Amazon has launched a United Launch Alliance rocket carrying the first two Project Kuiper prototype satellites lifted off from Cape Canaveral, Florida, at 2:06 p.m. ET on Friday.
This development pits the tech company against SpaceX and its Starlink system, Amazon has formally entered the race to develop vast constellations of satellites that can cover the entire planet in internet coverage.
“We’ve done extensive testing here in our lab and have a high degree of confidence in our satellite design, but there’s no substitute for on-orbit testing,” Project Kuiper’s vice president of technology, Rajeev Badyal, said in a statement.
“This is Amazon’s first time putting satellites into space, and we’re going to learn an incredible amount regardless of how the mission unfolds.”
If the mission is successful, Amazon may get in line to start putting hundreds more of the satellites into orbit and eventually constructing a network of over 3,200 satellites that will cooperate to beam internet connectivity to the earth.