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posted by martyb on Friday April 05 2019, @05:45PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the Will-it-go-round-in-circles?-♫ dept.

Amazon to offer broadband access from orbit with 3,236-satellite 'Project Kuiper' constellation

Amazon is joining the race to provide broadband internet access around the globe via thousands of satellites in low Earth orbit, newly uncovered filings show.

The effort, code-named Project Kuiper, follows up on last September's mysterious reports that Amazon was planning a "big, audacious space project" involving satellites and space-based systems. The Seattle-based company is likely to spend billions of dollars on the project, and could conceivably reap billions of dollars in revenue once the satellites go into commercial service.

It'll take years to bring the big, audacious project to fruition, however, and Amazon could face fierce competition from SpaceX, OneWeb and other high-profile players.

[...] The filings lay out a plan to put 3,236 satellites in low Earth orbit — including 784 satellites at an altitude of 367 miles (590 kilometers); 1,296 satellites at a height of 379 miles (610 kilometers); and 1,156 satellites in 391-mile (630-kilometer) orbits.

In response to GeekWire's inquiries, Amazon confirmed that Kuiper Systems is actually one of its projects.

"Project Kuiper is a new initiative to launch a constellation of low Earth orbit satellites that will provide low-latency, high-speed broadband connectivity to unserved and underserved communities around the world," an Amazon spokesperson said in an emailed statement. "This is a long-term project that envisions serving tens of millions of people who lack basic access to broadband internet. We look forward to partnering on this initiative with companies that share this common vision."

Amazon said the satellites would provide data coverage for spots on Earth ranging in latitude from 56 degrees north to 56 degrees south. About 95 percent of the world's population lives within that wide swath of the planet.

SpaceX and Amazon/Blue Origin have the clear advantage, potentially providing 100% of their own launches. Also, Blue Origin has agreed to launch satellites for Telesat, a competitor.

Filings at ITU.

Also at TechCrunch, CNBC, and Ars Technica.

Previously:
Blue Origin to Provide Multiple Orbital Launches for Telesat
SpaceX Seeks Approval for 1 Million Starlink Ground Stations, Faces Pentagon Audit
SpaceX and OneWeb Clash Over Proposed Satellite Constellation Orbits


Original Submission

Related Stories

Blue Origin to Provide Multiple Orbital Launches for Telesat 1 comment

Telesat signs New Glenn multi-launch agreement with Blue Origin for LEO missions

Canadian fleet operator Telesat has agreed to launch satellites for its future low-Earth-orbit broadband constellation on multiple New Glenn missions, Blue Origin announced Jan. 31.

The agreement, for an unspecified number of launches and satellites, makes Telesat the fifth customer to sign up to use the reusable launcher, which is slated for a maiden flight in 2021.

"Blue Origin's powerful New Glenn rocket is a disruptive force in the launch services market which, in turn, will help Telesat disrupt the economics and performance of global broadband connectivity," Telesat CEO Dan Goldberg said in a news release.

Blue Origin already has eight other New Glenn missions in backlog: one each for Paris-based Eutelsat, Sky Perfect JSAT of Japan and Thai startup Mu Space, plus five launches for low-Earth-orbit megaconstellation company OneWeb.

SpaceX's Starlink constellation would compete with Telesat's low Earth orbit broadband offering. Perhaps that factored into the choice of Blue Origin as launch provider.

New Glenn rocket.

Related: Blue Origin to Compete to Launch U.S. Military Payloads
Blue Origin Wins Contract to Supply United Launch Alliance With BE-4 Rocket Engines
The Military Chooses Which Rockets It Wants Built for the Next Decade
Blue Origin Starts Construction of Rocket Engine Factory in Alabama


Original Submission

SpaceX Seeks Approval for 1 Million Starlink Ground Stations, Faces Pentagon Audit 15 comments

SpaceX seeks FCC OK for 1 million satellite broadband Earth stations

SpaceX is seeking US approval to deploy up to 1 million Earth stations to receive transmissions from its planned satellite broadband constellation.

The Federal Communications Commission last year gave SpaceX permission to deploy 11,943 low-Earth orbit satellites for the planned Starlink system. A new application from SpaceX Services, a sister company, asks the FCC for "a blanket license authorizing operation of up to 1,000,000 Earth stations that end-user customers will utilize to communicate with SpaceX's NGSO [non-geostationary orbit] constellation."

The application was published by FCC.report, a third-party site that tracks FCC filings. GeekWire reported the news on Friday. An FCC spokesperson confirmed to Ars today that SpaceX filed the application on February 1, 2019.

If each end-user Earth station provides Internet service to one building, SpaceX could eventually need authorization for more than 1 million stations in the US. SpaceX job listings describe the user terminal as "a high-volume manufactured product customers will have in their homes."

SpaceX and OneWeb Clash Over Proposed Satellite Constellation Orbits 6 comments

SpaceX's Starlink satellite lawyers refute latest "flawed" OneWeb critique

After years of relentless legal badgering from internet satellite constellation competitor OneWeb, SpaceX's regulatory and legal affairs team appears to have begun to (in a professional manner) lose patience with the constant barrage.

On February 21st, SpaceX published a withering refutation of OneWeb's latest criticism that offered a range of no-holds-barred counterarguments, painting the competitor – or at least its legal affairs department – as an entity keen on trying to undermine Starlink with FCC-directed critiques based on flawed reasoning, false assumptions, misinterpretations, and more. Alongside a number of memorable one-liners and retorts, legal counselors William Wiltshire and Paul Caritj and SpaceX executives Patricia Cooper and David Goldman openly "wonder whether OneWeb would be satisfied with SpaceX operating at any altitude whatsoever."

In late 2018, SpaceX filed a request with the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) that would allow the company to significantly modify parts of its Starlink satellite constellation license, cutting 16 spacecraft from the original total of 4425 and moving Phase 1's now-1584 satellites from an operating altitude of ~1100-1300 km (680-810 mi) to just 550 km (340 mi). Aside from further reducing the latency of communications, SpaceX also argues that "the principal reason" behind lowering the operational altitude of the first ~37% of Starlink satellites was "to [further] enhance the already considerable space safety attributes of [the] constellation."

[...] [There] is a great deal more irony to be found in OneWeb's attempt to block SpaceX from lowering the orbit of its first ~1600 satellites. In 2017 and 2018, the company repeatedly complained to the FCC about the fact that SpaceX's Starlink constellation was to nominally be placed in orbits from ~1100-1300 km, effectively sandwiching OneWeb's own ~1200 km constellation. OneWeb continues to demand an unreasonable level of special treatment from the FCC, hoping that the commission will allow it to establish a sort of buffer zone extending 125 km above and below its own constellation, basically demanding that a huge swath of low Earth orbit be OneWeb's and OneWeb's alone. In reality, this is likely nothing more than a thinly veiled anti-competitive tactic, in which success would almost entirely bar other prospective space-based internet providers from even considering the same orbit.

Starlink and OneWeb satellite constellations.

Related: Competing Communications Constellations Considered
Airbus and OneWeb Begin Building Satellites for Internet Constellation
FCC Authorizes SpaceX to Provide Broadband Satellite Services
U.S. Air Force Awards SpaceX $28.7 Million to Study Military Applications of Starlink
Blue Origin to Provide Multiple Orbital Launches for Telesat
SpaceX Seeks Approval for 1 Million Starlink Ground Stations, Faces Pentagon Audit


Original Submission

Relativity Space Selected to Launch Satellites for Telesat

Relativity Space announces first launch contract, and it's a big one

The ambitious rocket company Relativity announced its first customer on Friday, the global satellite operator Telesat. The contract for flights on the Terran 1 rocket includes "multiple" launches, but Relativity chief executive Tim Ellis said he could not provide additional details.

[...] Relativity considers this a huge win because it offers another validation of its—and really, this is not an exaggeration—revolutionary approach to launch. The company aspires to use large 3D printers to manufacture nearly the entirety of a rocket, thereby automating the process and taking another step toward low-cost, launch-on-demand service. It's one thing for a private company to build a new rocket to launch small satellites, it's another to try and remake the manufacturing process as well.

Ellis said Telesat has been in discussions with Relativity for awhile, so the satellite operator has had good access to Relativity's launch technology. After this due diligence, Telesat chose Relativity in addition to previous deals with SpaceX, Arianespace, and Blue Origin. Effectively, Telesat has decided that Relativity's Terran 1 booster, with a capacity of 1.25 tons to low Earth orbit, has the right stuff to help launch a major low Earth orbit satellite constellation that will provide global broadband connectivity.

Previously: Relativity Space Leases Land at NASA's Stennis Space Center in Mississippi
Aerospace Startup Making 3D-Printed Rockets Now Has a Launch Site at America's Busiest Spaceport
Blue Origin to Provide Multiple Orbital Launches for Telesat

Related: Amazon Planning its Own Satellite-Based Broadband Service, with 3,236 Satellites in Low Earth Orbit


Original Submission

SpaceX's First Dedicated Starlink Launch Set for May; Amazon Hired SpaceX Execs for Project Kuiper 7 comments

SpaceX's first batch of operational Starlink satellites will launch no earlier than May 2019:

SpaceX has announced a launch target of May 2019 for the first batch of operational Starlink satellites in a sign that the proposed internet satellite constellation has reached a major milestone, effectively transitioning from pure research and development to serious manufacturing.

R&D will continue as SpaceX Starlink engineers work to implement the true final design of the first several hundred or thousand spacecraft, but a significant amount of the team's work will now be centered on producing as many Starlink satellites as possible, as quickly as possible. With anywhere from 4400 to nearly 12,000 satellites needed to complete the three major proposed phases of Starlink, SpaceX will have to build and launch more than 2200 satellites in the next five years, averaging 44 high-performance, low-cost spacecraft built and launched every month for the next 60 months.

[...] According to SpaceX filings with the FCC, the first group of operational satellites – potentially anywhere from 75 to 1000 or more – will rely on just one band ("Ku") for communications instead of the nominal two ("Ku" and "Ka"), a change that SpaceX says will significantly simplify the first spacecraft. By simplifying them, SpaceX believes it can expedite Starlink's initial deployment without losing a great deal of performance or interfering with constellations from competitors like OneWeb.

Amazon's planned 3,236-satellite broadband constellation, Project Kuiper, is being developed by former SpaceX employees:

Amazon's satellite internet plan is increasingly looking like the one Elon Musk has at SpaceX, with thousands of spacecraft that are compact in size. Among the reasons for the similarities, people tell CNBC, is that Jeff Bezos has hired some of Musk's previous senior management.

Former SpaceX vice president of satellites Rajeev Badyal and a couple members of his team are now leading Amazon's Project Kuiper, people familiar with the situation told CNBC.

[...] Badyal previously ran the "Starlink" division at SpaceX, which launched its first two test satellites last year. [...] Musk fired Badyal in June, one of the people said, confirming reports last year that the SpaceX CEO had become frustrated with the pace of Starlink's development. That was about four months after the launch of the first two Starlink test satellites. According to FCC documents, Starlink will become operational once at least 800 satellites are deployed.

Previously: SpaceX CEO Elon Musk Fired Managers and Employees in June to Shake Up Starlink Project
SpaceX Seeks Approval for 1 Million Starlink Ground Stations, Faces Pentagon Audit
SpaceX and OneWeb Clash Over Proposed Satellite Constellation Orbits

Related: Relativity Space Selected to Launch Satellites for Telesat


Original Submission

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  • (Score: 3, Funny) by TheFool on Friday April 05 2019, @05:59PM (8 children)

    by TheFool (7105) on Friday April 05 2019, @05:59PM (#825034)

    Anyone got any land for sale north of 56 degrees? I thought I'd moved far enough north, but I see that I need to keep going.

    • (Score: 2) by Runaway1956 on Friday April 05 2019, @06:12PM (4 children)

      by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Friday April 05 2019, @06:12PM (#825047) Homepage Journal

      Well, it's not my land, but there's some nice lake front property at Great Beat Lake. 65.7°, -122.2°

      --
      Let's go Brandon!
      • (Score: 2) by Runaway1956 on Friday April 05 2019, @06:13PM (2 children)

        by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Friday April 05 2019, @06:13PM (#825048) Homepage Journal

        Great BEAR Lake. I don't know where Great Beat lake might be . . .

        --
        Let's go Brandon!
        • (Score: 1, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 05 2019, @06:16PM (1 child)

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 05 2019, @06:16PM (#825052)

          Trump is going to rename Lake Michigan in honor of Kanye. Great Beat Lake.

          • (Score: 1, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 05 2019, @06:58PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 05 2019, @06:58PM (#825070)

            Beats By Dr. Lake and Tim Apple Creek

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 05 2019, @11:29PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 05 2019, @11:29PM (#825179)

        there's some nice lake front property at Great Beat Beet Lake.

        FTFY!

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 05 2019, @06:14PM (2 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 05 2019, @06:14PM (#825050)

      That's dumb. It isn't going to spy on you unless you pay for the privilege.

      • (Score: 3, Interesting) by TheFool on Friday April 05 2019, @06:32PM (1 child)

        by TheFool (7105) on Friday April 05 2019, @06:32PM (#825057)

        I'm not concerned with it spying on me randomly, I just enjoy not having neighbors.

        Lack of broadband is one of the main things that keeps people from moving where I am now. Terrain is the main problem here, and sending it down from the sky would clearly remove that problem if they can do it cheap enough.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 05 2019, @06:38PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 05 2019, @06:38PM (#825061)

          Your ideas are intriguing to me and I would like to subscribe to your newsletter

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 05 2019, @06:40PM (2 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 05 2019, @06:40PM (#825063)

    Lemme guess, all of them launched by Blue Origin?
    Left pocket, meet right pocket...

    • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 05 2019, @06:45PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 05 2019, @06:45PM (#825065)

      Looks like someone (BO) is angling for "Past Performances" so that they can stuff that in responses to government RFPs.

    • (Score: 2) by takyon on Sunday April 07 2019, @05:46AM

      by takyon (881) <takyonNO@SPAMsoylentnews.org> on Sunday April 07 2019, @05:46AM (#825670) Journal

      SpaceX and Starlink are similar, but this would explicitly link Amazon and Blue Origin which could be a big deal.

      --
      [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 05 2019, @09:15PM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 05 2019, @09:15PM (#825129)

    Do we really need 3 different companies launching a combined total of 10,000 satellites?
    I know they can do multiple satellites per launch but still seems wasteful.

    • (Score: 1) by anubi on Friday April 05 2019, @09:27PM

      by anubi (2828) on Friday April 05 2019, @09:27PM (#825134) Journal

      I welcome ANY alternatives to what we have now.

      --
      "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good." [KJV: I Thessalonians 5:21]
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 06 2019, @12:34AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 06 2019, @12:34AM (#825206)

    i'm not a huge fan of amazon but shut up and take my money. the "broadband" ISPs that service/gouge rural areas are completely intolerable. my internet is overpriced and shit-tastic. hurry up and launch already.

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