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Amazon buys nine Atlas 5 launches for Kuiper broadband constellation

2021-04-19 18:08 by
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Amazon's Project Kuiper satellite constellation is one step closer to actually making it to space: The company announced it has secured an agreement with the United Launch Alliance (ULA) to fly its satellites on nine Atlas V rocket launches.

Amazon is planning to build a so-called constellation of 3,236 satellites in space to bring internet to rural parts of the world that have little to no connectivity. It'll also serve as a major infrastructure boost to its mammoth cloud computing platform, Amazon Web Services. But details on the network have been scant since the Federal Communications Commission approved the company's network for launch in July 2020. The competition is stiff, too: both OneWeb and Elon Musk's SpaceX are also deploying broadband internet networks in low-Earth orbit.

"We're determined to make affordable broadband a reality for customers and communities around the world," Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos said today in a news release. "ULA is a fantastic partner that's successfully launched dozens of missions for commercial and government customers, and we're grateful for their support of Kuiper."

The Kuiper network will beam low-latency Ka-band broadband services to customers between 56 degrees north and 56 degrees south latitude, according to Amazon. Half of the Kuiper network's 3,236 satellites must be launched by mid-2026 for Amazon to maintain network authorization from the Federal Communications Commission.

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