Amazon.com has announced that its two prototype satellites for the Kuiper internet network are operating successfully. The company plans to commence mass production of the satellites in the first half of 2024. The Kuiper internet network will serve as a competitor to Elon Musk’s Starlink, which is currently the largest satellite operator in the world.
Within the first 30 days of the launch, Amazon achieved a 100% success rate with the prototype satellites. They have been utilized for two-way video calls and streaming a high-definition film on Prime Video. Early partners, including Vodafone and Verizon, will have the opportunity to beta test the service in the second half of next year.
Although progress is being made, Rajeev Badyal, Vice President of Technology for Project Kuiper, acknowledges that there is still a significant amount of work to be done. The challenge of scaling up for mass production is anticipated.
To meet the criteria set by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission, Amazon is required to deploy more than half of its planned satellite constellation, which totals over 3,000 satellites, by 2026. The company successfully launched its prototype satellites in early October using a United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket. In contrast, Starlink relies on its own in-house SpaceX rockets.
With promising results thus far, Amazon is moving forward with its plans to establish the Kuiper internet network as a competitor in the satellite communications industry.