Amazon's custom Ka-band antenna will deliver less expensive satellite internet2020-12-16 18:07 by Daniela
Tags: Amazon, Ka-band, satellite, Internet
Today, Amazon revealed the design of the antennas its customers will use to tap into the company's upcoming massive satellite constellation, Project Kuiper, designed to provide broadband internet coverage from space.
The $10 billion project, which aims to put more than 3,200 satellites into low Earth orbit, will use an innovative type of phased-array antenna that overlays one set of tiny elements on top of another set, Amazon said today in a blog posting. "This has never been accomplished in the Ka-band," the company said.
The innovation should result in a lightweight, low-cost customer terminal with an antenna that's only 12 inches (30 centimeters) wide. The hardware is being developed primarily at Project Kuiper's research and development facility in Redmond, Wash.
Amazon said it has been field testing the Kuiper antenna "in multiple environments," including "streaming 4K-quality video from a geostationary (GEO) satellite." Geostationary satellites are typically in orbit about 35,000 kilometers from Earth, which Amazon noted is "approximately 50 times farther" than the planned orbit for Kuiper's satellites at about 600 kilometers.
"Project Kuiper is a new initiative to launch a constellation of low Earth orbit satellites that will provide low-latency, high-speed broadband connectivity to unserved and underserved communities around the world," an Amazon spokesperson told GeekWire in April. "This is a long-term project that envisions serving tens of millions of people who lack basic access to broadband internet."
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