Elon Musk is not the only one who wants to launch Internet satellites into space with his company Starlink. Amazon is also expanding its Kuiper project. As early as April 2021, the company took over Facebook’s team of experts for this purpose.
To this end, Amazon has now secured important know-how from competitor Facebook. As The Information reports, the group has already taken over Facebook’s satellite Internet team in April 2021. It was only announced now – several months later.
The team of more than a dozen scientists and engineers has changed fronts. A positive side effect for Amazon: Facebook’s satellite Internet plans are now history.
The Kuiper project
Amazon’s satellite Internet plans have been known since April 2019. The group wants to launch a total of 3,236 satellites into orbit and thus provide ten million people with access to broadband Internet.
Then, in the summer of 2020, Amazon received approval for Project Kuiper from the U.S. Federal Communications Commission. Following the approval, it was announced that the group plans to invest more than ten billion US dollars in the project.
The Leo satellites are satellites with a relatively low orbital altitude, as they operate in Low Earth Orbit (LEO). Their proximity to the earth means that short signal propagation times can be achieved for data connections between users and the satellites.
The Amazon service will go online when at least 578 satellites are in orbit. However, it could take up to ten years before the company has launched all 3,236 satellites into space.
Reinforcement for the Amazon team
Amazon already employs 500 people for Project Kuiper. With the addition of the former Facebook team, the company is securing valuable expertise – including physicists and hardware and software engineers.
Intellectual property developed by the Facebook team, as well as parts of its equipment and facilities, will also be transferred to the shipping giant. Facebook, in turn, confirmed this to Business Insider.
Facebook had already started working on satellite-based Internet technology in 2015. However, plans for its own satellite network are now off the table.