June 21, 2024

Amazon’s first satellite tv for pc launch was a hit, in keeping with United Launch Alliance. The aerospace producer’s Atlas V rocket took the primary two Undertaking Kuiper satellites to low Earth orbit on Friday. The mission, which is called Protoflight, lifted off at 2:06PM ET from Cape Canaveral Area Pressure Station in Florida.

Amazon has been engaged on Undertaking Kuiper, its Starlink-esque web satellite tv for pc initiative, for fairly a while. It beforehand deliberate to launch the prototypes by the tip of final 12 months.

The corporate sees Protoflight as a key studying alternative, giving it the possibility to report real-world (or, extra precisely, offworld) information from house and add that to findings from lab and discipline testing. Amazon expects to realize extra perception into how the community will carry out throughout floor and house. That is additionally a check of satellite tv for pc processing, launch and mission operations. As soon as the mission is over, Amazon will actively deorbit each satellites earlier than they fritter away within the environment.

“We’ve achieved in depth testing right here in our lab and have a excessive diploma of confidence in our satellite tv for pc design, however there’s no substitute for on-orbit testing,” Rajeev Badyal, Undertaking Kuiper’s vice chairman of expertise, mentioned. “That is Amazon’s first time placing satellites into house, and we’re going to be taught an unbelievable quantity no matter how the mission unfolds.”

Amazon says the intention of Undertaking Kuiper is to supply quick and inexpensive broadband to unserved and underserved communities internationally. It plans to deploy greater than 3,200 satellites over the subsequent six years after it obtained FCC approval, and the KuiperSat-1 and KuiperSat-2 prototypes are the primary iterations. It expects to launch manufacturing satellites within the first half of 2024 and begin beta assessments with some prospects by the tip of subsequent 12 months.

In the event you missed the launch, you may watch a replay of the livestream beneath. The rocket launches at round 26:05 into the video.

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