Amazon is getting closer to being able to launch broadband satellites from Project Kuiper. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has recently given the company the crucial approval it requires in order to formally launch 3,236 satellites into orbit and launch Kuiper’s satellite internet operations. This means thousands of Low Earth Orbit satellites may be launched with clearance from the FCC.
The commission declared that the amended plan complies with the requirement it placed on the company when it granted its request back in 2020. This additional approval will enable Kuiper to launch its constellation to provide high-speed broadband connectivity to users globally.
In this article, you’ll discover everything you need to know about Amazon’s Project Kuiper, particularly the conditions that the FCC has set out. Let’s dive in!
What Is Project Kuiper?
Project Kuiper is a new Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite internet service provider by Amazon scheduled to launch 1,500 satellites over the next five years. Kuiper intends to accomplish a total of 3,236 satellites to roll out its constellation and provide satellite broadband internet throughout the world.
The FCC defines satellite broadband as the internet that provides at least 25 Mbps. So if you live in a remote place or are a digital nomad, you might want to keep a watch on Amazon’s satellite internet. Project Kuiper pledges to offer reliable satellite broadband globally.
Even though satellite internet has a higher latency, it can reach places where land-based internet like cable and fiber can’t. To provide service to customers, the project will make use of a low-cost customer terminal. The dish has a diameter of 12 inches and can transmit data at a speed of up to 400 megabits per second.
Why Is It Called Project Kuiper?
The name of Amazon’s Project Kuiper refers to the Kuiper Belt, a ring-shaped area just outside of Neptune’s orbit that is host to ice things like Pluto and comets. The Dutch astronomer Gerard Kuiper, who originally hypothesized the presence of the Kuiper Belt, was honored with its name.
What Is the Purpose of Project Kuiper?
Project Kuiper aims to bridge the digital divide by making broadband more inexpensive and accessible to underprivileged and unserved populations worldwide. Plus, it gives them access to broadband connections with fast internet and low latency. The Project Kuiper satellites are being designed and built internally by Amazon to the greatest extent possible.
Who Will Launch Project Kuiper?
Amazon’s Project Kuiper will receive assistance from Blue Origin, Arianespace, and United Launch Alliance (ULA) for the placement of its satellites into earth orbit. However, ULA’s Vulcan Centaur will not be handling the first satellite launches for Amazon Project Kuiper in 2023, as well as another 38 Kuiper launches in the coming years.
ABL Space Systems was the earliest company to assist Amazon Project Kuiper in launching its prototype satellite, and it had planned to assist with the KuiperSat-1 and Kuiper-Sat-2 prototypes at the end of 2022.
What Conditions Does the FCC Have for Amazon Project Kuiper?
The FCC mandates Amazon to provide a semi-annual report detailing the number of satellites deployed and the reliability of their disposal. It must also inform the FCC if it detects a satellite disposal failure within a calendar year. In addition, Project Kuiper must guarantee that it can deorbit its satellites once its seven-year mission is complete, fulfilling the commission’s demands.
Decommissioned satellites must be removed from orbit to avoid colliding with the International Space Station (ISS) or other inhabited stations. For its satellites to maintain their ability to prevent collisions, Kuiper must ensure enough fuel is available. It must also use any extra fuel to bring the altitude below any inhabited space stations.
When Must Amazon Project Kuiper Deploy its Constellations to Meet FCC Requirements?
The FCC order states that Kuiper will be implemented in five stages, with service starting after the first 578 satellites are deployed. According to the ruling, Kuiper must launch and run 50% of its satellites no later than July 30, 2026, and the other spacecraft must be launched and operational no later than July 30, 2029.
Project Kuiper is poised for success, given its connections to aerospace firms, computing powerhouses, and logistical giants. Given Amazon’s pledge of at least $10 billion to the project, Project Kuiper won’t be going away anytime soon. Although it might not be groundbreaking in the same sense as Starlink, they have the ability to go head-to-head with other LEO satellite systems and deal with connectivity issues more successfully.