Amazon will send its first two Project Kuiper internet satellites into space in early 2023.
Amazon wants to launch a constellation of internet satellites in earth Orbit through Project Kuiper. The company initially planned to launch by the end of this year with rocket startup ABL Space Systems. The prototype satellites were a component of Amazon’s Kuiper system that would beam the internet to stations on the ground.
According to a recent statement, the Kuipersat-1 and Kuipersat-2 prototypes will be sent into orbit on a Vulcan Centaur rocket from the United Launch Alliance (ULA) at the start of 2023.
ULA’s partnership with Amazon
Amazon has partnered with many spaceflight businesses to assist Project Kuiper, including ULA. By partnering with Amazon, ULA gains a stronghold in the competitive commercial satellite market led by SpaceX. Amazon intends to take on SpaceX by launching a constellation of 3,236 satellites over the next five years.
Amazon stated earlier this year that its agreement with ULA extends beyond satellite deployments to include manufacturing and launch facilities. According to the company, ULA is creating two parallel launch lanes at the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.
In June, US Air Force assistant secretary Frank Calvelli said that getting the ULA’s Vulcan Centaur rocket ready to deploy Pentagon satellites is a national security concern. Calvelli was appointed as the Air Force’s assistant secretary for Space Acquisition and Integration in June. One of his first official journeys was a visit to ULA to supervise its improvements.
ULA is under pressure to get its Vulcan Centaur rocket operational, as the Space Force needs it to launch national security satellites. ULA must launch the rocket twice to demonstrate its dependability before Vulcan can launch its first Defense Department mission, which is planned for the end of 2023.
Amazon’s internet satellite constellation
Project Kuiper has more than 1,000 employees. The group is working hard to support millions of internet clients globally. The 3,236 satellites planned for Amazon’s constellation will need to be launched in the coming years. To maintain its FCC license, Amazon must launch half of its satellites by 2026.
“We’ve already secured 38 Kuiper launches on Vulcan, and using the same launch vehicle for our prototype mission gives us a chance to practice payload integration, processing and mission management procedures ahead of those full-scale commercial launches”, said Rajeev Badyal, the vice president of technology for Project Kuiper.