Author Topic: Kuiper: Can it still meet its launching deadline?  (Read 15847 times)

Offline tssp_art

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In its approval for the Amazon Kuiper constellation, the FCC confirmed deadlines of July 30, 2026 to launch 50% of the constellation and July 20, 2029 to launch the remaining 50%. The 50% deadline is for 1,618 satellites.

In April of 2022 Amazon contracted for 18 launches on the Ariane 6, 12 launches (with option for 15 more) on New Glenn, and 38 launches on Vulcan. None of these vehicles have flown yet.

At the time of placing those orders the Ariane 6 was supposed to fly later that year. There have been several official slips of that date, the last positing a launch in late 2023 but industry sources have ruled out a launch this year and are now expecting it in Q1 2024.

Also at that time, New Glenn was expected to fly later that year but now best estimates place the first flight in late 2024 or early 2025 (although they are contracted with NASA for an August launch of ESCAPADE. I don't see that as being credible with what we've seen to date.)

And of course ULA has most recently delayed Vulcan's inaugural launch for NET Q4 2023.

Part of the payload for that inaugural launch are the first two prototype satellites for the Kuiper network. If Amazon stays with the current plan, the two prototype satellites could be orbited late this year (IMO more likely early next year). If the prototypes function as expected (a big "if") and if no modifications are needed to the production satellite design (another big "if"), and if they have production satellites ready to be launched (yet another big "if"), it's possible that they could start launching production satellites as early as Q1 2024.

Prior to placing that record breaking order for launches, Amazon had contracted for the remaining 9 Atlas Vs from ULA. In its most powerful configuration the Atlas V can lift about 15.5 metric tons to LEO. The production Kuiper satellites are rumored to be ~500Kg (are there more accurate numbers available?) which translates to ~31 satellites per launch. Atlas V launch cadence has not exceeded 7 per year but let's say that ULA is motivated to help (to preserve the order for 38 Vulcan launches) and can get all 9 Atlas Vs launched in 2024, each carrying 31 Kuiper satellites. That's 279 Satellites in orbit by the end of 2024. Ariane 6 has quite a backlog of orders but might get one Kuiper launch in 2024 (possibly 40 satellites). Similarly ULA may get a Kuiper Vulcan launch off next year (maybe 55 satellites). I don't believe that New Glenn will have a Kuiper launch until 2025.

So, very optimistically, Kuiper may have as much as 279+40+55=374 satellites in orbit by the end of 2024. That leaves 19 months until the 50% deadline with 1244 satellites left to launch.

Historically new rockets don't achieve more than a couple of launches per year for their first couple of years. So will there be enough capacity in Ariane 6, Vulcan and New Glenn for the more than 20 launches (combined) needed to get to the 50% mark? Ariane 6 is hoping to eventually get up to 11 launches per year. New Glenn and Vulcan are both completely dependent on Blue Origin's production of BE-4 engines which still haven't ever flown. And there are no more Atlas Vs to be had.

This doesn't look promising, but maybe I'm missing something.
« Last Edit: 07/03/2023 03:49 am by zubenelgenubi »

Online DanClemmensen

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Re: Kuiper: Can it still meet it's launching deadline?
« Reply #1 on: 06/30/2023 07:26 pm »

Part of the payload for that inaugural launch are the first two prototype satellites for the Kuiper network. If Amazon stays with the current plan, the two prototype satellites could be orbited late this year (IMO more likely early next year). If the prototypes function as expected (a big "if") and if no modifications are needed to the production satellite design (another big "if"), and if they have production satellites ready to be launched (yet another big "if"), it's possible that they could start launching production satellites as early as Q1 2024.

Prior to placing that record breaking order for launches, Amazon had contracted for the remaining 9 Atlas Vs from ULA. In its most powerful configuration the Atlas V can lift about 15.5 metric tons to LEO. The production Kuiper satellites are rumored to be ~500Kg (are there more accurate numbers available?) which translates to ~31 satellites per launch. Atlas V launch cadence has not exceeded 7 per year but let's say that ULA is motivated to help (to preserve the order for 38 Vulcan launches) and can get all 9 Atlas Vs launched in 2024, each carrying 31 Kuiper satellites. That's 279 Satellites in orbit by the end of 2024. Ariane 6 has quite a backlog of orders but might get one Kuiper launch in 2024 (possibly 40 satellites). Similarly ULA may get a Kuiper Vulcan launch off next year (maybe 55 satellites). I don't believe that New Glenn will have a Kuiper launch until 2025.
If Amazon/Kuiper is serious about this, they will launch the prototypes on a Atlas in the near future. This would allow them to complete the initial evaluation prior to the first Vulcan. They would then launch the remaining 8 Atlas flights at the best rate ULA can support, and they would be able to shift to Vulcan as soon as it is actually operational. This cost of this approach is high: they basically throw away one of their nine Atlas launches. They could then choose to fly a full-up Vulcan mission on the second Vulcan Centaur flight.

None of this makes sense unless the Kuiper prototypes are actually ready to fly. If in fact a Kuiper schedule slip is hiding behind the Vulcan slip, this trick will not help.

Offline whitelancer64

Re: Kuiper: Can it still meet it's launching deadline?
« Reply #2 on: 06/30/2023 07:53 pm »
Vulcan will launch 45 Kuiper satellites,

New Glenn will launch 61,

Ariane 6 from 35-40 Kuiper satellites (depends on the use of upgraded boosters, which is planned for later. Initial launches will be with 35 satellites).

Oddly I did not find any articles that mention how many Kuiper sats will be on the Atlas V launches.
« Last Edit: 06/30/2023 09:00 pm by whitelancer64 »
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Offline whitelancer64

Re: Kuiper: Can it still meet it's launching deadline?
« Reply #3 on: 06/30/2023 08:58 pm »
*snip*

None of this makes sense unless the Kuiper prototypes are actually ready to fly. If in fact a Kuiper schedule slip is hiding behind the Vulcan slip, this trick will not help.

The two Kuiper test satellites were shipped to the Cape in mid March.

https://www.bizjournals.com/seattle/news/2023/03/20/project-kuiper-plans-first-satellite-launches.html

That article has a photo of the shipping containers for the two satellites.
Amusingly, they are labeled "Velociraptor Containment"
« Last Edit: 06/30/2023 09:06 pm by whitelancer64 »
"One bit of advice: it is important to view knowledge as sort of a semantic tree -- make sure you understand the fundamental principles, ie the trunk and big branches, before you get into the leaves/details or there is nothing for them to hang on to." - Elon Musk
"There are lies, damned lies, and launch schedules." - Larry J

Offline RedLineTrain

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Re: Kuiper: Can it still meet it's launching deadline?
« Reply #4 on: 06/30/2023 09:39 pm »
The deadline is a non-issue.  Amazon should wish to get its megaconstellation up as soon as possible no matter the deadline. And it should have no problem contracting with SpaceX to do so.  SpaceX will have plenty of spare launch capacity.

But even if Amazon doesn't make the deadline because of technical issues or a shortsighted insistence not to contract with SpaceX, it still won't be an issue because the FCC will extend it.  The FCC has every reason to extend the deadline and no reason not to do so.
« Last Edit: 06/30/2023 09:48 pm by RedLineTrain »

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: Kuiper: Can it still meet it's launching deadline?
« Reply #5 on: 06/30/2023 09:58 pm »
Unless one web or star link wants to use it
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Offline ulm_atms

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Re: Kuiper: Can it still meet it's launching deadline?
« Reply #6 on: 06/30/2023 10:09 pm »
The deadline is a non-issue.  Amazon should wish to get its megaconstellation up as soon as possible no matter the deadline. And it should have no problem contracting with SpaceX to do so.  SpaceX will have plenty of spare launch capacity.

But even if Amazon doesn't make the deadline because of technical issues or a shortsighted insistence not to contract with SpaceX, it still won't be an issue because the FCC will extend it.  The FCC has every reason to extend the deadline and no reason not to do so.
Actually, they may.  If the FCC just ignores it's deadlines, I see the other companies that were held to FCC deadlines suing.  The FCC as a regulatory body is suppose to treat everyone equal....technically.  We all know they don't but I guarantee the other companies will want to know why they are being treated differently.  What is the point of a deadline if it means absolutely nothing?  Two companies met the deadlines set(AFAIK)....why is Kuiper different?

Offline tssp_art

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Re: Kuiper: Can it still meet it's launching deadline?
« Reply #7 on: 06/30/2023 10:11 pm »
The deadline is a non-issue.  Amazon should wish to get its megaconstellation up as soon as possible no matter the deadline. And it should have no problem contracting with SpaceX to do so.  SpaceX will have plenty of spare launch capacity.

But even if Amazon doesn't make the deadline because of technical issues or a shortsighted insistence not to contract with SpaceX, it still won't be an issue because the FCC will extend it.  The FCC has every reason to extend the deadline and no reason not to do so.

I'm not sure this is true. These rules are not dissimilar from the Federal Acquisition Rules in that they define the mutual obligations of the Government and the contractor community. From what I've heard, if the 100% deployment deadline is not met then approval for the constellation size becomes automatically limited to the number of satellites deployed at that time. If the 50% deployment deadline is not met then the number is twice the number of satellites deployed at that time. I'm not sure if my understanding is correct (there must be better informed FCC experts on the forum) and I don't know if this has ever been enforced or contested.

Offline RedLineTrain

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Re: Kuiper: Can it still meet it's launching deadline?
« Reply #8 on: 06/30/2023 10:20 pm »
Unless one web or star link wants to use it

I have not heard any grumbling from the customer side about not being able to find a ride at a reasonable price.  Quite the opposite, actually.  Payloads are moving to SpaceX with pretty short lead times and it is just assumed that SpaceX has the capacity.  This leads me to believe that it does.

Offline RedLineTrain

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Re: Kuiper: Can it still meet it's launching deadline?
« Reply #9 on: 06/30/2023 10:23 pm »
I'm not sure this is true.

Oh, it's true.  Competition is in the public interest.  The FCC will bend over backward to promote it in this instance and nobody will gainsay it.  Probably even SpaceX wouldn't argue against it.

Offline gongora

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Re: Kuiper: Can it still meet it's launching deadline?
« Reply #10 on: 06/30/2023 10:24 pm »
Deployment deadlines get extended all the time, both by FCC and ITU.  If Amazon is actively launching satellites, has launch contracts for the rest, and has production lined up for the rest, then they will almost certainly get an extension.  FAR has no relevance to this.

Offline Zed_Noir

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Re: Kuiper: Can it still meet it's launching deadline?
« Reply #11 on: 07/01/2023 12:47 am »
<snip>
If Amazon/Kuiper is serious about this, they will launch the prototypes on a Atlas in the near future. This would allow them to complete the initial evaluation prior to the first Vulcan. They would then launch the remaining 8 Atlas flights at the best rate ULA can support, and they would be able to shift to Vulcan as soon as it is actually operational. This cost of this approach is high: they basically throw away one of their nine Atlas launches. They could then choose to fly a full-up Vulcan mission on the second Vulcan Centaur flight.
<snip>
There is no need for Amazon to use up an Atlas V to fly the Kuiper prototype satcoms. Just put them on a Transporter launch.

At this point the Kuiper Project have to start deploying their LEO constellation ASAP before permanently losing market share. The Vulcan Centaur, the Ariane 6 & the New Glenn are all way behind schedule. They need to acquire additional launch capacity that is available.

Since the Russians and the Chinese launchers are banned by fiat. The only other option in the form of the ISRO LVM-3 have limited availability due to domestic payloads and low production rate. The nascent JAXA H3 have development issues and hasn't flown a successful flight yet, maybe Q4 2023 like the Ariane 6  :(.

Amazon like everyone else will need to call up the folks at Hawthorne.

Offline tssp_art

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Re: Kuiper: Can it still meet it's launching deadline?
« Reply #12 on: 07/01/2023 02:35 am »
I'm not sure this is true.
Oh, it's true.  Competition is in the public interest.  The FCC will bend over backward to promote it in this instance and nobody will gainsay it.  Probably even SpaceX wouldn't argue against it.


Deployment deadlines get extended all the time, both by FCC and ITU.  If Amazon is actively launching satellites, has launch contracts for the rest, and has production lined up for the rest, then they will almost certainly get an extension.  FAR has no relevance to this.

I would tend to agree that what you both say is sensible and logical - but not necessarily correct. Government agencies operate in accordance with rules that govern their interaction with interested parties. And yes, the FAR is for conducting acquisitions which has no relevance because this is not an acquisition. The Federal Acquisition Rules are Title 48 in the CFR (Code of Federal Regulations) while the rules that govern the FCC specific activities are Title 47 in the CFR. Violation of these rules by the Government is just as serious (and undesirable) as violation by an individual or a corporation. So I've gone and dug these up and here is what they seems to say. And BTW, there is an anachronism that can be confusing here - what we call Satellites, the FCC calls Space Stations. Sigh.

This first relevant rule one is the one that establishes the milestones of 50% and 100% deployment in six and nine years respectively:

§ 25.164 Milestones.
(a) The recipient of an initial license for a GSO space station, other than a SDARS space station, granted on or after August 27, 2003, must launch the space station, position it in its assigned orbital location, and operate it in accordance with the station authorization no later than five years after the grant of the license, unless a different schedule is established by this chapter or the Commission.
[not relevant - for GSO satellites only]

(b)

(1) The recipient of an initial authorization for an NGSO satellite system, other than an SDARS system, must launch 50 percent of the maximum number of space stations authorized for service, place them in their assigned orbits, and operate them in accordance with the station authorization no later than 6 years after the grant of the authorization, unless a different schedule is established by Title 47, Chapter I. This paragraph does not apply to replacement NGSO space stations as defined in § 25.165(e).

(2) A licensee that satisfies the requirement in paragraph (b)(1) of this section must launch the remaining space stations necessary to complete its authorized service constellation, place them in their assigned orbits, and operate each of them in accordance with the authorization no later than nine years after the grant of the authorization.


The second relevant rule is the one that establishes the automatic penalty for not meeting the milestone(s). For clarification, the FCC gives authorization for each individual "station" (satellite). So it says that failure to meet a milestone will cause automatic termination of authorization for satellites not yet launched.


§ 25.161 Automatic termination of station authorization.
A station authorization shall be automatically terminated in whole or in part without further notice to the licensee upon:

(a)

(1) The failure to meet an applicable milestone specified in § 25.164(a) or (b), if no authorized space station is functional in orbit;

(2) The failure to meet an applicable milestone specified in § 25.164(b)(1) or (2), if at least one authorized space station is functional in an authorized orbit, which failure will result in the termination of authority for the space stations not in orbit as of the milestone date, but allow for technically identical replacements; or

(3) The failure to meet any other milestone or construction requirement imposed as a condition of authorization. In the case of a space station authorization when at least one authorized space station is functional in orbit, however, such termination will be with respect to only the authorization for any space stations not in orbit as of the milestone date.


So my earlier interpretation is not quite correct. The rules are actually stricter than I thought. Note language in the opening -"A station authorization shall be automatically terminated". It says "shall be" not "may be" meaning there is no discretion by the administrator. So failure to meet the 50% milestone on July 30, 2026 will result in automatic termination of authorization for anymore satellites other than replacements for the ones already launched.

Offline DJPledger

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Re: Kuiper: Can it still meet it's launching deadline?
« Reply #13 on: 07/01/2023 08:33 am »
Only if Amazon bites the bullet and launches a significant portion of Kuiper on Starship.

Offline Nomadd

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Re: Kuiper: Can it still meet it's launching deadline?
« Reply #14 on: 07/01/2023 10:33 am »
 SpaceX is taking care of it's customers at the expense of Starlink launches. Oneweb was a special case of not wanting to take advantage of a bad situation, but I'm not sure if they'll be too happy about sacrificing Starlink launch opportunities to loft Kupiers.
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Offline Rebel44

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Re: Kuiper: Can it still meet it's launching deadline?
« Reply #15 on: 07/01/2023 10:49 am »
SpaceX is taking care of it's customers at the expense of Starlink launches. Oneweb was a special case of not wanting to take advantage of a bad situation, but I'm not sure if they'll be too happy about sacrificing Starlink launch opportunities to loft Kupiers.

I think SpaceX would be willing to provide Kuiper with some launches, but not so many that it would be detrimental to the ongoing deployment of Starlink - and Kuiper would definitely not get any discounts - plus I would expect at least an unspoken arrangement for Kuiper to drop some regulatory objections to Starlink (just like OneWeb IIRC did around the time they got their contract for F9 launches).

Offline gongora

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Re: Kuiper: Can it still meet it's launching deadline?
« Reply #16 on: 07/01/2023 02:12 pm »
So my earlier interpretation is not quite correct. The rules are actually stricter than I thought. Note language in the opening -"A station authorization shall be automatically terminated". It says "shall be" not "may be" meaning there is no discretion by the administrator. So failure to meet the 50% milestone on July 30, 2026 will result in automatic termination of authorization for anymore satellites other than replacements for the ones already launched.

It's automatic unless a waiver is applied for and granted.  It is perfectly legal for a waiver to be applied for and granted.

Offline tssp_art

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Re: Kuiper: Can it still meet it's launching deadline?
« Reply #17 on: 07/01/2023 02:41 pm »
So my earlier interpretation is not quite correct. The rules are actually stricter than I thought. Note language in the opening -"A station authorization shall be automatically terminated". It says "shall be" not "may be" meaning there is no discretion by the administrator. So failure to meet the 50% milestone on July 30, 2026 will result in automatic termination of authorization for anymore satellites other than replacements for the ones already launched.

It's automatic unless a waiver is applied for and granted.  It is perfectly legal for a waiver to be applied for and granted.

That may be, but I've searched all of 47 CFR chapter 25 for waiver procedures and I've found many rules that identify the procedure for waivers to specific rules. None of the ones I've found deal with the rule in section 25.161. Almost all of them require that an applicant identify which rule they are asking be waived as part of their application - i.e. not after the applicant has accepted the terms of the license and is now going to violate the rule by missing the milestone.

Perhaps you know of where this waiver procedure is identified and described or has been used before?

Offline meekGee

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Re: Kuiper: Can it still meet its launching deadline?
« Reply #18 on: 07/03/2023 03:37 pm »
In its approval for the Amazon Kuiper constellation, the FCC confirmed deadlines of July 30, 2026 to launch 50% of the constellation and July 20, 2029 to launch the remaining 50%. The 50% deadline is for 1,618 satellites.

In April of 2022 Amazon contracted for 18 launches on the Ariane 6, 12 launches (with option for 15 more) on New Glenn, and 38 launches on Vulcan. None of these vehicles have flown yet.

At the time of placing those orders the Ariane 6 was supposed to fly later that year. There have been several official slips of that date, the last positing a launch in late 2023 but industry sources have ruled out a launch this year and are now expecting it in Q1 2024.

Also at that time, New Glenn was expected to fly later that year but now best estimates place the first flight in late 2024 or early 2025 (although they are contracted with NASA for an August launch of ESCAPADE. I don't see that as being credible with what we've seen to date.)

And of course ULA has most recently delayed Vulcan's inaugural launch for NET Q4 2023.

Part of the payload for that inaugural launch are the first two prototype satellites for the Kuiper network. If Amazon stays with the current plan, the two prototype satellites could be orbited late this year (IMO more likely early next year). If the prototypes function as expected (a big "if") and if no modifications are needed to the production satellite design (another big "if"), and if they have production satellites ready to be launched (yet another big "if"), it's possible that they could start launching production satellites as early as Q1 2024.

Prior to placing that record breaking order for launches, Amazon had contracted for the remaining 9 Atlas Vs from ULA. In its most powerful configuration the Atlas V can lift about 15.5 metric tons to LEO. The production Kuiper satellites are rumored to be ~500Kg (are there more accurate numbers available?) which translates to ~31 satellites per launch. Atlas V launch cadence has not exceeded 7 per year but let's say that ULA is motivated to help (to preserve the order for 38 Vulcan launches) and can get all 9 Atlas Vs launched in 2024, each carrying 31 Kuiper satellites. That's 279 Satellites in orbit by the end of 2024. Ariane 6 has quite a backlog of orders but might get one Kuiper launch in 2024 (possibly 40 satellites). Similarly ULA may get a Kuiper Vulcan launch off next year (maybe 55 satellites). I don't believe that New Glenn will have a Kuiper launch until 2025.

So, very optimistically, Kuiper may have as much as 279+40+55=374 satellites in orbit by the end of 2024. That leaves 19 months until the 50% deadline with 1244 satellites left to launch.

Historically new rockets don't achieve more than a couple of launches per year for their first couple of years. So will there be enough capacity in Ariane 6, Vulcan and New Glenn for the more than 20 launches (combined) needed to get to the 50% mark? Ariane 6 is hoping to eventually get up to 11 launches per year. New Glenn and Vulcan are both completely dependent on Blue Origin's production of BE-4 engines which still haven't ever flown. And there are no more Atlas Vs to be had.

This doesn't look promising, but maybe I'm missing something.
That analysis is exactly why Vulcan flight 1 and 2 are so critical to Kuiper.  It's not the demo satellites, it's validating BE-4 in flight.

Any delay there will affect both Vulcan and NG, which are the only two launchers that have a theoretical chance to scale.

If BE-4 has any flight issues, Kuiper will have no choice but to pivot to a SpaceX product.
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Offline Robotbeat

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Re: Kuiper: Can it still meet its launching deadline?
« Reply #19 on: 07/03/2023 03:50 pm »
Except for the 2026 date, I'd disagree. Terran-R, Neutron, and Antares/Firefly can all scale. All have better chance of F9-like low cost reusability than Vulcan. But they have first launch dates of 2026, 2024, and 2025, respectively. There's a decent chance one of them could actually beat New Glenn to first launch, given Blue Origin's history and pace.
« Last Edit: 07/03/2023 03:54 pm by Robotbeat »
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Offline RedLineTrain

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Re: Kuiper: Can it still meet it's launching deadline?
« Reply #20 on: 07/03/2023 04:13 pm »
SpaceX is taking care of it's customers at the expense of Starlink launches. Oneweb was a special case of not wanting to take advantage of a bad situation, but I'm not sure if they'll be too happy about sacrificing Starlink launch opportunities to loft Kupiers.

Falcon 9's capacity constraints don't seem to me to be very hard and fast.  SpaceX still has its doors wide open to new business.

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Offline meekGee

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Re: Kuiper: Can it still meet its launching deadline?
« Reply #21 on: 07/03/2023 04:31 pm »
Except for the 2026 date, I'd disagree. Terran-R, Neutron, and Antares/Firefly can all scale. All have better chance of F9-like low cost reusability than Vulcan. But they have first launch dates of 2026, 2024, and 2025, respectively. There's a decent chance one of them could actually beat New Glenn to first launch, given Blue Origin's history and pace.
Vulcan can kinda scale, at least compared to its competition, based on ULA experience base and brute force - at least initially.  But yeah, not long term.

As for the 2026 deadline, that's only half the problem Kuiper has.  The other is Starlink.  If Kuiper doesn't catch up, people won't be as generous as governments are in accepting a far-inferior second-best only because "we must have two providers".

Right now Starlink 2.0 might start launching before Kuiper demo sats do. Let that sink in.  Kuiper might go up against Starlink 3.0.

What will Kuiper do if Starlink service is half the price and twice the bandwidth?  This is not the "Microsoft vs Apple" dynamic. It is also not something Bezos can (or wants?) to bankroll.
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Offline tssp_art

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Re: Kuiper: Can it still meet its launching deadline?
« Reply #22 on: 07/03/2023 05:18 pm »
Right now Starlink 2.0 might start launching before Kuiper demo sats do. Let that sink in.  Kuiper might go up against Starlink 3.0.

What will Kuiper do if Starlink service is half the price and twice the bandwidth?  This is not the "Microsoft vs Apple" dynamic. It is also not something Bezos can (or wants?) to bankroll.

That last part is actually quite complicated. Bezos is not the owner of Amazon - he's actually not even the largest shareholder (he holds about 10%). What that means is that the Amazon board and executive team have a fiduciary obligation to all the shareholders to maximize the value of their shares - and not to support the dreams or grudges held by their founder.

So yes, they could appeal to SpaceX for help and that might save the day - there is already some background noise about shareholder discontent that the multiple launch contracts did not include SpaceX. If they had used SpaceX  their prototype satellites would have been launched this past spring and they might be on their way to offering a credible service.

But even if SpaceX is willing, it will likely be with Falcon, because all available Starship flights will be used "experimentally" to develop and test tankers and depots, send Lunar Starship prototypes to the moon, and, of course, to launch Starlink (they have their own FCC deadlines to meet).

Or, Amazon could realize Kuiper is simply not doable with the disadvantages they have and (a) cancel it or (b) sell it to Bezos. Not sure which would be more entertaining.

Offline meekGee

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Re: Kuiper: Can it still meet its launching deadline?
« Reply #23 on: 07/03/2023 05:58 pm »
Right now Starlink 2.0 might start launching before Kuiper demo sats do. Let that sink in.  Kuiper might go up against Starlink 3.0.

What will Kuiper do if Starlink service is half the price and twice the bandwidth?  This is not the "Microsoft vs Apple" dynamic. It is also not something Bezos can (or wants?) to bankroll.

That last part is actually quite complicated. Bezos is not the owner of Amazon - he's actually not even the largest shareholder (he holds about 10%). What that means is that the Amazon board and executive team have a fiduciary obligation to all the shareholders to maximize the value of their shares - and not to support the dreams or grudges held by their founder.

So yes, they could appeal to SpaceX for help and that might save the day - there is already some background noise about shareholder discontent that the multiple launch contracts did not include SpaceX. If they had used SpaceX  their prototype satellites would have been launched this past spring and they might be on their way to offering a credible service.

But even if SpaceX is willing, it will likely be with Falcon, because all available Starship flights will be used "experimentally" to develop and test tankers and depots, send Lunar Starship prototypes to the moon, and, of course, to launch Starlink (they have their own FCC deadlines to meet).

Or, Amazon could realize Kuiper is simply not doable with the disadvantages they have and (a) cancel it or (b) sell it to Bezos. Not sure which would be more entertaining.
In theory yes, but then, how come the Kuiper test sats are on a future first flight of a BO powered rocket instead of an F9 transporter flight and already in orbit?
« Last Edit: 07/03/2023 06:19 pm by meekGee »
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Online DanClemmensen

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Re: Kuiper: Can it still meet its launching deadline?
« Reply #24 on: 07/03/2023 06:11 pm »
In theory yes, but then, how come the Kuiper test sats are on a futirw first flight of a BO powered rocket instead of an F9 transporter flight and already in orbit?
If launching the two test satellites is actually on the critical path for Kuiper, then they can launch on one of the nine Atlas V launchers that they contracted with ULA to provide.  Since they have not chosen to do this, I conclude that the test launch is not on the critical path. So what's the gating item for Kuiper? the satellites themselves? Ground infrastructure for the test? Software? Other?

Offline meekGee

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Re: Kuiper: Can it still meet its launching deadline?
« Reply #25 on: 07/03/2023 06:27 pm »
In theory yes, but then, how come the Kuiper test sats are on a futirw first flight of a BO powered rocket instead of an F9 transporter flight and already in orbit?
If launching the two test satellites is actually on the critical path for Kuiper, then they can launch on one of the nine Atlas V launchers that they contracted with ULA to provide.  Since they have not chosen to do this, I conclude that the test launch is not on the critical path. So what's the gating item for Kuiper? the satellites themselves? Ground infrastructure for the test? Software? Other?
That's a leap. I don't see how tests sats like this are NOT on the critical path.

It think that changing the assignment of one of only nine remaining Atlas rockets was just too much.

I think Kuiper are actually a lot closer to BO than some folks here think they are and are locked on Vulcan as opposed to F9.

Just judging by their actions.
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Online DanClemmensen

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Re: Kuiper: Can it still meet its launching deadline?
« Reply #26 on: 07/03/2023 06:37 pm »
In theory yes, but then, how come the Kuiper test sats are on a futirw first flight of a BO powered rocket instead of an F9 transporter flight and already in orbit?
If launching the two test satellites is actually on the critical path for Kuiper, then they can launch on one of the nine Atlas V launchers that they contracted with ULA to provide.  Since they have not chosen to do this, I conclude that the test launch is not on the critical path. So what's the gating item for Kuiper? the satellites themselves? Ground infrastructure for the test? Software? Other?
That's a leap. I don't see how tests sats like this are NOT on the critical path.

It think that changing the assignment of one of only nine remaining Atlas rockets was just too much.

I think Kuiper are actually a lot closer to BO than some folks here think they are and are locked on Vulcan as opposed to F9.

Just judging by their actions.
I think the test is on the critical path. I'm questioning whether or not the launch on Vulcan Centaur is on the critical path for the test. If the test cannot proceed until early next year for some other reason, then the Vulcan Centaur launch is not on the critical path.

The alternative theory seems to be that the test could occur now, but Kuiper is waiting on Vulcan Centaur for reasons that do not appear to make economic sense. They are losing possible customers to Starlink at an increasing rate every month.

Offline meekGee

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Re: Kuiper: Can it still meet its launching deadline?
« Reply #27 on: 07/03/2023 07:14 pm »
In theory yes, but then, how come the Kuiper test sats are on a futirw first flight of a BO powered rocket instead of an F9 transporter flight and already in orbit?
If launching the two test satellites is actually on the critical path for Kuiper, then they can launch on one of the nine Atlas V launchers that they contracted with ULA to provide.  Since they have not chosen to do this, I conclude that the test launch is not on the critical path. So what's the gating item for Kuiper? the satellites themselves? Ground infrastructure for the test? Software? Other?
That's a leap. I don't see how tests sats like this are NOT on the critical path.

It think that changing the assignment of one of only nine remaining Atlas rockets was just too much.

I think Kuiper are actually a lot closer to BO than some folks here think they are and are locked on Vulcan as opposed to F9.

Just judging by their actions.
I think the test is on the critical path. I'm questioning whether or not the launch on Vulcan Centaur is on the critical path for the test. If the test cannot proceed until early next year for some other reason, then the Vulcan Centaur launch is not on the critical path.

The alternative theory seems to be that the test could occur now, but Kuiper is waiting on Vulcan Centaur for reasons that do not appear to make economic sense. They are losing possible customers to Starlink at an increasing rate every month.
The satellites are ready for launch, no?  What else can hold up the test? Ground infrastructure?  I doubt that.
For all of the above reasons, Kuiper should have been pushing on those tests as if its life depended on them...
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Online DanClemmensen

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Re: Kuiper: Can it still meet its launching deadline?
« Reply #28 on: 07/03/2023 07:48 pm »
The satellites are ready for launch, no?  What else can hold up the test? Ground infrastructure?  I doubt that.
For all of the above reasons, Kuiper should have been pushing on those tests as if its life depended on them...
Ground infrastructure for a two-satellite test of an LEO constellation is a non-trivial proposition. To make a connection, you need a user terminal and a "teleport" in view of the satellites at the same time. The user terminal must be in the satellite's user beam and the teleport must be in the satellite's teleport beam. You use two satellites in the same orbit, spaced properly, so you can test handoffs, and (if implemented) intersatellite comms. But the orbit is almost certainly not synchronized in any way, so the satellites will not pass over the same locations every day and probably not even once a week. Therefore, you need multiple teleports and multiple user terminals to get any reasonable amount of testing done, and each test is only a few minutes long. If you are using polar orbits, you can cheat somewhat by testing at high latitudes, but it's still a major hassle.

We are in agreement: they should be testing already, so why aren't they?

Online TrevorMonty

Re: Kuiper: Can it still meet its launching deadline?
« Reply #29 on: 07/03/2023 09:21 pm »




The alternative theory seems to be that the test could occur now, but Kuiper is waiting on Vulcan Centaur for reasons that do not appear to make economic sense. They are losing possible customers to Starlink at an increasing rate every month.

Kuiper primary mission is to supply a secure datalink between AWS servers and their big customers. This isn't a market Starlink can access without Amazon's approval.
Any other business is a bonus. Starlink customers will change providers if they get a better deal or are frakked off with existing service.


Offline Rebel44

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Re: Kuiper: Can it still meet its launching deadline?
« Reply #30 on: 07/03/2023 10:22 pm »




The alternative theory seems to be that the test could occur now, but Kuiper is waiting on Vulcan Centaur for reasons that do not appear to make economic sense. They are losing possible customers to Starlink at an increasing rate every month.

Kuiper primary mission is to supply a secure datalink between AWS servers and their big customers. This isn't a market Starlink can access without Amazon's approval.
Any other business is a bonus. Starlink customers will change providers if they get a better deal or are frakked off with existing service.

/disclaimer: I work in telco - transmission (backbone) networks/

I seriously doubt that - the bandwidth Kuipers terminals are likely to provide (especially uplink) is likely to be only good enough to serve as a backup. Connections between data centers and big corporate customers are usually over optical fibers for good reasons - not for fun.

IMO, good encryption should also allow data to be reasonably secure (unless someone like the NSA is after you - in which case you are screwed anyway...) for commercial use purposes even on lines you don't physically control.

Offline joek

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Re: Kuiper: Can it still meet its launching deadline?
« Reply #31 on: 07/03/2023 10:49 pm »
Kuiper primary mission is to supply a secure datalink between AWS servers and their big customers. This isn't a market Starlink can access without Amazon's approval.
Depends on what you mean by "secure"?
1. Secure from snooping? No need. Existing transport security measures used by terrestial networks are more than sufficient.
2. Resilent-robust? Yes, some potential value add as a backup for existing terrestial networks.
This is not going to replace existing terrestial networks and ther Big Pipes as primary transport any time soon for those "AWS servers and their big customers". Neither will Starlink.

Quote
Any other business is a bonus. Starlink customers will change providers if they get a better deal or are frakked off with existing service.
Yes, just like any other ISP or backbone provider. But think you just contradicted yourself there. We talking about business or consumer market? Amazon is generally consumer focused; AWS business focused. So which is it?

Quote
This isn't a market Starlink can access without Amazon's approval.
Absolutely false. Consult Dr. Google for "Internet peering". It's been a thing for decades.[1] It would be stupendously stupid for AWS to disallow.


[1] edit That's why it's called the "Internet" (coined 1974), aka "Inter-net", aka "internetworking",  aka "a network of networks".
« Last Edit: 07/03/2023 10:57 pm by joek »

Online DanClemmensen

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Re: Kuiper: Can it still meet its launching deadline?
« Reply #32 on: 07/03/2023 11:14 pm »




The alternative theory seems to be that the test could occur now, but Kuiper is waiting on Vulcan Centaur for reasons that do not appear to make economic sense. They are losing possible customers to Starlink at an increasing rate every month.

Kuiper primary mission is to supply a secure datalink between AWS servers and their big customers. This isn't a market Starlink can access without Amazon's approval.
Any other business is a bonus. Starlink customers will change providers if they get a better deal or are frakked off with existing service.

/disclaimer: I work in telco - transmission (backbone) networks/

I seriously doubt that - the bandwidth Kuipers terminals are likely to provide (especially uplink) is likely to be only good enough to serve as a backup. Connections between data centers and big corporate customers are usually over optical fibers for good reasons - not for fun.

IMO, good encryption should also allow data to be reasonably secure (unless someone like the NSA is after you - in which case you are screwed anyway...) for commercial use purposes even on lines you don't physically control.
If all "customers" are AWS server farms, then all the links are in effect teleport links. Each satellite serves only a few links and each ground station/server farm has antennas for multiple satellites. Lots of bandwidth, all full duplex non-shared links. Probably still not as much as a terrestrial fiber, but many times as much as a Starlink customer. The huge advantage is lower latency. The RF and laser links operate at the speed of light in vacuum, which is about 300,000 km/s, and the links are straight lines. Fiber operates at the speed of light in fiber, which is about 200,000 km/s, and fiber cables are not straight at all, because they follow terrestrial rights-of-way and undersea routes that dodge around undersea topology and continents. AWD will move massive bulk data by fiber and certain premium data by satellite.

Online TrevorMonty

Re: Kuiper: Can it still meet its launching deadline?
« Reply #33 on: 07/03/2023 11:25 pm »




The alternative theory seems to be that the test could occur now, but Kuiper is waiting on Vulcan Centaur for reasons that do not appear to make economic sense. They are losing possible customers to Starlink at an increasing rate every month.

Kuiper primary mission is to supply a secure datalink between AWS servers and their big customers. This isn't a market Starlink can access without Amazon's approval.
Any other business is a bonus. Starlink customers will change providers if they get a better deal or are frakked off with existing service.

/disclaimer: I work in telco - transmission (backbone) networks/

I seriously doubt that - the bandwidth Kuipers terminals are likely to provide (especially uplink) is likely to be only good enough to serve as a backup. Connections between data centers and big corporate customers are usually over optical fibers for good reasons - not for fun.

IMO, good encryption should also allow data to be reasonably secure (unless someone like the NSA is after you - in which case you are screwed anyway...) for commercial use purposes even on lines you don't physically control.
If all "customers" are AWS server farms, then all the links are in effect teleport links. Each satellite serves only a few links and each ground station/server farm has antennas for multiple satellites. Lots of bandwidth, all full duplex non-shared links. Probably still not as much as a terrestrial fiber, but many times as much as a Starlink customer. The huge advantage is lower latency. The RF and laser links operate at the speed of light in vacuum, which is about 300,000 km/s, and the links are straight lines. Fiber operates at the speed of light in fiber, which is about 200,000 km/s, and fiber cables are not straight at all, because they follow terrestrial rights-of-way and undersea routes that dodge around undersea topology and continents. AWD will move massive bulk data by fiber and certain premium data by satellite.
Terrestrial fibre paths typically have multiple exchanges which do add delays.

Online TrevorMonty

Re: Kuiper: Can it still meet its launching deadline?
« Reply #34 on: 07/03/2023 11:34 pm »



Quote
This isn't a market Starlink can access without Amazon's approval.
Absolutely false. Consult Dr. Google for "Internet peering". It's been a thing for decades.[1] It would be stupendously stupid for AWS to disallow.

[1] edit That's why it's called the "Internet" (coined 1974), aka "Inter-net", aka "internetworking",  aka "a network of networks".

AWS customers can use Starlink to access internet but if they want secure end to link using Starlink AWS has to connect  Starlink terminal to their server. Don't think there is any legal requirement for AWS to do this.

Offline joek

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Re: Kuiper: Can it still meet its launching deadline?
« Reply #35 on: 07/04/2023 12:32 am »
AWS customers can use Starlink to access internet but if they want secure end to link using Starlink AWS has to connect  Starlink terminal to their server.

End-to-end security is done every day, all day, around the world, regardless of who is in the middle (other ISP's or backbone-transport providers). That's how you get secure transport from your pc > your ISP > any number of backbone providers > endpoint server without having any of those intermediaries having access to the content of your messages.

End-to-end means exactly that: it does not depend on the security of any intermediarias, such as Starlink terminals (the equivalent of your home router).

Quote
Don't think there is any legal requirement for AWS to do this.

No there is not. But AWS would be cutting off there nose to spite their face if they did otherwise. It's the Internet.

In any case, getting off topic. Suggest you do some research on what end-to-end security means and how it is implemented[1], the gfenesis of the Internet, and why there has been a stampede to connect to it among both business and individuals.


[1] Apologies, but you sound like a Bell-head from the 90's: "trust the network". Today (and for the last few decates) anyone in their right mind does not trust the network: we do end-to-end security. That is why, e.g., DoD uses public untrusted transport providers for much of their traffic.

Offline joek

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Re: Kuiper: Can it still meet its launching deadline?
« Reply #36 on: 07/04/2023 12:36 am »
Terrestrial fibre paths typically have multiple exchanges which do add delays.

Whcih for most will not matter; it's going to be a difference of a few ms. If talking about high frequency trading, that's another matter and a niche market.

Online DanClemmensen

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Re: Kuiper: Can it still meet its launching deadline?
« Reply #37 on: 07/04/2023 12:59 am »




The alternative theory seems to be that the test could occur now, but Kuiper is waiting on Vulcan Centaur for reasons that do not appear to make economic sense. They are losing possible customers to Starlink at an increasing rate every month.

Kuiper primary mission is to supply a secure datalink between AWS servers and their big customers. This isn't a market Starlink can access without Amazon's approval.
Any other business is a bonus. Starlink customers will change providers if they get a better deal or are frakked off with existing service.

/disclaimer: I work in telco - transmission (backbone) networks/

I seriously doubt that - the bandwidth Kuipers terminals are likely to provide (especially uplink) is likely to be only good enough to serve as a backup. Connections between data centers and big corporate customers are usually over optical fibers for good reasons - not for fun.

IMO, good encryption should also allow data to be reasonably secure (unless someone like the NSA is after you - in which case you are screwed anyway...) for commercial use purposes even on lines you don't physically control.
If all "customers" are AWS server farms, then all the links are in effect teleport links. Each satellite serves only a few links and each ground station/server farm has antennas for multiple satellites. Lots of bandwidth, all full duplex non-shared links. Probably still not as much as a terrestrial fiber, but many times as much as a Starlink customer. The huge advantage is lower latency. The RF and laser links operate at the speed of light in vacuum, which is about 300,000 km/s, and the links are straight lines. Fiber operates at the speed of light in fiber, which is about 200,000 km/s, and fiber cables are not straight at all, because they follow terrestrial rights-of-way and undersea routes that dodge around undersea topology and continents. AWD will move massive bulk data by fiber and certain premium data by satellite.
Terrestrial fibre paths typically have multiple exchanges which do add delays.
An LEO satellite system with inter-satellite links also has multiple "exchanges" that add delays, namely the satellites. Moderns routers (or any other type of packet forwarder), either satellite or terrestrial, adds very small switching delay. There may be queueing delay of course. To a first approximation I was GUESSING that the number of satellite hops will be about the same as the number of fiber hops.

Online TrevorMonty

Re: Kuiper: Can it still meet its launching deadline?
« Reply #38 on: 07/04/2023 01:15 am »






The alternative theory seems to be that the test could occur now, but Kuiper is waiting on Vulcan Centaur for reasons that do not appear to make economic sense. They are losing possible customers to Starlink at an increasing rate every month.

Kuiper primary mission is to supply a secure datalink between AWS servers and their big customers. This isn't a market Starlink can access without Amazon's approval.
Any other business is a bonus. Starlink customers will change providers if they get a better deal or are frakked off with existing service.

/disclaimer: I work in telco - transmission (backbone) networks/

I seriously doubt that - the bandwidth Kuipers terminals are likely to provide (especially uplink) is likely to be only good enough to serve as a backup. Connections between data centers and big corporate customers are usually over optical fibers for good reasons - not for fun.

IMO, good encryption should also allow data to be reasonably secure (unless someone like the NSA is after you - in which case you are screwed anyway...) for commercial use purposes even on lines you don't physically control.
If all "customers" are AWS server farms, then all the links are in effect teleport links. Each satellite serves only a few links and each ground station/server farm has antennas for multiple satellites. Lots of bandwidth, all full duplex non-shared links. Probably still not as much as a terrestrial fiber, but many times as much as a Starlink customer. The huge advantage is lower latency. The RF and laser links operate at the speed of light in vacuum, which is about 300,000 km/s, and the links are straight lines. Fiber operates at the speed of light in fiber, which is about 200,000 km/s, and fiber cables are not straight at all, because they follow terrestrial rights-of-way and undersea routes that dodge around undersea topology and continents. AWD will move massive bulk data by fiber and certain premium data by satellite.
Terrestrial fibre paths typically have multiple exchanges which do add delays.
An LEO satellite system with inter-satellite links also has multiple "exchanges" that add delays, namely the satellites. Moderns routers (or any other type of packet forwarder), either satellite or terrestrial, adds very small switching delay. There may be queueing delay of course. To a first approximation I was GUESSING that the number of satellite hops will be about the same as the number of fiber hops.
Latency from delays is very important in gaming where 10s ms can make difference at other end of spectrum a 1seconds latency doesn't matter to much when downloading large files or watching a video. With large files and videos datarate is more important.

Online DanClemmensen

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Re: Kuiper: Can it still meet its launching deadline?
« Reply #39 on: 07/04/2023 02:35 am »






The alternative theory seems to be that the test could occur now, but Kuiper is waiting on Vulcan Centaur for reasons that do not appear to make economic sense. They are losing possible customers to Starlink at an increasing rate every month.

Kuiper primary mission is to supply a secure datalink between AWS servers and their big customers. This isn't a market Starlink can access without Amazon's approval.
Any other business is a bonus. Starlink customers will change providers if they get a better deal or are frakked off with existing service.

/disclaimer: I work in telco - transmission (backbone) networks/

I seriously doubt that - the bandwidth Kuipers terminals are likely to provide (especially uplink) is likely to be only good enough to serve as a backup. Connections between data centers and big corporate customers are usually over optical fibers for good reasons - not for fun.

IMO, good encryption should also allow data to be reasonably secure (unless someone like the NSA is after you - in which case you are screwed anyway...) for commercial use purposes even on lines you don't physically control.
If all "customers" are AWS server farms, then all the links are in effect teleport links. Each satellite serves only a few links and each ground station/server farm has antennas for multiple satellites. Lots of bandwidth, all full duplex non-shared links. Probably still not as much as a terrestrial fiber, but many times as much as a Starlink customer. The huge advantage is lower latency. The RF and laser links operate at the speed of light in vacuum, which is about 300,000 km/s, and the links are straight lines. Fiber operates at the speed of light in fiber, which is about 200,000 km/s, and fiber cables are not straight at all, because they follow terrestrial rights-of-way and undersea routes that dodge around undersea topology and continents. AWD will move massive bulk data by fiber and certain premium data by satellite.
Terrestrial fibre paths typically have multiple exchanges which do add delays.
An LEO satellite system with inter-satellite links also has multiple "exchanges" that add delays, namely the satellites. Moderns routers (or any other type of packet forwarder), either satellite or terrestrial, adds very small switching delay. There may be queueing delay of course. To a first approximation I was GUESSING that the number of satellite hops will be about the same as the number of fiber hops.
Latency from delays is very important in gaming where 10s ms can make difference at other end of spectrum a 1seconds latency doesn't matter to much when downloading large files or watching a video. With large files and videos datarate is more important.
True, but the claim here is that Kuiper will be used for interconnect between AWS server farms, not from user to server. I was describing the difference between LEO and fiber delays. In this context, bulk transfer can use fiber, and the only truly delay-sensitive traffic that I know of is remote server synchronization traffic.

Some context: for RF and free-space laser, speed of light is 300,000 km/s and transit delay is one ms for each 300 km. Switching delays can be a low as one microsecond if using ASICs. Transmission delay is one microsecond to send a 10,000 bit packet at 10 Gbps. Queueing delays vary depending on load. Unless your net is grossly overloaded, transit delay will dominate.

This is dramatically different than it was when I got into this business in 1971, when nobody cared about transit delay unless you were using GEO satellites. Of course, we were using 2400 bps lines at the time, so transmission delay dominated.

Offline meekGee

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Re: Kuiper: Can it still meet its launching deadline?
« Reply #40 on: 07/04/2023 04:51 am »




The alternative theory seems to be that the test could occur now, but Kuiper is waiting on Vulcan Centaur for reasons that do not appear to make economic sense. They are losing possible customers to Starlink at an increasing rate every month.

Kuiper primary mission is to supply a secure datalink between AWS servers and their big customers. This isn't a market Starlink can access without Amazon's approval.
Any other business is a bonus. Starlink customers will change providers if they get a better deal or are frakked off with existing service.

Does this work out from a financial standpoint?
Remember Starlink, with all of its promised revenue, was deemed marginally profitable until Starship can take SL 2.0 satellites to orbit.  This means expenses of developing/launching/running the Starlink system are also super high.

Kuiper's launch costs will be higher. We can assume at least equal development costs just from the time it took. Running costs might be similar, unless Starlink relies much more on ISL (which is likely).

So - can Amazon AWS afford to bankroll Kuiper if Kuiper can't gather enough of an intrinsic userbase?

The internet says:
"[AWS] generated over $80 billion in revenues in 2022 and almost $23 billion in operating profit."
That's less than Starlink's projected revenue and profits. (Pulled from the same internet)

So the question is: How much of those profits can AWS spend on not losing the constellation gap?

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Offline sebk

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Re: Kuiper: Can it still meet its launching deadline?
« Reply #41 on: 07/04/2023 11:49 am »
Right now Starlink 2.0 might start launching before Kuiper demo sats do. Let that sink in.  Kuiper might go up against Starlink 3.0.

What will Kuiper do if Starlink service is half the price and twice the bandwidth?  This is not the "Microsoft vs Apple" dynamic. It is also not something Bezos can (or wants?) to bankroll.

That last part is actually quite complicated. Bezos is not the owner of Amazon - he's actually not even the largest shareholder (he holds about 10%). What that means is that the Amazon board and executive team have a fiduciary obligation to all the shareholders to maximize the value of their shares - and not to support the dreams or grudges held by their founder.

So yes, they could appeal to SpaceX for help and that might save the day - there is already some background noise about shareholder discontent that the multiple launch contracts did not include SpaceX. If they had used SpaceX  their prototype satellites would have been launched this past spring and they might be on their way to offering a credible service.

But even if SpaceX is willing, it will likely be with Falcon, because all available Starship flights will be used "experimentally" to develop and test tankers and depots, send Lunar Starship prototypes to the moon, and, of course, to launch Starlink (they have their own FCC deadlines to meet).

Or, Amazon could realize Kuiper is simply not doable with the disadvantages they have and (a) cancel it or (b) sell it to Bezos. Not sure which would be more entertaining.
In theory yes, but then, how come the Kuiper test sats are on a future first flight of a BO powered rocket instead of an F9 transporter flight and already in orbit?

Vulcan was supposed to get launched in May - June timeframe. For such couple months delay you could claim strategical partner advantages, blah, blah, blah. The issue may even not show up on the board meeting. But uneasy question may start getting asked if the delay is not 2 months but closer to a year. But even then you can deflect by stating all alternatives are booked for a year or two, so no point changing things, blah, blah, blah.

Of course it goes only to a point. 

Offline sebk

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Re: Kuiper: Can it still meet its launching deadline?
« Reply #42 on: 07/04/2023 11:54 am »




The alternative theory seems to be that the test could occur now, but Kuiper is waiting on Vulcan Centaur for reasons that do not appear to make economic sense. They are losing possible customers to Starlink at an increasing rate every month.

Kuiper primary mission is to supply a secure datalink between AWS servers and their big customers. This isn't a market Starlink can access without Amazon's approval.
Any other business is a bonus. Starlink customers will change providers if they get a better deal or are frakked off with existing service.

/disclaimer: I work in telco - transmission (backbone) networks/

I seriously doubt that - the bandwidth Kuipers terminals are likely to provide (especially uplink) is likely to be only good enough to serve as a backup. Connections between data centers and big corporate customers are usually over optical fibers for good reasons - not for fun.

IMO, good encryption should also allow data to be reasonably secure (unless someone like the NSA is after you - in which case you are screwed anyway...) for commercial use purposes even on lines you don't physically control.
If all "customers" are AWS server farms, then all the links are in effect teleport links. Each satellite serves only a few links and each ground station/server farm has antennas for multiple satellites. Lots of bandwidth, all full duplex non-shared links. Probably still not as much as a terrestrial fiber, but many times as much as a Starlink customer. The huge advantage is lower latency. The RF and laser links operate at the speed of light in vacuum, which is about 300,000 km/s, and the links are straight lines. Fiber operates at the speed of light in fiber, which is about 200,000 km/s, and fiber cables are not straight at all, because they follow terrestrial rights-of-way and undersea routes that dodge around undersea topology and continents. AWD will move massive bulk data by fiber and certain premium data by satellite.

The problem is satellite link will be limited to some tens of Gbit. At the same time firber backbone cables are several hundreds... of terabits.

Satellite links may be a specialty offer for stuff like automated trading, but they are not replacing or ever providing any serious backup for cables.

Offline sebk

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Re: Kuiper: Can it still meet it's launching deadline?
« Reply #43 on: 07/04/2023 12:10 pm »
Deployment deadlines get extended all the time, both by FCC and ITU.  If Amazon is actively launching satellites, has launch contracts for the rest, and has production lined up for the rest, then they will almost certainly get an extension.  FAR has no relevance to this.

Sure. But usually this is that every interested party is OK with such extension or at least not willing to protest because they may need the same favor soon. And it depends on FCC willing to do so.

But a situation with unfriendly administration may happen (again) and the good will may give way to politics. Especially that unfriendly administration could have an extremely good excuse of "treating everyone the same" and "rules are for everyone". Add to that that the left side of the political scene is not too fond of Amazon, so if unfriendly right wing administration decides to knock Amazon down a peg, they would do nothing and in fact smile in private.
 
It's always strategically better not to give unfriendly officials great wide avenues to screw you up with impunity.


Online ThatOldJanxSpirit

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Re: Kuiper: Can it still meet it's launching deadline?
« Reply #44 on: 07/04/2023 01:20 pm »
Deployment deadlines get extended all the time, both by FCC and ITU.  If Amazon is actively launching satellites, has launch contracts for the rest, and has production lined up for the rest, then they will almost certainly get an extension.  FAR has no relevance to this.

Sure. But usually this is that every interested party is OK with such extension or at least not willing to protest because they may need the same favor soon. And it depends on FCC willing to do so.

But a situation with unfriendly administration may happen (again) and the good will may give way to politics. Especially that unfriendly administration could have an extremely good excuse of "treating everyone the same" and "rules are for everyone". Add to that that the left side of the political scene is not too fond of Amazon, so if unfriendly right wing administration decides to knock Amazon down a peg, they would do nothing and in fact smile in private.
 
It's always strategically better not to give unfriendly officials great wide avenues to screw you up with impunity.

I would expect some justification to be required as to why an extension is necessary, and to demonstrate that all reasonable efforts have been made to meet the deadline.

Having your test sats sitting in boxes for the best part of a year because your 10 billion dollar plus program insisted on using low cost, high schedule risk launch vehicles isn’t a good look.

I hope that Amazon can demonstrate that they entered serious negotiations with SpaceX and were either rejected or offered unreasonable terms (Edit: that applies to both the test sats and the main constellation).
« Last Edit: 07/04/2023 01:33 pm by ThatOldJanxSpirit »

Offline Greg Hullender

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Re: Kuiper: Can it still meet its launching deadline?
« Reply #45 on: 07/04/2023 01:58 pm »
Having your test sats sitting in boxes for the best part of a year because your 10 billion dollar plus program insisted on using low cost, high schedule risk launch vehicles isn’t a good look.

I hope that Amazon can demonstrate that they entered serious negotiations with SpaceX and were either rejected or offered unreasonable terms (Edit: that applies to both the test sats and the main constellation).
I was a senior manager at Amazon a few years ago (a level high enough that I had to present to Bezos in person annually), so I have some idea how things work there.

A very good way to understand the company is to look at their leadership principles. Lots of companies have things like this, but nowhere I ever worked treated them the way Amazon does. Not only are they integrated into the performance review system, they're such a part of the corporate culture, that one or another of them comes up in just about every meeting--even in casual conversations with people.

So when you look at the case of launching satellites, I'd say that two principles are in play: "Bias for Action" and "Deliver Results." Anyone pursuing a strategy of "let's just sit and wait and everything will be fine" would be in hot water at once.

Another thing I learned at Amazon, though, was that whenever you think a problem has a simple solution, that just means you don't fully understand it. If it had a simple solution, someone would have already done it. There is an excellent reason why that solution won't work; you just don't know what it is yet.

So if it looks like a no-brainer that Amazon should be launching with SpaceX, there is some reason consistent with the leadership principles that they are not doing so. That reason will not be, "SpaceX competes with Blue Origin."

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: Kuiper: Can it still meet its launching deadline?
« Reply #46 on: 07/04/2023 02:43 pm »
But the reason MIGHT be that “SpaceX competes with Kuiper.”
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Offline ulm_atms

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Re: Kuiper: Can it still meet its launching deadline?
« Reply #47 on: 07/04/2023 03:26 pm »
But the reason MIGHT be that “SpaceX competes with Kuiper.”
Which makes this even funnier because using SpaceX would seem to also help Kuiper get going at this point.  Can't do much testing/planning with your demo sats in a box......

Offline meekGee

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Re: Kuiper: Can it still meet its launching deadline?
« Reply #48 on: 07/04/2023 03:49 pm »
Having your test sats sitting in boxes for the best part of a year because your 10 billion dollar plus program insisted on using low cost, high schedule risk launch vehicles isn’t a good look.

I hope that Amazon can demonstrate that they entered serious negotiations with SpaceX and were either rejected or offered unreasonable terms (Edit: that applies to both the test sats and the main constellation).
I was a senior manager at Amazon a few years ago (a level high enough that I had to present to Bezos in person annually), so I have some idea how things work there.

A very good way to understand the company is to look at their leadership principles. Lots of companies have things like this, but nowhere I ever worked treated them the way Amazon does. Not only are they integrated into the performance review system, they're such a part of the corporate culture, that one or another of them comes up in just about every meeting--even in casual conversations with people.

So when you look at the case of launching satellites, I'd say that two principles are in play: "Bias for Action" and "Deliver Results." Anyone pursuing a strategy of "let's just sit and wait and everything will be fine" would be in hot water at once.

Another thing I learned at Amazon, though, was that whenever you think a problem has a simple solution, that just means you don't fully understand it. If it had a simple solution, someone would have already done it. There is an excellent reason why that solution won't work; you just don't know what it is yet.

So if it looks like a no-brainer that Amazon should be launching with SpaceX, there is some reason consistent with the leadership principles that they are not doing so. That reason will not be, "SpaceX competes with Blue Origin."
At which level will this decision have been made though?

We all agree that using Transporter seems to have been a better choice, and the concern raised is that politics were involved, which by definition bypasses best practices.
« Last Edit: 07/04/2023 05:54 pm by meekGee »
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Offline meekGee

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Re: Kuiper: Can it still meet its launching deadline?
« Reply #49 on: 07/04/2023 06:17 pm »
Having your test sats sitting in boxes for the best part of a year because your 10 billion dollar plus program insisted on using low cost, high schedule risk launch vehicles isn’t a good look.

I hope that Amazon can demonstrate that they entered serious negotiations with SpaceX and were either rejected or offered unreasonable terms (Edit: that applies to both the test sats and the main constellation).
I was a senior manager at Amazon a few years ago (a level high enough that I had to present to Bezos in person annually), so I have some idea how things work there.

A very good way to understand the company is to look at their &lt;a href="https://jdmeier.com/amazon-leadership-principles/"&gt;leadership principles.&lt;/a&gt; Lots of companies have things like this, but nowhere I ever worked treated them the way Amazon does. Not only are they integrated into the performance review system, they're such a part of the corporate culture, that one or another of them comes up in just about every meeting--even in casual conversations with people.

So when you look at the case of launching satellites, I'd say that two principles are in play: "Bias for Action" and "Deliver Results." Anyone pursuing a strategy of "let's just sit and wait and everything will be fine" would be in hot water at once.

Another thing I learned at Amazon, though, was that whenever you think a problem has a simple solution, that just means you don't fully understand it. If it had a simple solution, someone would have already done it. There is an excellent &lt;i&gt;reason&lt;/i&gt; why that solution won't work; you just don't know what it is yet.

So if it looks like a no-brainer that Amazon should be launching with SpaceX, there is some reason &lt;i&gt;consistent with the leadership principles&lt;/i&gt; that they are not doing so. That reason will &lt;i&gt;not&lt;/i&gt; be, "SpaceX competes with Blue Origin."

I just read the linked page.

They may as well have wrote "Do the smart thing" or "take the right steps".  These are overly broad statements that can be applied at any situation to support any course of action.

"Hire the best"?
"Successful leaders begin each day with a determination to make better, do better, and be better for our customers, our employees, our partners, and the world at large."

Those are not actionable statements, in the sense that they don't help in making important decisions, like:  "Should we start with an unmanned orbital program or a manned suborbital program?" Or, "should we build our own satellite constellation or use someone else's"?

I have a sense the Kuiper was launched because of FOMO.  SpaceX was building one, and clearly at some level Microsoft and Google cloud services will be using them, and if SpaceX somehow gave preference to them over AWS, AWS might be in a disadvantage.  Since AWS is Amazon's best profit center, this was a really big deal, and hence Kuiper.  (Since clearly Kuiper will give preference to AWS)   

In other news, since data centers don't move, as people above have mentioned, the FOMO was over-sized.  AWS has much bigger issues to worry about, like the GPT-gap.

Unless Amazon is planning to try again to get into the personal communication market (Fire Phones), I think Kuiper doesn't have a well defined customer, which ironically does conflict with the 16 golden rules.
« Last Edit: 07/04/2023 08:58 pm by meekGee »
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Offline joek

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Re: Kuiper: Can it still meet its launching deadline?
« Reply #50 on: 07/04/2023 07:07 pm »
Latency from delays is very important in gaming where 10s ms can make difference at other end of spectrum a 1seconds latency doesn't matter to much when downloading large files or watching a video. With large files and videos datarate is more important.

Make up your mind. You started with the assertion that "Kuiper primary mission is to supply a secure datalink between AWS servers and their big customers." now "Latency from delays is very important in gaming..."?

You think all those gamers are going to have AWS-Kuiper endpoints? Guess again. They are not "big customers", they are going to be coming through any number of ISP's (which may be "big customers").

But that is exactly the same situation as today. The performance for you as a customer when accessing a service hosted on X depends entirely on the peering capabilities-arrangements of your ISP with X (AWS-whoever.)

In short, Kuiper--or Starlink, or any other transport provider--does not change the equation.

Online ThatOldJanxSpirit

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Re: Kuiper: Can it still meet its launching deadline?
« Reply #51 on: 07/17/2023 03:35 pm »
According to Eric Berger the first Kuiper sats will now launch on an Atlas V in September.

https://twitter.com/SciGuySpace/status/1680952620142264323

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: Kuiper: Can it still meet its launching deadline?
« Reply #52 on: 07/17/2023 07:53 pm »
https://twitter.com/breadfrom/status/1681013367559913474

Quote
From a Kuiper spokesperson... "Amazon is still launching with all three launch providers. The proxy statement only includes information related to two of the three."

Offline whitelancer64

Re: Kuiper: Can it still meet its launching deadline?
« Reply #53 on: 07/17/2023 08:17 pm »
But the reason MIGHT be that “SpaceX competes with Kuiper.”

The president of Kuiper Systems is Rajeev Badyal, a former "Vice President of Satellites" for SpaceX's Starlink internet constellation who was fired in 2018.

“Rajeev wanted three more iterations of test satellites,” one of the sources said. “Elon thinks we can do the job with cheaper and simpler satellites, sooner.”

Source: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-spacex-starlink-insight-idINKCN1N50FC

Yeah, I wouldn't rule out a personal bias against SpaceX launches.
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Offline RedLineTrain

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Re: Kuiper: Can it still meet its launching deadline?
« Reply #54 on: 09/11/2023 04:19 pm »
Ochinero making crystal clear that SpaceX can launch all comers, including Kuiper.

Quote
Ochinero, on the Telesat Lightspeed launch contract announced today: our use of reusability allows us to absorb vast amounts of launches. Happy to take on more constellations if they need help.

https://twitter.com/jeff_foust/status/1701261936430567859

Offline FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: Kuiper: Can it still meet its launching deadline?
« Reply #55 on: 09/13/2023 06:00 am »
It’s going to be really interesting to see how this plays out and how well the launch providers predictions hold up:

https://spacenews.com/kuiper-launch-companies-say-they-can-meet-amazons-schedule/

Quote
Kuiper launch companies say they can meet Amazon’s schedule
Jeff Foust
September 12, 2023

Amazon’s 83-launch deal includes 18 Ariane 6 launches, 12 to 27 New Glenn launches and 38 United Launch Alliance Vulcan Centaur.

PARIS — The three companies with multibillion-dollar contracts to launch Amazons’s Project Kuiper constellation say they are committed to deploying those satellites on schedule despite delays in the development of their vehicles.

Offline AmigaClone

Re: Kuiper: Can it still meet its launching deadline?
« Reply #56 on: 09/13/2023 07:14 am »
It’s going to be really interesting to see how this plays out and how well the launch providers predictions hold up:

https://spacenews.com/kuiper-launch-companies-say-they-can-meet-amazons-schedule/

Quote
Kuiper launch companies say they can meet Amazon’s schedule
Jeff Foust
September 12, 2023

Amazon’s 83-launch deal includes 18 Ariane 6 launches, 12 to 27 New Glenn launches and 38 United Launch Alliance Vulcan Centaur.

PARIS — The three companies with multibillion-dollar contracts to launch Amazons’s Project Kuiper constellation say they are committed to deploying those satellites on schedule despite delays in the development of their vehicles.

It will be interesting to see what might happen if one or more of those new launch vehicles have a less than successful first or second flight.

Online DanClemmensen

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Re: Kuiper: Can it still meet its launching deadline?
« Reply #57 on: 09/13/2023 06:20 pm »
It’s going to be really interesting to see how this plays out and how well the launch providers predictions hold up:

https://spacenews.com/kuiper-launch-companies-say-they-can-meet-amazons-schedule/

Quote
Kuiper launch companies say they can meet Amazon’s schedule
Jeff Foust
September 12, 2023

Amazon’s 83-launch deal includes 18 Ariane 6 launches, 12 to 27 New Glenn launches and 38 United Launch Alliance Vulcan Centaur.

PARIS — The three companies with multibillion-dollar contracts to launch Amazons’s Project Kuiper constellation say they are committed to deploying those satellites on schedule despite delays in the development of their vehicles.
Kuiper needs to launch 1800 satellites by July 2026 to meet the FCC requirement and keep their license. If they start in January 2025, they only need to average 100/month for 18 months. What could possibly go wrong?

Offline Vahe231991

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Re: Kuiper: Can it still meet its launching deadline?
« Reply #58 on: 09/13/2023 07:33 pm »
It’s going to be really interesting to see how this plays out and how well the launch providers predictions hold up:

https://spacenews.com/kuiper-launch-companies-say-they-can-meet-amazons-schedule/

Quote
Kuiper launch companies say they can meet Amazon’s schedule
Jeff Foust
September 12, 2023

Amazon’s 83-launch deal includes 18 Ariane 6 launches, 12 to 27 New Glenn launches and 38 United Launch Alliance Vulcan Centaur.

PARIS — The three companies with multibillion-dollar contracts to launch Amazons’s Project Kuiper constellation say they are committed to deploying those satellites on schedule despite delays in the development of their vehicles.
Kuiper needs to launch 1800 satellites by July 2026 to meet the FCC requirement and keep their license. If they start in January 2025, they only need to average 100/month for 18 months. What could possibly go wrong?
Given that the New Glenn has yet to launch, it's no surprise that Blue Origin has found it premature to commit to a tentative launch window for any Kuipersat satellites scheduled to launch aboard the New Glenn. Also, the first two Kuiper satellites were to launch on an RS1 but now the proven Atlas V will be used to launch the prototype Kuipersat satellites.

Offline DJPledger

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Re: Kuiper: Can it still meet its launching deadline?
« Reply #59 on: 09/14/2023 07:44 pm »
Kuiper can easily meet it's launch deadline if Amazon buys launches from SpaceX. It's not rocket science for Amazon to launch some of Kuiper with SpaceX. If Amazon did not have JB then I would have bet my house on Amazon ordering SpaceX launches for Kuiper.

Kuiper relying on LV's that haven't even launched yet is complete nonsense when SpaceX is launching around 80% of the world's payload mass to orbit.

Offline Yiosie

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Re: Kuiper: Can it still meet its launching deadline?
« Reply #60 on: 12/02/2023 05:01 am »
Relevant update:

https://twitter.com/breadfrom/status/1730670308678406468

Quote
OMG: Amazon's Project Kuiper secures a 3-launch deal with SpaceX

https://www.aboutamazon.com/news/innovation-at-amazon/amazon-project-kuiper-spacex-launch

Quote
how Search
NewsInnovation at Amazon
Amazon secures 3 launches with SpaceX to support Project Kuiper deployment
1 min
December 1, 2023
Written by Amazon Staff

Additional capacity will supplement existing launch contracts to support Project Kuiper’s satellite deployment schedule.

Amazon has signed a contract with SpaceX for three Falcon 9 launches to support deployment plans for Project Kuiper, Amazon’s low Earth orbit (LEO) satellite broadband network. Project Kuiper satellites were designed from the start to accommodate multiple launch providers and vehicles, allowing us to reduce schedule risk and move faster in our mission to connect unserved and underserved communities around the world. Our earlier procurement of 77 heavy-lift rockets from Arianespace, Blue Origin, and United Launch Alliance (ULA) provides enough capacity to launch the majority of our satellite constellation, and the additional launches with SpaceX offer even more capacity to support our deployment schedule.

SpaceX’s Falcon 9 is a reusable, two-stage launch vehicle designed for the reliable and safe transport of people and payloads into Earth orbit and beyond, and it has completed more than 270 successful launches to date. Project Kuiper has contracted three Falcon 9 launches, and these missions are targeted to lift off beginning in mid-2025.

Project Kuiper recently launched two prototype satellites, and tests from the mission have helped validate our satellite design and network architecture. We are preparing to start satellite manufacturing ahead of a full-scale deployment beginning in the first half of 2024, and we expect to have enough satellites deployed to begin early customer pilots in the second half of 2024.

To learn more about the Protoflight mission and next steps for the program, check out our latest mission updates.

 

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