Move Over SpaceX. Amazon is planning to launch Thousands of Internet Satellites Too

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In April 2019, Amazon made its intention clear that it is going to enter the internet satellite business. Following the footsteps of Starlink and SpaceX satellite system, Amazon plans to launch thousands of internet satellites in the coming future. They have already filed their application with the FCC.

Amazon is calling its system Project Kuiper, and they are all set to do business. Based on the application to the Federal Communications Commission, they want to put 3,236 broadband satellites into orbit. This pales in comparison to SpaceX’s Starlink system, which aims to put almost 12,000 satellites into orbit in the next coming years. This is one of the biggest ventures.

In their FCC filing for Project Kuiper, Amazon states:

“There are almost 4 billion people in the world who don’t have access to reliable broadband internet. They mean to help fill that gap in global service with their ambitious project.”

Right now there are already 5000 satellites in orbit around the earth. These constellations of satellites from Amazon and SpaceX will increase that number upwards to 20000 including all the other satellites being launched monthly by the governments and companies all around the world.

These satellites will be in Low Earth Orbit which is prime real estate in space. LEO extends up to 2000 km, although strictly speaking, altitudes is not the best way to delineate LEO. The bulk of humanity’s satellites are in LEO, including the Hubble Space Telescope and the International Space Station.

Satellites from Project Kuiper are going to be grouped into 98 different orbital planes. Not just that, but they will also be grouped into two orbital shells: 590 km and 630 km.

There is more than physical space to be managed and allotted to Amazon, SpaceX, and other satellite internet providers. They are required to share broadcast spectrum space too.

Project Kuiper’s satellites are known to operate in the Ka-Band radio frequencies. This is the same one as used by satellite phone company Iridium, among others. There are procedures established by companies to share frequencies without interfering with each other.

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