Amazon has revealed three versions of user terminals for its Project Kuiper satellite internet network, which aims to compete with SpaceX’s Starlink. Amazon hasn’t yet launched any satellites to provide internet service, but the retail giant intends to launch its first two prototype satellites sometime in 2023 aboard the first United Launch Alliance flight of its all-new Vulcan Centaur rocket.
Amazon unveiled three engineering models of terminals for connecting to the future network. One of the models is a sub-five-pound version with an 11-inch square design that will offer speeds up to 400 Mbps. Amazon isn’t sharing target pricing but did say that its cost to build these will be less than $400 per unit. It also didn’t announce any targeted pricing for the service itself.
Another smaller 7-inch square design will be portable and cost-effective, maxing out at 100 Mbps. Finally, a 19 x 30 inch version will offer gigabit speeds for commercial use.
Powering the terminals is an in-house designed baseband chip called Prometheus. The company has said that the chip will allow each Project Kuiper satellite to handle the simultaneous traffic from thousands of customers.
David Limp, Amazon’s senior vice president of devices and services, said “Prometheus is an amazing chip” and that each satellite would be capable of processing up to 1 terabit per second of traffic.
Amazon expects to launch its first two prototype satellites for the constellation in early May using the United Launch Alliance’s Vulcan Centaur rocket. The company plans to start providing beta services to “large customers” later in 2024 in certain regions, according to Limp, with the aim of producing 3-5 satellites daily to meet its regulatory deadline of having half of its proposed constellation of 3,236 satellites in low-Earth orbit by mid-2026.
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