Blue Origin is preparing to launch a satellite broadband service to rival Starlink.
- Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin company is opening a new 172,000-square-foot plant in Kirkland, Washington, to produce satellites for Project Kuiper.
- Project Kuiper is a program to increase broadband connectivity to remote areas of the planet by launching thousands of satellites into orbit. It was announced in 2019 as a rival to SpaceX’s Starlink.
- The prototype satellites will be launched sometime in 2023 by United Launch Alliance.
- “Amazon plans to launch more than 3,000 satellites into low Earth orbit in order to provide high-speed, low-latency broadband to homes, schools, hospitals, and businesses in places that don’t currently have reliable internet connectivity,” says The Seattle Times.
- “The company’s license with the Federal Communications Commission requires Project Kuiper to have 1,600 satellites in space by mid-2026,” it continues.
Why it’s Important
Space-based broadband services are rapidly becoming the next frontier of innovation for internet service providers. Rival SpaceX has already launched 3,000 satellites as part of Starlink which have been deployed to provide internet connectivity in disaster scenarios like Hurricane Ian and the War in Ukraine.
“The best way to get internet to folks, or to get broadband capability to these communities, is from space,” says Blue Origin VP of technology Rajeev Badyal.
Backing up a Bit
As we previously reported, Blue Origin is coming close to developing a new rocket engine that will allow the company to supply the International Space Station and put astronauts and objects in orbit.
The company did suffer a setback on September 13 when an unmanned New Shepard rocket crashed shortly after takeoff.
With NASA facing numerous challenges and years of delays in its efforts to launch its new Space Launch System, private space is facing a bright future as publicly funded space travel appears to be winding down. Private enterprise is set to define the commercial ambitions of space.