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Amazon's Project Kuiper Broadband Services Delayed to 2025

Amazon has announced a delay in its Project Kuiper broadband services, which are now expected to commence in 2025.

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Zac Aubert

Zac Aubert

Sun Jun 30 2024Written by Zac Aubert

Amazon has announced a delay in its Project Kuiper broadband services, which are now expected to commence in 2025.

Initially, the tech giant planned to begin deploying more than 3,200 satellites in the first half of 2024 to initiate beta trials with potential customers, including Verizon in the United States. However, the deployment has been postponed as the company prepares for the first batch of production satellites to be launched on an Atlas V rocket in the last quarter of this year.

The first production satellites are scheduled to be shipped this summer from Amazon's newly opened factory in Kirkland, Washington, to Florida. United Launch Alliance (ULA) will handle the launch from there.

Amazon has purchased eight Atlas V rockets from ULA, along with 38 of ULA's next-generation Vulcan Centaur rockets, to deploy the satellite constellation into low Earth orbit.

In October, ULA successfully used an Atlas V rocket to launch two Project Kuiper prototype satellites, which have since completed end-to-end tests.

The extensive launch schedule for Project Kuiper includes 18 Ariane 6 rockets from Arianespace, up to 27 New Glenn missions from Blue Origin, owned by Amazon’s founder Jeff Bezos, and three SpaceX Falcon 9 vehicles set to launch from mid-2025.

While Ariane 6 and New Glenn rockets are still awaiting their maiden flights, Vulcan has flown only once. ULA is planning a second Vulcan Centaur launch in September, carrying an inert payload and instrumentation. With Vulcan scheduled for two national security missions by the end of the year, the next launch is planned for late in the first quarter of 2025, with the payload yet to be disclosed.

Amazon declined to comment on its detailed launch plan but confirmed that each mission would carry dozens of satellites.

Amazon officially inaugurated its 52,000 square-meter Kirkland manufacturing hub in April. The facility is designed to handle the arrival of satellite parts from a nearby logistics center in Everett. According to Amazon, the factory can produce up to five satellites per day at peak capacity. The company's research and development facility in Redmond facilitates close collaboration between the design and production teams.

Most satellites will be sent to a processing facility being established this year at Kennedy Space Center in Florida for dispenser and rocket integration. Satellites destined for launch aboard Ariane 6 rockets will be sent to Arianespace’s launchpad at the Guiana Space Center in French Guiana.

“Building advanced communications satellites at this scale is incredibly complex, and we want to ensure every Kuiper spacecraft meets our standards for performance, reliability, and safety,” - Steve Metayer, Project Kuiper Vice President of Production Operations

To support the Kirkland facility, Amazon has hired 120 of the 200 high-skilled manufacturing employees needed.

Amazon aims to significantly increase satellite production and launch rates next year as it approaches a July 2026 regulatory deadline for deploying half of its constellation. Per the Federal Communication Commission license terms, the remaining satellites must be deployed three years later.