A serious competitor to Starlink is set

Amazon’s satellite internet will be available to customers in 2024.
(photo: Amazon)

TOAmazon’s communications satellites on the project Kuiper will be out soon in orbit. The first prototypes will bcome ready pin the coming months, and yesterday the company officially announced its intention to launch full-fledged satellites in the first half of 2024. The commercial trials will start soon after.

Amazon intends to compete with SpaceX’s Starlink, which already has thousands of satellites above Earth. According to Reuters sources, Amazon’s satellite division will start mass production later this year – the first batch of a constellation that will exceed 3,000 units in the next few years.

“We will definitely be beta testing with commercial customers in 2024,” senior vice president Dave Limp confirmed the company’s plans during a press conference in Washington.

According to the decision by US regulators, Amazon must put half of all 3,236 satellites into orbit by 2026. The company intends to launch three to five satellites a day, Limp said.

Amazon is expected to invest about $10 billion in the Kuiper Network and launch several prototypes this year aboard the new United Launch Alliance (ULA) rocket.

In addition, the company is preparing ground terminals to work with its satellites. The standard 11-inch square antenna option will cost less than $400 and provide data transmission at speeds up to 400 Mbps. The compact 7-inch terminal will be the most affordable option, although Amazon has not yet revealed its price.

Finally, the most powerful terminal (48×76 cm), intended for corporate and other large customers, will provide speeds of up to 1 Gb/s – enough to download a full-length, high-definition movie in about 30 seconds.

By comparison, Starlink’s consumer terminals cost $599, and today more than a million customers use SpaceX’s satellite communications.

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