Project Kuiper pair get launch date
August 8, 2023
By Chris Forrester
The first two Project Kuiper broadband demo satellites are set to launch in September. The two satellites are very much prototypes and will test orbital frequencies and functionality.
“We’ll use findings from the mission to help finalise design, deployment, and operational plans for our commercial satellite system, which will provide reliable, affordable broadband to customers around the world,” says Amazon’s Project Kuiper in a press statement.
The Federal Communications Commission has received a formal filing for a launch on September 26th subject to the usual weather considerations. The two craft will be carried aloft on an Atlas 5 rocket. They are targeting an orbit of 500 kms altitude.
The two Kuiper prototypes were initially set to launch on an ABL Space Systems RS1 rocket, but were then moved to the all-new United Launch Alliance’s Vulcan Centaur rocket’s first flight. With the continued delays of the Vulcan, Amazon started looking at other options and it appears that they’ve decided to use one of the nine Atlas V’s launches they’ve purchased.
United Launch Alliance have contracts from Project Kuiper to provide an overall 47 launches for the constellation. Kuiper also has launch contracts with Arianespace and the Jeff Bezos-backed Blue Origin fleet.
Kuiper has permission to launch 3,236 satellites.