Amazon has completed its long-delayed first launch of satellites for Project Kuiper, the company’s planned orbital internet network.
A pair of test satellites aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket lifted off from Cape Canaveral, Florida, just after 2 p.m. ET Friday, as shown by launch footage that ULA posted on X (formerly Twitter). If all goes well, the satellites will be deployed at an altitude of 311 miles above the ground and remain in low Earth orbit for testing.
The two satellites are prototypes of the eventual 3,200-plus plans to build and deploy over the next six years.
Project Kuiper is Amazon’s plan to build out a new service category to rival Elon Musk’s Starlink satellite internet from SpaceX, which already has thousands of satellites in orbit providing internet to over a million customers in multiple countries. Amazon CEO Andy Jassey has said the Kuiper satellite service will be a core part of the business going forward.
While the original plan, set last October, was for Kuiper’s initial launch to be on ULA’s newest Vulcan Centaur launch vehicle, which uses engines built by Blue Origin (a company helmed by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos), it was instead mounted on an Atlas V rocket. ULA’s next launch is set to be the first with the Vulcan rocket.
When will you be able to get internet service from Amazon?
Amazon aims to begin launching its operational satellites in the first half of next year, with beta testing for commercial customers planned around , as reported earlier Friday by Cord Cutters News.
aims to be available to consumers, government, health care, businesses and various organizations so they can obtain affordable broadband services where there isn’t already access to fast, reliable internet.
As well as regular customers, Amazon says that in the event of natural disasters or other emergencies, Project Kuiper terminals can be quickly deployed to add internet infrastructure.
How to get Amazon’s internet service
So far, Amazon has partnered with to extend their 4G and 5G networks, so once it launches, you’ll be able to gain access to Amazon’s satellite internet through those providers if you’re living in those regions. Vodafone and Vodacom will install Project Kuiper infrastructure alongside their cellular towers.
As launch of the beta service nears, more information will become available on how you’ll be able to sign up for it in other parts of the world.