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Amazon ramps up Kuiper mega-constellation

December 19, 2019

Amazon’s massive Project Kuiper scheme to launch 3236 satellites into a mega-constellation serving the plant with a low-latency broadband service is moving ahead rapidly.

In a blog the company said it was renovating two huge factories in Redmond, Washington States, measuring 219,000 sq.ft. and which will contain Research & Development space, prototype manufacturing as well as design and office space. Staff will start moving in next year.

“We are leasing and renovating a long-term home for the Kuiper team…which will become Kuiper’s primary headquarters for research & development, as well as its primary prototype manufacturing and qualification facility,” said the company statement.

Amazon is obliged to launch its first satellites as part of the constellation by early 2026 in order to hold onto operating frequencies.

The company stated its Project Kuiper had made “significant progress towards our goal to serve tens of millions of people who lack basic access to broadband internet.”

Amazon’s statement added: “Amazon Kuiper’s R&D and prototype manufacturing facility is just the latest investment from Amazon in the Puget Sound Region – since 2010, we’ve invested more than $38 billion in the Greater Seattle Area, including infrastructure and compensation. In less than a decade, we’ve created more than 53,000 jobs in the region and we estimate that our investments have contributed to the creation of an additional 244,000 jobs on top of our direct hires. Kuiper is another large initiative for us and our commitment to this project will of course result in further investments by Amazon in infrastructure and compensation.”

Amazon joins SpaceX, OneWeb and others in a race for broadband-by-satellite domination. Although later to start than its major rivals, Amazon might well have a considerable advantage in that it already has trading relationships with millions of users via its Amazon delivery services as well as wireless speaker users, as well as commercial and business relationships via Amazon Web Services.

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