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Back in April 2019 Amazon signaled its intention to get into the internet satellite business. Following in the footsteps of SpaceX and their Starlink satellite system, Amazon intends to launch thousands of internet satellites in the coming years. Now that they’ve filed their application with the FCC, we have more details of their plan.
Amazon is calling their system Project Kuiper, and they mean business. According to the application to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC,) they want to put 3,236 broadband satellites into orbit. This pales in comparison to SpaceX’s Starlink system, which seeks to put almost 12,000 satellites into orbit in the next few years. But it’s still a massive venture.
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In their FCC filing for Project Kuiper, Amazon says that there are almost 4 billion people in the world who don’t have access to reliable broadband internet. They mean to help fill that gap in global service with their ambitious project.
Where Will We Fit All These Satellites?
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If that sounds like a lot of satellites, you’re right. There are about 5,000 satellites in orbit around Earth right now, (though only about 2,000 are active) and these constellations of satellites from SpaceX and Amazon will boost that number upwards of 20,000, including all the other satellites being launched monthly by governments and companies around the world.
There’s more than just physical space to be managed and allotted to Amazon, SpaceX, and other satellite internet providers. They have to share broadcast spectrum space, too.
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Project Kuiper’s satellites will operate in the Ka band radio frequencies. These are the same ones used by satellite phone company Iridium, among others. There are established procedures for companies to share frequencies without interfering with each other.
On a down note, Amazon says their system won’t provide coverage to the entire globe. If you’re too far north, like Alaska, or too...
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