Kuiper Systems is an Amazon subsidiary formed in 2019 to create a constellation of satellites to deliver broadband internet access. Designed as a competitor to SpaceX’s Starlink satellite internet, Project Kuiper is now on the verge of launching its first real prototype. Amazon today revealed what the terminals for connecting to its satellite internet will look like.
Amazon showed three engineering examples that differ in size, supported speed and of course price. The final production versions may differ slightly, but the main parameters, most likely, will not change.
Designed with portability in mind, the youngest and cheapest model is shaped like a square with sides measuring 18cm and offers a maximum connection speed of up to 100Mbps.
The next model is larger – it is also in the shape of a square, but already a side of 28 cm and weighs 2.3 kg. The maximum speed is 400 Mbit/s. Amazon hasn’t released pricing yet, but it did mention that the device won’t cost more than $400.
The older model in the range has the shape of a rectangle measuring 48 × 76 cm and offers a connection speed of 1 Gbps. This model is primarily intended for commercial use.
Amazon also said all of its terminals will be based on a proprietary radio module, codenamed Prometheus. The same chips are used on the Project Kuiper satellites, with Amazon claiming that Prometheus’ unique design will handle up to 1 Tbps of traffic on each of them, offering high network throughput.
Amazon intends to launch its first two prototype satellites in 2023 on the maiden flight of its brand new Vulcan Centaur rocket, which will be manufactured by United Launch Alliance, a joint venture between Boeing and Lockheed Martin. The global goal is to begin mass production of the satellites later this year, begin mass launches in 2024, and have access to first customers by the end of 2024.