Amazon asks FCC to greenlight its internet satellite plan

Yolanda Curtis
July 11, 2019

On 4 July Amazon asked the FCC permission to launch 3,236 communications satellites.

If approved, Amazon's satellites will be deployed at three different altitudes, 784 satellites at a height of 367 miles, 1,296 more at 379 miles, and 1,156 at 391 miles from Earth's surface.

It's safe to say Amazon likes to set its goals high, so high in fact it has just reached out to the FCC about launching over 3,000 broadband satellites that would cover all of the U.S., and nearly the rest of the populated world.

Finally the company confirms that the satellites will be de-orbited 10 years after launching, to ensure that it will not be accused of further contributing to the debris floating around Earth.

"The Kuiper System will deliver satellite broadband communications services to tens of millions of unserved and underserved consumers and businesses in the United States and around the globe", the permission filing reads.

In the filing, Amazon's wholly owned Kuiper Systems subsidiary cited several studies suggesting that 3.8 billion people across the world still don't have access to reliable broadband services.

Amazon plans to use Ka-band frequencies, like those used by Iridium for interlinks with its latest satellites.

Amazon is moving forward with a plan to launch thousands of satellites into space in order to bring broadband internet service to the almost all of the United States. SpaceX has already launched its first batch of satellites in low Earth orbit for its Starlink broadband constellation. An array of such satellites, in numbers such as those proposed by Amazon will be able to offer continuous, widespread coverage - as when one satellite speeds off out of range there should be one or more to take its place with a stronger signal, and so on.

Kuiper's president, Rajeev Badyal, was previously fired from SpaceX after CEO Elon Musk was unhappy with his progress in creating a satellite-broadband program.

Amazon is not the first company with big satellite ambitions.

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