SpaceX launches its clusters of satellites to provide Starlink connectivity anywhere in the world; SES is getting closer to the launch of its O3b mPower; OneWeb is finalizing a 50-50 with Eutelsat to launch its own constellation… and Amazon is continuing its work on its Kuiper constellation, to which it intends to devote 10 billion dollars, by preparing its legal structures.
In early August, the American cloud and e-commerce leader registered a new company in Luxembourg, Amazon Kuiper Services Europe, placed in the hands of three managers: Eva Gehlin, already present in four Amazon structures in Luxembourg, Barbara Scarafia, present in five structures, and Philippe Secher, first recruit in Luxembourg within the framework of the Kuiper project.
Philippe Secher spent nearly 20 years at SES, until August 2019, when he joined OneWeb to be director, then vice-president in charge of spectrum at this new connectivity player.
Of the 311 jobs that are open by Amazon for its project, two are in Luxembourg, for engineers who will be responsible for regulatory issues.
578 satellites to be launched to market the service
Much information is still unclear on the launch of the high-speed connectivity service (400Mbps): at the end of the year the first two test satellites, KuiperSat1 and KuiperSat2, should be launched from Cape Canaveral, by the start-up ABL Space Systems, which plans 8 launches in 2022 and 16 next year.
Then, Amazon has booked 83 launches by 2027, 18 on an Ariane 6, 38 on the United Launch Alliance’s Vulcan Centaur and 12 on Blue Origin’s New Glenn, with an additional option of 15 other launches. Enough to allow it to put the majority of its 3,236 satellites into orbit. But the service will be launched commercially as soon as 578 satellites are in orbit.
As for the price of the service against an Elon Musk who claims nearly 500 dollars for the box and 99 dollars per month, mystery. It will be “affordable”, promises Amazon.