Project Kuiper: Amazon to launch over 3,000 satellites to offer broadband internet

• Jeff Bezos led Amazon Inc has announced Project Kuiper to provide high speed internet by building network of over 3,236 satellites.

• In this regard, Amazon subsidiary Kuiper Systems LLC with help of US Federal Communications Commission has filed three sets of regulatory filings with International Telecommunications Union (ITU). ITU oversees global telecom satellite operations and allocates designated orbits to satellites.

Project Kuiper

• Under it, Amazon is planning to put constellation of 3,236 satellites in LEO— including 784 satellites at an altitude of 590 kilometers, 1,296 satellites at 610 kilometers and 1,156 satellites in 630-kilometer orbits.

• The constellation of these satellites will provide low-latency, high-speed broadband connectivity to people globally who lack basic access to broadband internet.

• It will provide data coverage for wide swath spots on Earth ranging in latitude from 56 degrees north to 56 degrees south where about 95% of world’s population lives.

• Jeff Bezos’ rocket company Blue Origin also signed deal with Canada’s Telesat to launch satellites of this constellation.

Private Internet Space race

• With this, Amazon joined race to provide broadband internet access around globe via thousands of satellites in LEO. Some of world’s best-known companies already are working for years on plans to provide low cost satellite based internet.

• SpaceX: Elon Musk led company has launched first two prototype satellites for its Starlink broadband data constellation. It aims to put more than 12,000 satellites in LEO to provide internet connectivity.

• OneWeb: It is Airbus-backed and SoftBank Group funded project. It has launched first six broadband satellites launched in February 2019 and plans to put hundreds more in place over the next year or two.

• Telesat: It had put its first prototype broadband satellite in LEO in 2018 and plans to have hundreds more launched to provide first-generation broadband services by early 2020s.

• Other players: Joint venture of Facebook, Boeing and Luxembourg-based LeoSat also have laid out plans for space-based internet access.


Mains Paper 3 : Science and Technology

Prelims level : Project Kuiper

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