• Matthew Spencer - Tech Journalist

Amazon's previous plan for Kuiper still on paper: New plan for 7,774 satellite launch

The journey of Amazon is quite remarkable. From a business that started selling books online to a trillion-dollar empire supporting entrepreneurship to a whole different level. Who thought a visionary mindset would change the world to the state it is today?

Empowered by modern technology, science fiction came out of novels to everyday life. It was a giant leap for humankind for drawing footsteps on the moon, and now we are processing steps towards colonising mars. But that's still a long shot, and in the meantime, these large businesses are exploring the satellite techs.

SpaceX already has 1,700 satellites in different altitudes and thousands more to deploy. On the other hand, with the "Kuiper" project, Amazon had the approval to send 3,236 satellites to orbit space. But before deploying or showing signs to deploy them, they are planning to expand the permission with a large number of sats. Amazon wants to send 7,774 satellites in orbit for getting a hands-on wireless broadband connection.

By late 2022, Amazon plans to send the first two prototype satellites in orbit to support the Project Kuiper satellite broadband constellation. The initial plan was to deploy 3,236 birds into low Earth orbit, but the number expanded to 7,774 by 2029. Of course, we were on the verge of a crowded orbit sooner or later. But the scale is turning out quite massive, as Kuiper's second-generation constellation application said so.

The Kuiper-V System will consist of (PDF) V and Ku-band frequencies among five altitudes between 590 km and 650 km. They will also include two polar shells for providing a high-speed internet connection. Similar to Starlink satellites, they are supposed to provide low cost and low latency broadband services.

The initial plan of SpaceX's Starlink satellite was to provide wireless high-speed internet in remote areas where it was too costly to build antennas (in some cases impossible) and provide wired broadband connections. Kuiper is moving forward with a similar goal, but they are trying to expand allowed numbers without deploying the test batch.

Amazon and SpaceX are trying to build the most extensive private satellite network, resulting in legal fights. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is not unfamiliar with this type of rivalry, but it is pretty interesting. Amazon is trying its best to push back SpaceX behind its schedule. FCC officials received trouble reminder notes caused by Musk regarding regulations by Amazon. It's quite messy in our opinion, but competition brings out the best products so we will have to wait a few more years to see them in proper action.

In Q2 2022, two test satellites will be launched by Amazon to test broadband capabilities. It will give stats on the measures and calculations of how far off their numbers are in terms of newer opportunities. Vice president of technology for Kuiper project Rajeev Badyal said, "there is no substitute for in-orbit testing, and we expect to learn a lot given the complexity and risk of operating in such challenging environment."

Nevertheless, Boeing also approved launching 147 satellites to provide data services in several states, along with the UK government-backed One Web approval for 648 satellites. They are not the only players looking for space real estate. Astra applied for the license of launching 13,620 satellites and will be "supported by a global network of gateway earth stations." The sky may seem pretty clear day and night as the satellites are quite far from us. But if we view satellite data, tons of them are already in existence, and the plans are still ongoing to crowd the space. We all are looking forward to upcoming technology, but we also have to think about space junk and privacy.