Project Kuiper gets closer
July 24, 2023
By Chris Forrester
The Amazon-backed Project Kuiper low Earth orbiting (LEO) broadband satellite system moved a major step closer with the establishment of a satellite processing and test facility in Florida.
Kuiper is investing $120 million in a 100,000 sq ft factory which is being built near the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida. Kuiper received its FCC licence in July 2020.
Project Kuiper calls for at least 3,236 LEO satellites to be launched and providing broadband coverage to the whole planet. It will be a direct competitor to Elon Musk’s fast-growing Starlink service. Kuiper’s satellites will operate at heights between 590 and 630 kms.
The Kuiper satellites will be built at Amazon’s primary factories in Redmond and Kirkland, Washington State. Kirkland is said to be producing five satellites per day. Upon completion, they will be shipped to Florida for final testing and integration into their rockets.
Business news channel CNBC quotes Steve Metayer, Amazon’s VP/Kuiper Production Operations, as confirming that the facility has commenced building and which will be ready to receive satellites in H2/2025). Project Kuiper’s own website says it expects it to start providing broadband services by the end of 2024.
“I am thrilled that Amazon is the first major tenant to locate [at the Florida Launch & Landing Facility],” Frank DiBello, CEO of Space Florida, told CNBC. “It’s a testament to the fact, though, that we view the whole state as an ecosystem supporting space.”
Kuiper is expected to launch the first couple of prototype test satellites later in 2023.