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    Amazon to launch first Kuiper internet satellites in 2024

    To compete with Elon Musk’s SpaceX and other global broadband internet providers, Amazon on Tuesday announced that it will launch its first internet satellites into orbit in the first half of 2024. The company also plans to conduct initial commercial testing soon after.

    Later this year, Amazon’s Project Kuiper satellite internet division will begin manufacturing satellites. These will be the first of more than 3,000 satellites that the internet giant aims to place in low-Earth orbit over the following few years.

    At a conference in Washington, senior vice president of Amazon devices, Dave Limp said, “We’ll definitely be beta testing with commercial customers in 2024.”

    The 2024 deployment deadline would keep Amazon on schedule to meet the regulatory mandate to launch 3,236 Kuiper satellites, or half of its network, by 2026. The business intends to produce “three to five” satellites every day to achieve that objective, according to Limp, who is in charge of Amazon’s consumer products department.

    Amazon sees its experience manufacturing millions of devices from its consumer electronics powerhouse as an advantage over rival SpaceX, the Musk-owned space company whose Starlink network already has about 4,000 satellites in orbit. SpaceX plans to invest more than $10 billion in the Kuiper network.

    Amazon intends to use a new rocket from the Boeing-Lockheed joint venture United Launch Alliance to launch two prototype satellites early this year. It is anticipated that the 2024 launch, which will carry the first batch of manufactured satellites, will be the first of many in a quick deployment campaign using rockets Amazon bought in 2021 and 2022.

    The business also unveiled a trio of terminals, or antennas, on Tuesday that would link clients to its Kuiper spacecraft in orbit.

    Author

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    Anubha Pandey

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