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Jeff Bezos Joins Satellite Internet Race

Rocket Launch
Jeff Bezos speeding up Project Kuiper to join the satellite internet race. Credit: NASA HQ PHOTO / Flickr / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Amazon’s founder, Jeff Bezos, has set his sights on the sky. On Friday, he sent two test satellites into space as part of his big space project, known as Project Kuiper.

Bezos has big plans. He wants to send over 3,200 spacecraft into space soon. The purpose of this is to provide internet access to every corner of the world, reported BBC. His goal is to compete with Elon Musk’s Starlink, which already offers satellite internet in many countries.

On Friday, two small satellites named KuiperSat-1 and KuiperSat-2 took off to test the required technology. They hitched a ride to space on an Atlas-5 rocket, reaching an orbit about five hundred kilometers (310 miles) above the Earth.

This space journey occurred at 2:00 PM EDT (6:00 PM GMT) from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida, according to BBC.

Jeff Bezos’ Project Kuiper Began in 2018

Amazon began work on Project Kuiper, a huge ten billion dollar (£8 billion) space project, in 2018.

The main goal of this project is to get into the fast-growing market for super-speedy internet, which offers a connection without long delays. Instead of using cables in the ground, this kind of internet travels through the sky using satellites.

Elon Musk’s company, SpaceX, is leading the way in this field. They already have more than 4,800 working satellites in orbit.

Another company called Eutelsat OneWeb, based in the UK, also has a bunch of satellites— 620 of them to be exact. However, there are more and more companies attempting to get into this. Canada, the EU, China, and even some US companies have plans of launching their own satellite internet projects.

License Demands Full Roll-Out of Kuiper System by July 2029

Amazon attained permission from the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to use the radio waves they needed. However, there are rules. They have to put at least half of the Kuiper system in space by July 2026, and the whole thing must be up and running by July 2029, according to BBC.

To meet this tight deadline, Amazon needs to launch a whole lot of rockets quite quickly. They have made deals with rocket companies for nearly a hundred launches.

However, there is a potential problem. Most of these launches are planned on rockets that have not been used before. Occasionally, new rocket systems can be confronted with issues on their first attempt. If this happens, it could slow down Amazon’s timeline in getting Kuiper working.

Much like with other big satellite networks, there is concern that the Kuiper satellites might cause problems for astronomers. With so many satellites in orbit, this could make it harder for astronomers to study the universe with telescopes.

If these satellites aren’t designed carefully, they can be really bright and leave streaks of light in the sky. This is especially the case when the Sun is rising or setting, and this can be tricky.

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