unreliable or where it doesn’t exist at all. Kuiper will replace it. Our $ 10 billion investment will create employment and infrastructure around the United States that will make this difference for us. Will help in closing. “
In addition to its goals of serving the Internet to home consumers, schools, businesses, emergency responders, medical establishments, Amazon said it would “provide a backhaul solution for wireless carriers expanding LTE and 5G service to new areas” The plan is “. Reaching areas by other means.
At the end of last year, Amazon unveiled plans to open a huge factory in Redmond, Washington to develop, test and manufacture Kuiper satellites.
Amazon is ticking the clock to execute. The FCC is required to commission 50% of its satellites by 30 July 2026, and the rest of its fleet needs to be launched before 30 July 2029, or the company may lose its permission to operate the network.
The government’s decision only explicitly addressed the growing influence of satellites for low flying and astronomy, and especially radio astronomers. In its decision, the FCC said it had “no conditions” for its authorization to avoid such disruption, but that Amazon “should be aware of these facts” and the National Science Foundation to mitigate the problems Should work with