Amazon launches its first internet satellites as Jeff Bezos looks to rival SpaceX's Starlink

Amazon launches its first internet satellites as Jeff Bezos looks to rival SpaceX's Starlink
A rocket holding the first two demonstration satellites for Amazon's Project Kuiper broadband internet network blasts off.Anadolu Agency / Getty
  • The first two satellites for Amazon's Project Kuiper internet service were launched on Friday.
  • They are the first of more than 3,200 planned satellites set to provide orbital broadband services.

Amazon launched its first two satellites into orbit on Friday in a challenge to Elon Musk's Starlink internet service.

The satellites were prototypes for Project Kuiper, Amazon's $10 billion plan to create a constellation of more than 3,200 satellites within the next six years to provide global broadband internet services.

The company has previously said that the network will serve tens of millions of customers and aims "to help close that digital divide by delivering affordable, high-speed internet service to unserved and underserved communities around the world."

KuiperSat-1 and KuiperSat-2 were launched from the Atlas V rocket from United Launch Alliance (ULA), which released them into orbit at an altitude of 311 miles (500 km) above Earth, per a statement from Amazon.

The launch was delayed from late 2022 after changes were made to the rocket-delivery system used to launch the satellites.


But after a successful launch, the prototype satellites will now be used to test all elements of the Kuiper System ahead of the roll out of the full network.

Amazon launches its first internet satellites as Jeff Bezos looks to rival SpaceX's Starlink
United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket carrying the first two demonstration satellites for Amazon's space internet network.Anadolu Agency / Getty

"The launch today started a new phase of our Protoflight mission, and there's a long way to go, but it's an exciting milestone all the same," Rajeev Badyal, vice president of technology for Project Kuiper, said in the statement.

"I'm tremendously grateful to the Project Kuiper team for their dedication in getting us to this point, and to our partners at United Launch Alliance who helped us deploy our first spacecraft ever into orbit," he added.

Project Kuiper will be in direct competition with Elon Musk's Starlink broadband network, the most established low-orbit satellite-internet service available.

More than 4,000 Starlink satellites have been launched into orbit since May 2019, and last month SpaceX announced that more than 2 million customers were using its internet services.


Satellite internet networks bring faster connectivity to rural communities, bridging the digital gap.

They have also proven to be highly effective as a fallback when natural or manmade disasters disrupt traditional communications networks.

Joining Amazon in the satellite internet race are the Canadian satellite operator Telesat and OneWeb, which is owned by the French satellite company Eutelsat and the British government.

Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Insider, which was made outside of normal working hours.