Author Topic: Kuiper: Can it still meet its launching deadline?  (Read 15809 times)

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.


Offline 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 isnít 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 ďSpaceX competes with Kuiper.Ē
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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 ďSpaceX competes with Kuiper.Ē
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 isnít 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 <a href="https://jdmeier.com/amazon-leadership-principles/">leadership principles.</a> 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 <i>reason</i> 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 <i>consistent with the leadership principles</i> that they are not doing so. That reason will <i>not</i> 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.

Offline 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 ďSpaceX competes with Kuiper.Ē

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.

ďRajeev wanted three more iterations of test satellites,Ē one of the sources said. ďElon thinks we can do the job with cheaper and simpler satellites, sooner.Ē

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 »
Itís 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 Amazonís schedule
Jeff Foust
September 12, 2023

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

PARIS ó The three companies with multibillion-dollar contracts to launch Amazonsís 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 »
Itís 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 Amazonís schedule
Jeff Foust
September 12, 2023

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

PARIS ó The three companies with multibillion-dollar contracts to launch Amazonsís 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.

Offline DanClemmensen

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Re: Kuiper: Can it still meet its launching deadline?
« Reply #57 on: 09/13/2023 06:20 pm »
Itís 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 Amazonís schedule
Jeff Foust
September 12, 2023

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

PARIS ó The three companies with multibillion-dollar contracts to launch Amazonsís 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 »
Itís 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 Amazonís schedule
Jeff Foust
September 12, 2023

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

PARIS ó The three companies with multibillion-dollar contracts to launch Amazonsís 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.

 

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