Amazon’s Project Kuiper has been working on building a satellite internet competitor based on SpaceX’s Starlink low Earth orbit for years, but it’s about to launch its first prototypes of actual satellites, and today it unveiled what customers can expect in terms of terminals to actually connect to the future network.
These are engineering models, so final production versions may differ, but Amazon showed three different versions designed to meet different customer needs. There’s a sub-five-pound version with an 11-inch flat square design that will deliver speeds of up to 400 Mbps. Interestingly, Amazon doesn’t share target prices, but said it would cost less than $400 per unit to build.
A smaller 7-inch square design will perform worse in terms of maximum speeds, with a maximum of 100 Mbps, but it will be “cheaper” and also have the advantage of being extremely portable for use on the go. Finally, a large 19 x 30 inch version will offer gigabit speeds and is basically for commercial use (which probably means $$$).
Amazon also revealed that all of its terminals will be powered by an in-house designed baseband chip that the company has named “Prometheus”. Prometheus will also travel to space aboard Kuiper satellites, and Amazon says its unique design will handle up to 1 terabit per second (Tbps) of traffic on each one, which should help handle the high network request.
As announced last year, Amazon intends to launch its ftwo first satellite prototypes in 2023 aboard United Launch Alliance’s first flight of its brand new Vulcan Centaur rocket. The goal is then to launch mass production of its spacecraft later in the year, with production version launches beginning in 2024 and at least some customers having access to the service by the end of the same year. .