On October 6, United Launch Alliance carried out the first launch of two prototypes, precursors of Amazon’s megaconstellation dedicated to the global internet: Kuiper.
A third player for the global internet
The project Kuiper was announced in 2019 by Amazon.
Supported by its subsidiary Kuiper Systems LLC, based in Redmond, Washington State, it benefits from an investment of $10 billion from the online commerce giant.
Like the constellations Starlink (of SpaceX) And OneWeb (from the Eutelsat group, recently formed following the merger between the operators Eutelsat and OneWeb), Kuiper’s ambition is to provideInternet very high speed satellite broadband throughout the world, at an affordable price.
In a first phase, its deployment must be done with 3,236 satellites, placed at an altitude of approximately 600 km.
The current goal is to be able to carry out beta testing with the first commercial customers by the end of 2024.
KuiperSat 1 and 2, which were entrusted to the very last launcher Atlas 5 (501)United Launch Alliancemust validate the technologies selected for the full operational Kuiper constellation, including phased array and parabolic antennas, power and propulsion systems, and custom-designed modems.
The launch of the Project Kuiper mission Protoflight intervened on October 6 at 6:06 p.m. UTC, from the military base of Cape Canaveralin Florida.
The two passengers were first placed in an orbit of 486 × 512 km, inclined 30° to the equator.
They then had to reach a low circular orbit 590 km high.
To date, Kuiper Systems has not yet released any photographs of the satellites or artist images.