Amazon to test its Kuiper satellite internet services in 2024

The company has not put even a single satellite in orbit thus far.
Ameya Paleja
The three designs of customer terminals
The three designs of customer terminals


Amazon plans to test its satellite-based internet services in 2024, Dave Limp, its Senior Vice President of devices and services said at an event on Tuesday. The company which is looking to compete with Elon Musk's Starlink plans to invest $10 billion into this space in the near future.

Like Starlink, Amazon also plans to launch a constellation of low earth orbit (LEO) satellites to provide low-latency internet services around the globe. While Starlink boasts of a constellation of over 4,000 satellites, Amazon's plans for its Project Kuiper consist of a little over 3,200 satellites but not even one has been put into orbit so far.

This status could change in a couple of months, as two test satellites for the project are now ready and have been shipped to Cape Canaveral, Florida in preparation for a launch on May 4, Limp added. Amazon, which also has its own space company, is banking on the debut flight of United Launch Alliance's new Vulcan rocket to put its test satellites into orbit.

Amazon's Project Kuiper

Amazon may have been off to a slow start with its Project Kuiper but is confident to leverage its experience in delivering millions of devices to customers to take the leap in this space. According to a Business Standard report, the company needs to launch at least half of its Kuiper network by 2026 to fulfill a regulatory mandate.

Instead of launching its satellites first, the company has focused its attention on its customer terminals, which were also unveiled by Limp at the event. When compared to Starlink's standard dish, Amazon has invested in three types of terminals to suit the needs of different users.

Amazon to test its Kuiper satellite internet services in 2024
One of Amazon's internet terminal is smaller than the Kindle

The smallest of the three is seven square inches in size, just bigger than a Kindle, while the other devices are 11-inch square and 19-inch square in size. The smallest terminal is equipped to handle speeds of 100 Mbps, with the next in line capable of delivering 400 Mbps and 1 Gbps respectively.

Amazon is not only confident that it can build its terminals for less than $400, the devices are also powered by custom-made chips that combine the processing power of 5G chips, handle traffic from multiple customers at once and support point-to-point communications, the company said on its website.

The company's plans include putting together its constellation next year by launching 3-5 satellites a day and then beta testing its network in 2024.

With another satellite-based service provider OneWeb close to achieving global coverage, the competition in the sector is just warming up.

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