Amazon will launch two Project Kuiper test satellites in space on Friday, October 6. The pair of satellites, called KuiperSat-1 and KuiperSat-2, will be launched into space aboard United Launch Alliance’s (ULA) Atlas V rocket as part of Amazon’s Internet satellite initiative.
The launch It will take off from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida, and the two-hour launch window will open at 2 p.m. ET. According to the Project Kuiper team, the Atlas V rocket will deploy the two satellites to an altitude of 311 miles, where they will enter low Earth orbit.
From there, the Kuiper Project team will carry out several tests to establish first contact with the satellites, as well as deploy solar panels to generate energy. Once the satellite system is connected to the Internet, the equipment will attempt to send information between the satellites and a client terminal here on Earth. Amazon says it will “actively deorbit” the satellites at the end of the mission, leaving them to burn up in Earth’s atmosphere.
“We have conducted extensive testing here in our laboratory and have a high degree of confidence in our satellite design, but there is no substitute for in-orbit testing,” Rajeev Badyal, vice president of technology for Project Kuiper, says in a statement. “This is the first time Amazon has put satellites in space and we are going to learn a lot regardless of how the mission unfolds.”
Despite this setback, Amazon says its first production satellites could still launch in the first half of 2024, with beta testing beginning in late 2024. The company eventually aims to have a constellation of more than 3,200 in Earth orbit. low, putting it on a path to compete with Elon Musk’s Starlink, which currently has more than 4,000 satellites in space.