Amazon Plans To Provide Internet Access Via Thousands Of Satellites

Harin - Apr 06, 2019

Amazon Plans To Provide Internet Access Via Thousands Of Satellites

Amazon plans to launch a constellation of 3,236 satellites into low Earth orbit in order to provide internet to “unserved and underserved communities around the world.”

Amazon is planning on launching a constellation consists of 3,234 satellites to low Earth orbit, aiming to equip the “unserved and underserved communities around the world” with internet access.

The project, which is called ProJect Kuiper, was first unveiled after GeekWire detected that Kuiper Systems LLC, in collaboration with the ITU, built three sets of filings. ITU is an international organization coordinating satellite orbits. Amazon later confirmed that Kuiper Systems belongs to its collection of projects.

Amazon is the latest in a series of companies with intention to offer broadband globally with a network of satellites. The difference between traditional satellite internet and these plans is that they involve satellites locating in low Earth orbit, which has lower latencies and can be operated cheaply.

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SpaceX wants to launch a maximum of 12,000 satellites for its Starlink constellation while OneWeb plans on launching 620 satellites. Facebook is reportedly developing its own internet satellite.

Project Kuiper will launch its satellites at 3 different altitudes: 784 ones at 367 miles, 1,296 ones at 379 miles, and 1,156 ones at 391 miles.

These satellites will bring internet access to areas from 56 degree north (the middle of Scotland) to 56 degrees south (below South’s America southernmost tip.) Theoretically, this are takes up 95% of Earth’s population.

When being asked about this, an Amazon spokesperson said:


Amazon hasn’t announced whether it will make its own satellites or a third party will provide them. The decision on how to launch these satellites into orbit has also not been made. Although Jeff Bezos, Amazon CEO, owns Blue Origin, a spaceflight company, a spokesperson confirmed that the company “will, of course, look at all options.”

A system of Earth stations will also be required for the communication of the satellites. In 2018, Amazon introduced a cloud computing service called AWS Ground Station capable of enabling space-to-ground communications.

There are not fixed dates on when the launch of the satellites will be carried out. But before that, the company will need to be approved by the Federal Communications Commission. The FCC will look into issues like how the company will decommission the satellites when its operation ends as well as orbital congestion.

Space junk has been viewed as an alarming concern recently. Last year, NASA suggested that from these mega constellations, in every 100 satellites, 99 will need to go out of orbit once they finish their mission. This is to prevent dangerous junk filling up the space around mother Earth.


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