Amazon Invests $120m In Internet Satellite Facility

Amazon announced on Friday that it will invest $120 million in a satellite construction facility at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center as part of its aspirations to launch a space broadband service similar to SpaceX’s Starlink.

The company founded by Jeff Bezos says its “Project Kuiper” will provide “fast, affordable broadband to unserved and underserved communities around the world,” with a constellation of more than 3,200 satellites in low Earth orbit (LEO).

“We have an ambitious plan to begin Project Kuiper’s full-scale production launches and early customer pilots next year, and this new facility will play a critical role,” said Steve Metayer, vice president of Kuiper Production Operations.

The company plans to open a new production plant in Kirkland, Washington, by the end of this year.

The units will subsequently be sent to Florida for final preparations and integration with rockets from Blue Origin and United Launch Alliance (ULA), both created by Bezos.

SpaceX, led by Elon Musk, launched the first wave of its more than 3,700 operational Starlink satellites in 2019. OneWeb, based in London, is another early player in the developing market.

But governments are also keen to join the rush.

China plans to launch 13,000 satellites as part of its GuoWang constellation, while Canada’s Telesat will add 300 and German start-up Rivada is eyeing 600.

That will be in addition to the European Union’s Iris project — 170 satellites — and the 300-500 satellites planned to be launched by the US military’s Space Development Agency.

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