- Amazon asked the United States for permission to launch 3236 communication satellites under its ambitious Kuiper satellite project
- Amazon mentioned that the satellites would be operating at altitudes of nearly 370-390 miles.
- It is a separate Amazon project and doesn’t involve Blue Origin LLC, an aerospace manufacturer company also owned by Bezos
- Kuiper System will be helping several mobile network operators in expanding wireless services
Amazon asked the United States for permission to launch 3236 communication satellites (named the Kuiper project). With this, it joins Elon Musk’s SpaceX in a space race for offering internet connectivity from low orbits. In a July 4 filing, Amazon informed the Federal Communications Commission that its Kuiper satellites will be delivering the broadband connection to several million consumers and businesses that lack appropriate internet access. FCC’s task is to coordinate the trajectories and use of radio-frequency.
FCC has previously given the approval of almost 13000 low-Earth orbiting satellites. Among these, there a huge chunk precisely 11,943 belong to Space Exploration Technologies of Elon Musk. SpaceX made an initial launch of 60 spacecrafts in the month of May.
In the case of low-Earth orbits, at altitudes of 112 to 1200 miles which translates to 180 to 2000 kilometers, satellites have to move around the Earth for staying aloft, thus completing the orbits in time as minimum as 90 minutes. When one satellite moves towards the horizon, it will be handing off the signal duties to the next satellite that is coming. For continuous and wide coverage, there is a requirement of many satellites. In the FCC application, Amazon mentioned that the satellites would be operating at altitudes of nearly 370-390 miles.
Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder, and CEO said last month that the Kuiper project will be costing several billions of dollars. It is a separate project and doesn’t involve Blue Origin LLC, an aerospace manufacturer company also owned by Bezos. Amazon mentioned in its statement that it is a long-term project which has plans of serving millions of people who do not have basic access to internet connectivity.
It filed its satellite program with the International Telecommunications Union in April. It has plans of offering service to the communities in the United States through its offering of fixed broadband communication in the areas which are difficult to access such as the rural areas.
Kuiper System will be helping several mobile network operators in expanding wireless services. In addition to this, it also promises to offer high-throughput wireless broadband connectivity services for airplanes, land vehicles and maritime vessels.
Amazon cited studies by the FCC which mention that close to 21 million Americans lack fixed or residential broadband service and almost 33 million Americans do not have access to high-speed internet connectivity. When stretched to the worldwide level, this figure blooms to 3.8 billion people who are without reliable broadband connectivity as per the application.