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Chasing SpaceX, Amazon plans to launch 3236 satellites

Chasing SpaceX, Amazon plans to launch 3000 internet satellites

  1. Amazon asked the United States for permission to launch 3236 communication satellites under its ambitious Kuiper satellite project
  2. Amazon mentioned that the satellites would be operating at altitudes of nearly 370-390 miles.
  3. It is a separate Amazon project and doesn’t involve Blue Origin LLC, an aerospace manufacturer company also owned by Bezos
  4. 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.

lunar lander NASA

United States wants to accelerate return to the Moon for a quicker visit to Mars

Neil Armstrong became the first human being to set foot on the moon on 20 July 1969. However, after 1972, human beings have never been to the Moon until now. After President of the United States, Donald Trump asked the Congress for more funds to facilitate the return of the astronauts to Moon quicker, NASA remarked that it was only the beginning.

Jim Bridenstine, NASA Administrator remarked that the ultimate aim is to enable human beings to reach the surface of Mars, the return to the Moon is a gateway for it. He also added that the timeline which NASA had actually set for the lunar mission has been accelerated keeping in mind the mission to Mars.

The original budget which was requested by NASA on March 11 amounted to 21 billion dollars. Out of that amount close to 11 billion dollars was meant for the “Exploration Campaign” which consisted of a lunar landing in the year 2028. This was considered as the groundwork for sending human beings to Mars.

But now, the United States wants its astronauts to return to Moon by 2024. As a result, Trump government released a revamped budget which requested for a further 1.6 billion dollars for achieving the target. As a result of this, the total budget for NASA would total to 22.6 billion dollars.

In March, United States Vice President Mike Pence told the National Space Council that astronauts will again return to the Moon in a span of five years and this mission has to be accomplished in any way possible. The success of this mission needs more than just monetary power. This is considered to be in reaction to China’s mission of being the first country to reach Mars.

The main component of this mission is to manufacture a lander which will transport human beings to Moon. For this, instead of developing its own lander, NASA is looking to partner with private space companies.

NASA has declared that the lander needs to be reusable and it has to be integrated into two components, a surface outpost and a Lunar Gateway which will comprise of an office, laboratory for orbiting the moon.

Jeff Bezos recently showcased a mock-up version of the Blue Moon, a human-class lander. It has been developed by his space venture, Blue Origin. It is supposed to be capable of landing around 4500 kg to the Moon and can also be used for supporting NASA activities.

If the approval of Congress is received, NASA hopes to fix a deal with the commercial companies in October so that NASA engineers can start working with the partners for the development process.

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