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Thursday, December 2, 2021

Kuiper plan and Amazon’s satellite broadband plan launched

At the top Amazon’s press release this week, Has an incredible image. This is a rocket with the American flag and the Amazon smile on it, flying into the sky. The company officially pushed its business into space, and Jeff Bezos did not even provide ride-hailing services.

Amazon recently announced that by the end of next year, A start-up company called ABL Space Systems Two prototype satellites will be delivered for the Kuiper program, and the company is committed to establishing a low-Earth orbit or LEO satellite constellation that can transmit Internet connections to the earth.Amazon stated that it will eventually deploy 3,236 satellites of this type, which “will provide fast and affordable broadband to unserved and underserved communities around the world.” Becoming a space-based Internet service provider also helps develop the company’s cloud. Computing business Amazon Web Services (AWS) is not bad, Amazon says satellite Will cooperate with Verizon Provide LTE and 5G services to hard-to-reach places.

It’s hard to argue with the idea of ​​getting more people online.In some parts of the world, broadband access Is a human rightBut if you are concerned about Amazon’s growing dominance of everything, then one of the most powerful companies in the world is launching satellites into space and will soon direct global Internet traffic, which seems daunting. In addition, thanks to AWS, new satellite-based Internet services are bound to succeed. As Babak Beheshti, Dean of the School of Engineering and Computing Science at New York Institute of Technology said, Told me last year, “In essence, Amazon will actually become its largest customer, truly injecting momentum into the revenue stream.”

But given the history of telecommunications monopolies on Earth, it may not actually be a bad thing for more companies to join the Internet space race.

“Intensified market competition in the next few years may promote innovation, thereby improving service quality, and ideally, at a more affordable price,” said Mark Bull, vice president of the Internet Society North America, an international advocacy for the open development and use of the Internet organization.

Amazon is not alone in the mission of using satellite constellations to create fast and resilient Internet services. Starlink is a project of SpaceX, Already have more than 1,700 satellites In low-Earth orbit, the company said Approximately 90,000 people The service is currently being tested, and each person pays $99 per month (plus $499 for the satellite antenna) to get the privilege. OneWeb, a British company Come out of bankruptcy a year ago, There are now more than 350 satellites in orbit, Accounting for about half of the total number of constellation plans.

In terms of space things, the idea behind all these services is relatively simple. Ground stations with fiber optic connections transmit the data to the satellite constellation, and then the satellites transmit the data back to the customer. Although it is actually traveling to and from space, the connection speed is also very fast.Kuiper plans to call its prototype Transmission speed up to 400Mbps, Much faster than Average broadband speed in the U.S.. And because the connection comes from the sky, Internet services can be used almost anywhere on the earth, without the need to set up wires on the mountains, the seabed, the tropical rain forest, or any remote areas. Amazon itself may be in a unique position to do this particularly well.

“Providing telecommunications services is more than just launching satellites into space,” Buell said. “Infrastructure needs to be in place on the ground. Amazon has invested heavily in fiber optic cables to connect its data centers-importantly, Amazon is good at logistics and managing more than 3,200 satellites requires logistics.”

On its own, getting more people online is a completely effective goal for Amazon, but again, the company’s ambitions may not stop there. Last year, AWS Complete the construction of six ground stations As part of a new initiative, it aims to make it easier for customers to access and control satellite communications and process satellite data.The business is called AWS Ground StationNaturally, and soon, it looks like Amazon will have its own satellite in orbit, which may inform any services that AWS decides to provide in the future.

However, Amazon launched Project Kuiper not only to sell Internet services to customers, but also to upgrade its AWS products. This is not a scandal. The commercial aerospace industry is still in its infancy and has many benefits in figuring out the basic logistics of putting rockets and satellites into orbit and trying what is possible. This is what Jeff Bezos has been doing since he stepped down as the CEO of the company he founded earlier this year.His space company Blue Origin recently Announced plans to build a “multi-functional business park” Part of the space station is leased out in orbit for commercial use. This habitable satellite may come online when the International Space Station is decommissioned, most likely by the end of this decade.

At the same time, Elon Musk has always stated that he hopes that Starlink’s income will be used to pay for his interstellar spacecraft project and missions to colonize other planets.Billionaire Say in 2019 Space-based broadband services are “a key stepping stone for building a self-sufficient city on Mars and a base on the moon.” Starship has been selected as Vehicles of the Artemis mission, Plans to send humans to the moon as early as 2024.

But neither SpaceX nor Blue Origin will send Amazon’s new satellites into space. It seems that ABL Space Systems, a California-based start-up company, specializes in using cheaper rockets to send smaller payloads into orbit, providing Amazon with bargains. ABL Space Systems, Rocket has not been launched yet, Indicating that it can send nearly 1.5 tons of payload into low-Earth orbit via the RS1 rocket, which is the same as the rocket that will carry the Amazon Kuiper satellite. $12 million per launch. SpaceX Falcon 9 launch Energy consumption of up to 62 million U.S. dollars. And Blue Origin seems to be more focused About sending celebrities into space.

What makes the Kuiper Project and its competitors stand out has nothing to do with who is launching a rocket or going to Mars, or even how Amazon launches new business in space. For many people, the success of these projects may mean the difference between having Internet access and no Internet.Currently, there are at least 21 million Americans No access According to the FCC, high-quality broadband means countless children without access to online educational tools and patients without access to telemedicine—and so on. Therefore, if Amazon wants more people to go online, it will have many benefits for many people. For Amazon, there are many potential new customers.

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