Amazon has won approval from the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to launch 3,236 satellites into orbit. The satellites will power the company’s Project Kuiper internet service.
Amazon, one of Jeff Bezos’ companies, is stepping up in another business in which it competes with SpaceX. It has obtained the go-ahead to launch 3,236 satellites to orbit in what will rival Starlink. Amazon got the approval despite opposition from SpaceX over its satellite debris mitigation plan.
SpaceX petitioned the FCC to limit the initial number of satellites to 578, but the regulatory agency was not so persuaded. FCC’s stand was the conditions in the launch plans addressed all issues.
The FCC said, “While SpaceX expresses concern over Kuiper’s ability to co-exist with other systems at certain altitudes, similar to Viasat, it does not specify a particular risk presented by the deployment of an identified planned system.”
SpaceX’s opposition may be viewed as payback as Amazon objected to the former’s application to increase its satellites in orbit to 30,000.
SpaceX is far ahead of the two, with more than 3,000 satellites in orbit and a presence in many countries worldwide. Amazon only announced 83 Kuiper satellite launches last year over five years. Arianespace, United Launch Alliance, and Blue Origin, also controlled by Bezos, will handle the launches.
SpaceX launches its Starlink satellites using its rockets. Amazon will likely enlist its rival’s help in satellite launches down the road, despite pointedly trying not to do so earlier.