Amazon confirms successful operation of initial Project Kuiper satellites

Amazon has confirmed that it has validated all systems and subsystems on board its first two prototype Project Kuiper satellites, launched from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida, US, last month.

Early tests to validate the architecture and design of the satellite constellation involved demonstrations of video streaming and two-way video calls over the network, which the company says were completed successfully.

End-to-end network functionality was examined by sending data traffic in both directions from the internet over an AWS fibre-optic connection to an Amazon ground gateway station, up to the satellites, and then down to a customer terminal.

In a first demonstration, testers logged into an Amazon Prime account, searched for a product, added it to the cart, and then checked out. In a second demonstration, they logged into Prime Video, searched for the movie ‘A Million Miles Away’, and then streamed it as ultra-high definition (UHD) 4K video.

In a third demonstration, the team conducted a two-way video call over Amazon Chime between their test site in Texas and the mission operations centre in Washington, testing latency levels and ‘full duplex’ performance, with antennas simultaneously sending and receiving data.

Following this initial testing, Amazon says that Project Kuiper is on track to begin mass satellite production ahead of a full-scale deployment starting in the first half of 2024, before entering beta testing with select customers later in the year.

“Kuiper was an idea on a piece of paper a few years ago, and everything we’ve learned so far from our Protoflight mission validates our original vision and architecture,” said Rajeev Badyal, Vice President of Technology for Project Kuiper.

“We still have a lot of hard work ahead, and scaling for mass production won’t be easy. To get these results on your very first mission though—and so quickly after launch—is an incredible feat, and it’s only possible because of the expertise and dedication of our team here at Amazon.”

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Rob O'Dwyer

Rob is Chief Network Officer and one of the founders of Smart Maritime Network. He also serves as Chairman of the Smart Maritime Council. Rob has worked in the maritime technology sector since 2005, managing editorial for a range of leading publications in the transport and logistics sector. Get in touch by email by clicking here, or on LinkedIn by clicking here.

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