Amazon’s new Project Kuiper will bring the internet to space, and will potentially revolutionize the way we communicate with each other. This new Amazon satellite factory will help develop one-third of the world’s low Earth orbit constellation, which will be made up of 3,236 satellites (to put that in perspective, there are currently 1,852 active satellites orbiting our planet.) The Project Kuiper factory will be spread across three floors, totaling over 170,000 square feet of space in Cape Canaveral, Florida.
Amazon said on Thursday that a new facility will be established in a Seattle neighbourhood to produce satellites for Project Kuiper.
Project Kuiper, which Amazon unveiled in 2019, aims to create a network of 3,236 satellites in low Earth orbit to deliver high-speed broadband internet. When the Federal Communications Commission approved the satellite internet system in 2020, Amazon achieved a significant victory.
According to Amazon devices CEO Dave Limp, the company will need to construct one to three satellites “every single day, maybe even a little more than that” in order to reach its goal of launching more than 3,000 satellites into orbit.
We must develop manufacturing skills that are more like to those of the automotive or consumer electronics industries and less like those of the established space business, according to Limp.
Although Amazon has not specified a start date for the Kuiper launch campaign, FCC regulations mandate that the corporation place half of its planned satellites into orbit within six years, or 1,600 by July 2026.
Project Kuiper will reportedly get more than $10 billion in investments from Amazon, which already operates a 219,000-square-foot research and development centre in Redmond, Washington. The Redmond location has created prototypes and helped with the construction of commercial satellites, but according to Amazon, “we need to operate on a much greater scale to execute on our goal for the project.”
The new 172,000 square foot facility will be situated in Kirkland, Washington, a nearby city. According to the firm, more than 200 new employment should be generated in the Puget Sound area.
Amazon will be able to move on to the second stage of its production process because to the increased facility capacity, according to Limp.
Amazon has accelerated construction on its first two prototype satellites, known as KuiperSat-1 and KuiperSat-2, since getting FCC clearance.
In November 2021, Amazon stated that it aimed to launch those prototypes aboard ABL Space’s RS1 rocket in the latter half of 2022. However, Amazon said earlier this month that United Launch Alliance will carry the satellites on their inaugural voyage, pushing back the launch until the beginning of next year.
Amazon’s first two prototype satellites have begun integration and final construction, according to Limp, who added that they “should be finished by the end of Q4.”