Amazon announces a $120 million processing facility at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida for its Kuiper internet satellites project, which aims to deploy a network of 3,200 low Earth-orbiting satellites to provide global broadband internet coverage. As part of a roughly $10 billion investment in Kuiper, the facility will employ 50 staff and serve as a last stop for satellite processing before launch, accelerating Amazon’s efforts to deploy half of the network into orbit by 2026.
22 July 2023 – Amazon (AMZN.O) has announced the construction of a state-of-the-art $120 million processing facility at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida to support its ambitious Kuiper project. The 100,000 square-foot facility is part of Amazon’s $10 billion investment in a network of 3,200 low Earth-orbiting satellites, known as Kuiper, designed to provide global broadband internet coverage, competing primarily with Elon Musk’s SpaceX Starlink.
The Kuiper project is a strategic move for Amazon to complement its web services powerhouse and enter the space-based internet market. The Florida facility, scheduled for completion by late 2024, will serve as the final stop for Amazon’s Kuiper satellites before launch into space, following their manufacture at the project’s primary plant in Redmond, Washington. A ten-story-tall room will facilitate fitting the satellites into rocket payload fairings for their journey into orbit.
Steve Metayer, Amazon’s Vice President of Kuiper Production Operations, revealed that the company plans to ship its first batch of satellites to the facility in the second half of 2025, embarking on a sprint to deploy half of the network into orbit by 2026, as required by U.S. regulators.
To achieve this goal, Amazon has secured 77 heavy-lift rocket launch contracts, valued at potentially billions of dollars combined, from key players like the Boeing-Lockheed joint venture United Launch Alliance and Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin space company.
The company aims to launch its initial prototype satellites into space by the end of this year, followed by mass-produced satellite launches scheduled for 2024. Testing the Kuiper service with corporate and government customers is also set to commence in 2024, marking a significant milestone in Amazon’s journey to deliver global internet coverage.
While Amazon is eligible to receive funds under a state grant for transportation-related projects, it has not received any funding from the state of Florida thus far, according to Anna Farrar, a spokeswoman for Space Florida, a state-funded entity focused on attracting space businesses to Florida.
This significant investment underscores Amazon’s determination to carve out its space in the rapidly expanding space-based internet market, further diversifying its portfolio and consolidating its position as a major player in the technology and space industries. – source: Reuters