Amazon announced today that its first two Kuiper satellites, launched into orbit by ULA’s Atlas-5 rocket on October 6, 2023, have worked exactly as planned, thus allowing the company to begin building operational satellites.
With the prototypes’ testing in space now complete, Badyal said Amazon plans to begin building the first production Kuiper satellites in December and launch the first satellites for its network in the “latter part of the first half” of 2024. Badyal emphasized that Amazon wasn’t sure what performance to expect from the prototype satellites, since “you don’t know how well it’s going to work in space.”
“They’re working brilliantly,” Badyal said.
The need of Amazon to start launching lots of satellites next year — in order to meet its FCC license requirements to put half of its 3,000+ constellation in orbit by 2026 — puts great pressure on ULA, Blue Origin, and Arianespace to get their new but as yet unlaunchd rockets operating. All three have big launch contracts with Amazon, but none presently appear to have the capability to meet the demands of those contracts.
On Christmas Eve 1968 three Americans became the first humans to visit another world. What they did to celebrate was unexpected and profound, and will be remembered throughout all human history. Genesis: the Story of Apollo 8, Robert Zimmerman's classic history of humanity's first journey to another world, tells that story, and it is now available as both an ebook and an audiobook, both with a foreword by Valerie Anders and a new introduction by Robert Zimmerman.
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