Satellite Internet: Amazon moves forward with Kuiper

Amazon signs an agreement to launch the first satellites of its Kuiper constellation: it will bring broadband Internet everywhere in the world.

Project Kuiper is Amazon's ambitious project to launch into orbit a constellation of more than 3,000 satellites that will have one main purpose: to bring broadband Internet around the world, even where fiber doesn't arrive. It's a project similar to SpaceX's Starlink, a company owned by the well-known billionaire Elon Musk.

But while SpaceX produces in house the rockets it uses to launch satellites (when it succeeds, since they often explode), Amazon doesn't have an internal department dedicated to these space vectors and must turn to external suppliers. Blue Origin, an aerospace company owned by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, produces rocket engines but not complete rockets. For this reason, in recent days, the e-commerce giant has announced that it has entered into an agreement with ULA (United Launch Alliance, a consortium formed by Lockheed Martin and Boeing). Under the agreement, ULA will perform nine launches to carry Amazon's Project Kuiper satellites into orbit with its Atlas V rocket.

Project Kuiper

Amazon's plans to conquer space are very ambitious, but they look fixedly toward Earth: 3.236 satellites in low orbit with all the necessary equipment on board to bring a fast, stable and low-latency connection even in the most remote areas of the world.

Amazon has decided, last summer, to finance this project with 10 billion dollars and has already obtained the authorization from the American Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for the launch of more than three thousand satellites. When they will all be in orbit they will send the signal to the users subscribed to the service.

The users will receive it through a small low cost panel antenna and will be able to enjoy a connection with a maximum speed of 400 Mbps, about half of the theoretical maximum speed of the expensive fiber FTTH (here the differences between fiber FTTC and fiber FTTH).

At the moment Amazon has not yet launched any satellite, but more than anything else for bureaucratic issues: it was waiting for the FCC authorization, which arrived only last summer. When the first Kuiper satellites go live, they will also be used by some phone operators to extend 5G network coverage.