Amazon's Project Kuiper broadband initiative to launch two internet satellites by 2022

Amazon plans to launch a total of 3,236 satellites into orbit in the coming years

Amazon said Monday its "Project Kuiper" project will launch its first two broadband satellites into orbit during the fourth quarter of 2022, setting up a future competition with Elon Musk’s SpaceX and its "Starlink" internet initiative.

The e-commerce giant said its launch of the prototype satellites, dubbed KuiperSat-1 and KuiperSat-2, is "an important step in the development process" that will test its networking technology and provide key information for future launches. Amazon detailed its plans for the launch in an experimental license application with the Federal Communications Commission.

"All of the systems are testing well in simulated and lab settings, and we’ll soon be ready to see how they perform in space," said Rajeev Badyal, vice president of technology for Project Kuiper. "There is no substitute for on-orbit testing, and we expect to learn a lot given the complexity and risk of operating in such a challenging environment."

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Amazon is pictured inside the company's office in Bengaluru, India, April 20, 2018. REUTERS/Abhishek N. Chinnappa/File Photo (Reuters Photos)


Amazon plans to launch a total of 3,236 satellites into orbit in the coming years as part of an initiative it says will "provide low-latency, high-speed broadband connectivity to unserved and underserved communities around the world." The company has committed at least $10 billion in funding toward Project Kuiper. The FCC first authorized the launch plan in July 2020.

Elon Musk Jeff Bezos

FILE - In this March 14, 2019, file photo, Tesla CEO Elon Musk speaks before unveiling the Model Y at the company's design studio in Hawthorne, Calif. In the runup to Tesla Inc.’s 2016 acquisition of SolarCity, Elon Musk called the combination a "no (  / AP Newsroom)

The team working on the prototype satellites will also conduct "experimental tests using prototypes of our low-cost customer terminal," according to Amazon. The satellites will launch from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.

Amazon’s Project Kuiper is a direct competitor to SpaceX’s Starlink, another emerging broadband internet provider. SpaceX officials say the Starlink system will eventually "provide high-speed, low-latency broadband connectivity across the globe, including to locations where internet has traditionally been too expensive, unreliable, or entirely unavailable."

Elon Musk

SN8 rocket: SpaceX SpaceX Chief Engineer Elon Musk speaks in front of Crew Dragon cleanroom at SpaceX Headquarters in Hawthorne, California on October 10, 2019. (Photo: Yichuan Cao/NurPhoto/Getty Images, Background Photo: SpaceX)


Starlink is already conducting an open beta test of its system in 14 countries. SpaceX has received approval to launch about 12,000 satellites.