Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos Kuiper is accelerating his global satellite internet build program and wants to follow Elon Musk’s more advanced Starlink project. Thousands of satellites are in orbit.
Two days after Russia’s attack on Ukraine, Mykhailo Fedorov, Ukraine’s Minister of Digital Transformation, wrote on Twitter that Elon Musk wrote: “While you are trying to colonize Mars – Russia is trying to take Ukraine! As your rockets successfully land from space, Russian missiles attack Ukrainian citizens! Please make Starlink station accessible to Ukraine (…), ”Fedorov wrote.
Elon Musk immediately sent 5,000 people to support Ukrainians whose ground infrastructure was destroyed in the east. terminals. They allowed not only communication, but also … the destruction of Russian tanks. The drones began to receive information about their location through Starlinek.
The war in Ukraine is the first example of the widespread use of new satellite communications. A new era of the Internet begins without geographical, digital and technical restrictions – the Starlink terminal can be powered by car ignition.
Starlink, the undisputed leader in building its own satellite network, already has more than 2,000 in orbit. and provides commercial services – will soon gain a giant competitor.
Amazon, which intends to place in space at an altitude of 590 km from Earth, has more than 3.2 thousand. Internet access devices have announced a contract with three missile companies to launch these satellites. The agreement covers two experienced missile manufacturers: the United Launch Alliance (a new Vulcan Centaur rocket), a joint venture between Boeing and Lockheed Martin, and the European company Arianespace (the new Ariane 6 rocket). In addition, Blue Origin, a company founded by Jeff Bezos, which is still working on the creation of an orbiting rocket (New Glen), will be involved in launching the satellites.
The agreements cover a total of 83 missions over five years, making it the largest commercial deal of its kind in history. All three missiles that Amazon plans to use for these missions are not yet in use, but it is expected to be launched in 2023. Financial details were not disclosed.
Amazing space union of billionaires. Will Branson fly on Musk’s mission?
In an interview with CNBC, Dave Limp, Amazon’s vice president of devices and services, said the contracts alone would cost the company “billions.” He added that the company aims to launch several test satellites into orbit next year. If all goes according to plan, Amazon will deploy at least half of Kuiper by 2026, with more than 1,600 satellites. “But the company can start commercial services with just a few hundred satellites,” Limp said. It is unknown how much the service will cost.
Amazon says the Kuiper project aims to provide high-speed broadband Internet to customers, including households, businesses, government agencies, disaster relief operations, mobile operators and other organizations “working in areas without a reliable internet connection.”
Musk is still the leader
Kuiper will not use the rockets of Elon Musk, the creator of the competing Starlink system, although he already has the appropriate satellite launch equipment, such as the Falcon 9, created by another billionaire company – SpaceX.
Amazon lags behind Starlink. Muska has already launched more than 2,000 orbits. There were 145,000 satellites and Earth in January. Our Internet customer is currently about 250 thousand. (Eventually there will be 30-40 thousand Starlink satellites).
They pay $ 499. terminal and monthly subscription with internet speed from 50 Mb / s to 150 Mb / s with a delay of 20 ms to 40 ms for $ 99. But these parameters are expected to improve in the future and prices will fall. The service has been available in several countries since last autumn, including Poland.
Given the competition between the two business giants, Bezos and Mask, the tense relationship and the fierce competition for contracts with the military and NASA, it can seem quite interesting.
In addition to Amazon and Starlink, other companies are participating in the space internet competition. One of them is the British company OneWeb, which has built a very small tower of 648 satellites in a low orbit of 1,200. miles from the ground. OneWeb uses Ilon Mask’s SpaceX rockets after resigning from Russian services after the start of the war in Ukraine. OneWeb is not as tough a competition for Starlink as Amazon because it targets governments and companies, not ordinary customers.