Project Kuiper is Amazon’s initiative to build a low-earth orbit satellite constellation to provide global broadband services. Announced in April 2019, Project Kuiper plans to deploy over 3,000 satellites.
Project Kuiper joins Starlink and OneWeb as one of the three most significant satellite broadband initiatives. Starlink has launched 360 satellites to date. OneWeb has launched 74 – although is rumored to be exploring bankruptcy protection. Project Kuiper to date has launched zero satellites, although given that Amazon and Jeff Bezos have significant resources, and that another of Bezos’ companies, Blue Origin, builds rockets, Project Kuiper is taken seriously.
It is also conceivable that if OneWeb enters bankruptcy, Amazon could purchase some or all of its assets. Amazon did hire previously the senior management from Starlink which had been let go in a SpaceX management shakeup.
Project Kuiper provides an interesting complement to other Amazon services. AWS already relies heavily on linking customers to Amazon servers. Amazon has programs supporting land-based broadband. Amazon also has multiple programs supporting schools, including Amazon Smile.
Blue Origin’s next generation rocket, called New Glenn, is scheduled to first launch in 2021.
Amazon is currently advertising 170 job openings for Project Kuiper, so the initiative is clearly a high priority for Amazon.