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Amazon has invested $ 10 billion to compete against SpaceX in broadband satellite



Illustration of the Earth with lines connecting cities to represent a global network.

Getty Images | Yuichiro Chino

Amazon has received U.S. approval to launch 3,236 low-Earth orbit satellites for its planned broadband Project Kuiper service.

An order from the Federal Communications Commission allowing the Amazon application was issued Thursday. Amazon said in a blog post that it will invest more than $ 1

0 billion in the project.

“This investment will create jobs and infrastructure around the United States, build and scale our terrestrial network, speed up satellite testing and production, and let us deliver an affordable customer terminal that will make it fast.” reliable and wide wide, accessible to communities around the world, “Amazon said. Amazon will target areas without good internet service and said that “Project Kuiper will provide high-speed, low-latency service in countries beyond the reach of traditional fiber or wireless networks.”

Planned satellites would orbit at altitudes of 590km, 610km and 630km, allowing much lower latencies than traditional satellite services using geosynchronous orbits of more than 35,000km. That’s similar to SpaceX’s Starlink, but SpaceX goes much further, as it has launched about 600 satellites and is preparing to start beta trials with customers.

Service to start after 578 satellites start

FCC rules give Amazon 6 years to launch and operate 50 percent of licensed satellites, with a deadline of July 30, 2026. Amazon will have to launch the rest of the licensed satellites by July 30, 2029.

Amazon plans to offer broadband to customers “after the first 578 satellites are launched,” the FCC said. Amazon has not said when the service will be available to customers.

FCC approval says Amazon plan would “provide”[e] Continuous coverage for customers within approximately 56 ° N and 56 ° S latitude, thus serving the United States, Hawaii, US territories and other regions of the world. “space-to-ground communications, and 27.5-30.0 GHz for ground-to-space transmissions. The FCC said it granted the license because it would” advance the public interest by authorizing a system set up to increase the availability of high-speed top for consumers, government and businesses “.

Amazon introduced the FCC app in July 2019 – more details on the Amazon plan are available in our app history.

FCC approval includes requirements for orbital waste minimization and collision risk, harmful interference prevention, spectrum separation, and power limits. The design of Kuiper satellites on Amazon is incomplete, so the company will need another FCC approval after submitting a final plan for orbital debris mitigation, collision risk and “accident re-entry risk” . The FCC approval is also conditional on Amazon receiving a “favorable” rating from the International Telecommunication Union to indicate compliance with the energy limits.

In addition to SpaceX, the Amazon Kuiper Project will potentially face competition from low-Earth satellite from OneWeb, which filed for bankruptcy in late March. On 3 July, OneWeb agreed to sell the business to a consortium, including the UK government and Bharti Global Limited. The UK government, which is investing $ 500 million, said, “The agreement will enable the company to complete the construction of a global constellation of satellites that will provide broadband services and other services to countries. worldwide”. OneWeb also has an investment from Hughes, which operates geosynchronous satellites.


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