Amazon Kuiper: Jeff Bezos into the satellite internet race

Amazon Kuiper

Amazon Kuiper: The founder of the massive online retailer Amazon, Jeff Bezos, is growing more interested in space travel.

He launched two test satellites for Project Kuiper, a broadband mega-constellation, on Friday.

In order to provide internet access to every place on the planet, Mr. Bezos intends to launch more than 3,200 spacecraft in the coming years.

Elon Musk’s Starlink, which currently provides satellite internet in numerous nations, is the project he intends to challenge.

The required technology will be tested by the two small spacecraft, KuiperSat-1 and KuiperSat-2, which are scheduled to launch on Friday.

An Atlas-5 rocket launched them into a 500 km (310 km) orbit.

Launching at 18:00 GMT, the flight left Florida’s Cape Canaveral Space Force Station at 14:00 EDT.

In 2018, Amazon started working on the $10 billion (£8 billion) Project Kuiper.

The goal is to get into the quickly expanding market for internet connections that are bounced over the sky rather than through fiber cables on the ground, with high bandwidth and low latency (minimum delay).

Currently leading the industry, SpaceX, founded by Elon Musk, has more than 4,800 operational spacecraft in orbit.

Although Eutelsat-OneWeb, a UK-based company, has also established a network of 620 satellites, there are also other US firms putting in bids, and similar initiatives have been planned in China, the EU, and Canada.

Amazon Kuiper

Mr. Bezos wants to use his network as soon as possible.

The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has granted Amazon a license to utilize the required radio frequencies; however, the conditions of this license stipulate that the Kuiper system must be fully deployed by July 2029 and that at least half of the system must be in orbit by July 2026.

An intense launch campaign will be necessary for this, and Amazon has contracts with rocket firms for nearly 100 flights.

One possible problem, though, is that most of these missions are scheduled for vehicles that are not yet in operation, and new rocket systems frequently malfunction during their initial flights.

Should this transpire, it might significantly impair Amazon’s ability to launch Kuiper at a rapid pace.

Similar to other massive constellations, the Kuiper satellites will be closely examined for any potential interference they may cause to astronomy.

There is a great deal of worry that the increasing quantity of spacecraft in orbit may negatively affect telescopic observation of space.

When spaceship surfaces reflect the rising and setting Sun, they can seem like extremely bright, trailing objects if they are not carefully built.

Astronomers have just recently commented on the glare emanating from the BlueWalker-3 experimental telecommunications satellite.

With its 64 square meter (690 square foot) antenna, this spacecraft can make direct phone calls from its orbit. According to the astronomers, BlueWalker-3 might occasionally show up as one of the ten brightest objects in the whole sky.

Concerns regarding the traffic management of big satellite populations are added to reservations about interference.

Debris from several collisions in crowded space could limit what can be done on orbit by anybody.

Mr. Bezos is working on other space projects, Kuiper being one among them. The millionaire Amazonian also owns another business, Blue Origin, which has begun transporting “tourists” in a rocket and capsule system known as New Shepard to great altitudes above the planet.

Along with plans for a commercial space station to be flown in Earth orbit and an astronaut landing ship for the Moon, Blue Origin is also developing a far larger vehicle called New Glenn.

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