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FCC greenlights Amazon's Project Kuiper to deploy 3,236 satellites in LEO
Amazon will launch its Kuiper constellation on Vulcan Centaur, New Glenn, Ariane 6.
FCC greenlights Amazon's Project Kuiper to deploy 3,236 satellites in LEO
by Agency Writers
Space Coast, FL (SPX) Feb 14, 2023

The Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) International Bureau approved Amazon on February 8 to deploy and operate their 3,236 low-Earth orbit (LEO) satellites, called "Project Kuiper," for broadband service using Ka-band radio frequencies.

The approval comes after satisfying requirements for orbital-debris mitigation, collision risk, and coordination with other satellite systems, re-entry casualty risk, and proper satellite disposal.

Amazon was granted permission to deploy 3,236 Project Kuiper satellites in 2020 by the FCC, but this has been delayed due to concerns about orbital debris. "Our action will allow Kuiper to begin deployment of its constellation in order to bring high-speed broadband connectivity to customers around the world," the FCC stated in its order.

Objections from rivals SpaceX and Viasat delayed Kuiper's launch by nearly four years. The complaints are over debris and collision risks with other satellite constellations. SpaceX argues that "the Commission should limit Kuiper to deploy only 578 satellites in its 630 kilometer orbital shell, and defer action regarding the remainder of the constellation.

SpaceX argues that granting this tranche would address Kuiper's ability to coexist with other systems in and around its 590 kilometer and 610 kilometer shells, and allow for "continued monitoring" of deployment," the FCC notes.

FCC concluded that "Kuiper's orbital debris mitigation plan to be sufficiently developed to support deployment of its NGSO satellite system, and that granting Kuiper's request, subject to the requirements and conditions specified herein, will serve the public interest."

Amazon finalized agreements for up to 83 launches over five years from launch providers, Arianespace, Blue Origin, and United Launch Alliance (ULA) in 2022 to launch the majority of their initial 3,236-satellite constellation.

Kuiper's first prototype KuiperSat-1 and KuiperSat-2 satellites, along with a Celestis Memorial Spaceflight payload and a commercial moon lander by Astrobotic called Peregrine, will launch on ULA's upcoming maiden flight of the Vulcan Centaur rocket in early 2023.

The rocket will lift off from Space Launch Complex-41, Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, Florida. The rocket's first stage is powered by two BE-4 methane-liquid oxygen engines built by an aerospace manufacturer, Blue Origin owned by Jeff Bezos, the founder and former CEO of Amazon.

Related Links
Kuiper Systems at Wikipedia
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