It seems that Amazon’s Project Kuiper, which plans to deploy a network of satellites in Earth’s orbit to provide Internet access, is facing new challenges. Amazon had planned to launch two prototype satellites into space this summer, but likely won’t be able to do so as Amazon’s project partner United Launch Alliance (ULA) is forced to reschedule the launch of its Vulcan Centaur rocket to the end of the year.
A few days ago, ULA announced that the company would need more time to get the Vulcan Centaur launch vehicle ready for flight. Recall that the previous rocket launch, which took place in March of this year, ended in an explosion. The carrier launch delay is bad news for Amazon, which had planned to start testing the operation of the first telecommunications satellites as part of the Project Kuiper project. Note that Amazon originally wanted to launch in the fourth quarter of 2022, but in October postponed it to the first quarter of 2023 due to problems with the launch vehicle.
Amazon has not yet announced when an attempt to launch the first telecommunications vehicles into orbit as part of this project, which the company originally planned to complete before the end of 2024, could take place. It is assumed that the first customers will start using satellite Internet by the end of 2024. The company currently has approval from the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to launch 3,000 satellites. At the same time, the license of the regulator implies that by July 30, 2026, half of the devices of the Project Kuiper group will be put into operation. Otherwise, Amazon risks losing the license.
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