Amazon prepares for mass production of its Kuiper satellites

Amazon prepares for mass production of its Kuiper satellites

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty

Amazon is building a satellite integration centre in Florida to support its factory in Washington state.

Project Kuiper is moving one step closer to deploying its full satellite constellation, with construction underway for the satellite-processing facility at Space Florida’s Launch and Landing Facility at Kennedy Space Center.

Project Kuiper will begin satellite production at a manufacturing facility in Kirkland, Washington, by the end of this year. The new satellite-processing facility in Florida will be used to receive those satellite shipments, conduct final preparations ahead of launches, connect satellites to custom dispensers from Swiss supplier Beyond Gravity, and integrate the loaded dispensers with launch vehicles.

The $120m, 100,000-square-foot facility features a 100-foot tall high bay clean room to allow room for the payload fairing of new heavy-lift rockets like Blue Origin’s New Glenn and ULA’s Vulcan Centaur. Amazon has secured 77 of these heavy-lift launch vehicles to deploy its satellite constellation and also has a deal with European operator ArianeSpace for launches using Ariane 6..

Amazon is preparing to launch two prototype satellites in the coming months to help test our network and subsystems, and we expect to begin production launches and early enterprise customer pilots in 2024.

The plant will be used to prepare and integrate Kuiper satellites with rockets from Blue Origin and United Launch Alliance (ULA) ahead of launches. It stems from an expected partnership with Space Florida’s Spaceport Improvement Programme and is one of several Amazon investments that will drive innovation and job growth in the state of Florida.

Project Kuiper infrastructure includes a constellation of over 3,200 satellites in low Earth orbit, affordable, high-performance customer terminals, and ground networking enabled by Amazon Web Services.

“We have an ambitious plan to begin Project Kuiper’s full-scale production launches and early customer pilots next year, and this new facility will play a critical role in helping us deliver on that timeline,” said Steve Metayer, vice president of Kuiper Production Operations. “We are proud to partner with Space Florida to bolster the growing space industry in Florida and elsewhere across the United States, and we look forward to adding more talent to our skilled operations and manufacturing team. These employees will play an important part in our mission to connect tens of millions of customers worldwide.”

“Adding Amazon’s Project Kuiper satellite payload processing facility to the region’s growing industrial capability in commercial space is a testament to the power of building a statewide ecosystem that supports companies across the entire aerospace supply chain,” said said Frank DiBello, president and CEO, Space Florida.

“Space Florida has invested in bringing together unrivalled experience, unmatched financial tools, and an unbeatable location to offer companies opportunities for sustainable, long-term growth. Since the early days of rocket launches and payload processing, decades of infrastructure and capital investment has been made, transforming Florida into a global centre for the aerospace economy. We couldn’t be more thrilled that Project Kuiper chose Space Florida’s Launch and Landing Facility for this facility, and we look forward to being a part of their mission of global connectivity,” he said.

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