Amazon ramps up satellite production for Project Kuiper

Amazon reports that it is accelerating satellite production and testing at its new facility in Washington, US, in the lead-up to a first full-scale launch later this year for its Project Kuiper satellite network.

The satellite production facility, which opened in April, serves as the manufacturing hub for the satellites that will make up the company’s low earth orbit constellation.

At approximately 16,000 square metres, the factory includes a variety of custom equipment to manufacture and test space-grade hardware, including liquid nitrogen tanks to quickly cool test chambers to temperatures found in space and robotic arms to calibrate the communications payload onboard each spacecraft.

At peak capacity, Amazon expects that the factory will enable Project Kuiper to build up to five satellites per day. To keep up with that pace, the team says it has invented a customised hardware testing process to reduce the test time from months to days for individual satellites.

The company plans to build and ship more than 3,000 satellites from this new facility to deploy its initial satellite constellation, most of which will be sent to a new processing facility at Kennedy Space Center in Florida, where they’ll be integrated with rocket fairings from Blue Origin, United Launch Alliance (ULA), and SpaceX ahead of launch. The others will ship to the Guiana Space Center in French Guiana, where they’ll launch onboard the Ariane 6 rocket from Arianespace.

The first completed production satellites are expected to be shipped before the end of this summer, with Amazon targeting a first full-scale Project Kuiper mission in Q4 aboard an Atlas V rocket from ULA before ramping up satellite production and deployment into 2025 with the goal of offering services to customers next year.

“Building advanced communications satellites at this scale is incredibly complex, and we want to ensure every Kuiper spacecraft meets our standards for performance, reliability, and safety,” said Steve Metayer, Project Kuiper’s Vice President of Production Operations.

“The progress from the team is so impressive, and we now have the foundational pieces in place to ramp production ahead of a full-scale deployment. We can’t wait to get service to our customers as soon as possible.”

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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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