Project Kuiper, the Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite broadband venture that is being developed by US web giant Amazon, has filed an experimental licence application with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to launch, deploy and operate two prototype satellites. These satellites – KuiperSat-1 and KuiperSat-2 – will allow Project Kuiper to test the communications and networking technology that will be used in its final satellite design, and help to validate launch operations and mission management procedures that will be used when deploying its full constellation.
In order to facilitate the launches, Project Kuiper has sealed an agreement with ABL Space Systems to use its all-new RS1 rocket. The launches will take place at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida by Q3 2022.
TeleGeography notes that the FCC initially granted Amazon approval to deploy and operate a constellation of 3,236 satellites via its Project Kuiper unit on 30 July 2020. Project Kuiper will be authorised to deliver satellite-based broadband services in the US, extending internet access to unserved and underserved households and communities across the country. Amazon has committed to invest at least USD10 billion to support Project Kuiper.