Amazon swaps ride for prototype web satellites launch in early 2023

Amazon swaps ride for prototype web satellites launch in early 2023

Amazon.com Inc. will reportedly launch the first two prototype satellites for a proposed internet-from-space network in early 2023 utilizing a new rocket from the Boeing-Lockheed partnership with United Launch Alliance LLC.

The two Amazon satellites were originally scheduled to launch by the end of this year; however, Amazon was compelled to fly as a backup payload on ULAs new Vulcan rocket due to delays in rocket building with launch startup ABL Space Systems.

This mission, which will be the first orbital launch of a new rocket, is planned for Q1 of 2023 and is intended to compete with Elon Musks SpaceX rockets.

It is worth noting that the prototype internet satellites will launch first in Amazon's Kuiper network, a projected configuration of 3,236 low-Earth orbiting satellites that will provide high-speed internet to the planets remotest areas.

Besides, to catch up to SpaceXs rapidly expanding Starlink network, which is currently providing internet access to thousands of clients in dozens of countries, Amazon has pledged to invest USD 10 billion in the project.

With its partner ULA, the e-commerce giants last-minute decision to switch to the Vulcan rocket will serve as a functional test flight, prior to the 38 upcoming Vulcan missions, it acquired from the launch company in 2021 to aid in the deployment of the majority of its operational satellites.

The launch date for those initial operational satellites has not been disclosed by Amazon. However, US communications regulations mandate that by 2026, the business must have deployed half of its constellation.

Sources stated that the companys other agreement with the startup ABL, which calls for at least two launches, is still in force, though the e-commerce behemoth is unsure what satellites it would use those rockets for.

According to the companys President Dan Piemont, ABL finalized custom work on a launch adapter and other projects for the Kuiper satellites earlier this year.

Source Credit: https://www.channelnewsasia.com/business/amazon-shifts-prototype-internet-satellites-ula-rocket-2023-launch-3004766