Space

Amazon and ABL Space Systems to join hands for Project Kuiper’s first satellites next year

TAMPA, FLORIDA – ABL Space Systems, a rocket maker has signed a multi-launch deal with Amazon. In 2022, the company desires to launch two prototype satellites as part of Kuiper broadband mega-constellation.

Activities by Amazon and ABL Space Systems

By the fourth quarter of 2022, ABL Space Systems hopes to have the KuiperSat-1 and Kuiper-Sat-2 prototypes in low Earth orbit (LEO). It will use its RS1 small launch vehicle, which is scheduled to debut later this year.

For the test spacecraft, Amazon filed an experimental license application with the Federal Communications Commission on November 1st. This will not be included in Project Kuiper’s operational network of around 3,200 broadband satellites.

KuiperSat-1 and KuiperSat-2, according to an Amazon executive, will be intended for “atmospheric demise.” This will allow them to be actively de-orbited after a test trip, which should take less than two years.

Announcements by Amazon in the past

  • Project Kuiper will provide speeds comparable to those available on terrestrial broadband networks.
  • Amazon claimed last year that its client terminal antenna prototype could deliver speeds of up to 400 Mbps (Megabits per second) and that performance would improve in future generations.
  • The KuiperSat-1 and KuiperSat-2 phased array and parabolic antennas will be prototypes of the final design.

Under the terms of its license, Amazon must deploy half of its Project Kuiper constellation by July 2026 and the balance by July 2029.

“Any learning from KuiperSat-1 and KuiperSat-2 will be included in our final designs due to our production timetable,” the Amazon official stated.

Project Kuiper will be developed with an initial investment of $10 billion from the corporation. On Nov. 1, he claimed, around 750 individuals will be working on the constellation. Hundreds of more people are expected to join the team in the coming year.

Fundraising Activities

ABL is gearing up for its first RS1 launch, which will take place from Kodiak Island, Alaska, on December 15th.

Despite its paucity of launches, the rocket manufacturer recently secured $200 million in a fundraising round valued at $2.4 billion. The funding comes just seven months after ABL raised $170 million in a $1.3 billion capital round.

ABL intends to use the cash to ramp up RS1 production to reach its 2022 and 2023 launch targets of eight and sixteen launches, respectively.

The unique capabilities of ABL, commitment to clients, and quick development advancement have been really impressive. Also, RS1 offers the right capacity including cost-effectiveness to cope up with the mission profile, said an Amazon executive.

Amazon intends to finish an initial fit check with ABL for KuiperSat-1 and KuiperSat-2, which will launch from the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida, early next year.

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